Possible changes to the Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) mean eligible Canadians could receive their payments sooner.
Last Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland presented Canada’s Fall Economic Statement, which includes measures that aim to tackle the rising cost of living in the country.
One of those proposed policies is advancing payments on the CWB.
“We’re creating a new, quarterly Canada Workers Benefit to deliver advance payments and put more money, sooner, into the pockets of our lowest-paid — and often most essential —workers,” Freeland tweeted.
We’re creating a new, quarterly Canada Workers Benefit to deliver advance payments and put more money, sooner, into the pockets of our lowest-paid—and often most essential—workers. This means the Canada Workers Benefit will now support 4.2 million Canadians.
— Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) November 3, 2022
The federal government says this will affect about three million Canadians.
How it would work
The CWB is a refundable tax credit that helps low-income individuals and families.
Currently, it’s delivered through tax returns, which means Canadians need to wait until the tax year is over to receive the payment.
The federal government wants to change this so that payments can be issued sooner and help people stay afloat amid rising inflation.
If the proposed changes to the benefit become law, Canadians could receive their payments as early as July 2023 for that tax year.
That means those eligible will get a combination of the current tax return payment, and the new advance payment expected for July next year.
“Workers would receive a minimum entitlement for the year through advance payments based on income reported in the prior year’s tax return,” reads a news release from the national Department of Finance.
“Any additional entitlement for the year would be provided when filing their tax return for the year.”
The federal government says it’ll provide $4 billion over six years to implement this measure.
Who’s eligible and how much will they get?
According to the government, you’re eligible for the CWB if you work and earn an income; are a resident of Canada; are 19 and older; and/or you live with your spouse, common-law partner, or your child.
The proposed measure would provide a maximum of $1,428 to single workers, and families would get up to $2,461.
The amounts would be spread across three quarterly advanced payments starting in July 2023.
The current program provides a maximum basic amount of $1,395 for single individuals.
That payment is reduced if your net income is more than $22,944, and you get nothing if your net income goes over $32,244.
Families currently receive up to $2,403. That amount decreases if their family net income is over $26,177, and no payment is made if their net income exceeds $42,197.
In addition to this, the government is also eliminating interest on federal student loan payments.