Social programs in Canada include all government programs designed to give assistance to citizens outside what the market provides. The Canadian social safety net covers a broad spectrum of programs, and because Canada is a federation, many are run by the provinces.
These are some of the social assistance in Canada – Every Canadian province and territory has its own social assistance system—that is, its own legislation, its own regulations and its own policies. please check with your province.
Ontario’s income security system provides a range of benefits to individuals and families who have low or no income, or have experienced job loss.
Pension Plans and Social Security Programs
The responsibility for implementing Canada’s income security programs, which include the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security, rests with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and both programs are accessible through the Service Canada portal.
Canada Pension Plan
Old Age Security
Child Tax Benefit
The Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) was a tax-free monthly payment available to eligible Canadian families to help with the cost of raising children. … This program was eliminated in 2016 and replaced by the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), a tax free payment of $533.00 per child under 6 and $450 per child from 6 to 17.
You might also be eligible for other benefits
Child disability benefit
This is a tax-free benefit for families who care for a child under the age of 18 who is eligible for the disability tax credit.
Working income tax benefit
This is a refundable tax credit intended to provide tax relief for eligible working low-income individuals and families who are already in the workforce. It is also intended to encourage Canadians to enter the workforce.
Children’s special allowances
This program provides payments to federal and provincial agencies and institutions that care for children (for example, children’s aid societies).
These payments are meant to help individuals and families. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers these payments. Click here for more information
Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income
Old Age Security (OAS) is a benefit paid monthly to most Canadians aged 65 or older. The OAS Program is administered by the federal Department of Employment and Social Development Canada through Service Canada.
Who can receive Old Age Security ?
Eligibility for OAS benefits depends on the following three factors, and is different depending on whether you live in or outside Canada:
For people living in Canada
- You must be 65 years of age or older.
- You must live in Canada and be a Canadian citizen or a legal resident at the time your pension application is approved.
- You must have lived in Canada for at least 10 years after turning 18.
For people living outside Canada
- You must be 65 years of age or older.
- You must have been a Canadian citizen or a legal resident of Canada the day before you left Canada.
- You must have lived in Canada for at least 20 years after turning 18.
However, if you do not qualify in either of these categories, you may still be eligible for benefits depending on agreements that may exist between Canada and the countries that you have lived in or presently live in. Depending on how long you have lived in Canada after the age of 18, you may receive either a full or partial pension. Read More
Canada and Quebec Pension Plans
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) provides contributors and their families with partial replacement of earnings in the case of retirement, disability or death. Almost all individuals who work in Canada outside Quebec contribute to the CPP.
If you have lived or are living outside Canada, you may qualify for a pension from that country as well.
The CPP operates throughout Canada, except in Quebec, where the Québec Pension Plan (QPP)provides similar benefits. The CPP and QPP work together to ensure that all contributors are protected, no matter where they live. Please contact Retraite Québec for information on pensions and benefits under the QPP if one of the following applies to you:
- you have only worked in Quebec;
- you worked in Quebec and at least one other province and currently reside in Quebec; or
- you worked in Quebec and at least one other province, you currently reside outside of Canada and your last province of residence in Canada was Quebec. Read More
The Employment Insurance (EI) program provides temporary income support to unemployed workers while they look for employment or to upgrade their skills. The EI program also provides special benefits to workers who take time off work due to specific life events (illness; pregnancy; caring for a newborn or newly adopted child, a critically ill or injured person, or a family member who is seriously ill with a significant risk of death).
Workers receive EI benefits only if they have paid premiums in the past year and meet qualifying and entitlement conditions. Self-employed workers may participate in EI and receive special benefits. The Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC) plays a leadership role in overseeing the EI program. The CEIC is also responsible for setting the annual EI premium rate. Service Canada’s role is to provide timely and accurate EI benefit payments and services, and to support EI clients through each stage of the service delivery process by providing benefit information, responding to enquiries, assisting employers, processing claims and providing the means to appeal decisions; conducting client authentication and identification; and preventing, detecting and deterring fraud and abuse. Read More
Ontario has two social assistance programs to help eligible residents of Ontario who are in financial need.
Ontario Works helps people who are in temporary financial need. This program offers both financial and employment assistance.
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
ODSP helps people who have disabilities. It has two parts:
- Income Support (financial help)
- Employment Supports (help finding a job)