Government expands Canada Workers Benefit to support one million more Canadians
June 30, 2021 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Finance Canada
Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, announced that the Canada Workers Benefit will now be available to about one million more Canadians and help lift nearly 100,000 people out of poverty.
The Canada Workers Benefit is a refundable tax credit to help people and families who are working and earning a low income. It is a sizeable tax refund for workers. Until now, the threshold of eligibility left many low-wage workers out of the program and that meant people were still living below the poverty line despite working full-time jobs. With the passage of changes contained in the budget, a million more low-income workers are now eligible for a tax refund of up to almost:
- $1,400 for workers who are single and without children (a group that does not receive many benefits); and
- $2,400 for workers with families.
A total of 3.2 million Canadians will now be eligible for this support.
Low-wage workers are among those hardest hit during the pandemic recession. Recovery must start with building a strong workforce, which requires improving working wages and addressing income inequality in Canada. The government is expanding eligibility by making the benefit available to those with incomes up to:
- $32,244 as single Canadians, without children;
- $42,197 as single-earner families; and
- $56,197 as double-earner families.
This expansion includes a new provision which allows secondary earners in couples, most of whom are women, to exclude up to $14,000 of their working income when calculating the benefit, allowing them to access a more generous tax refund.
These changes mean that, for the first time, most full-time workers earning minimum wage will receive significant support from this important benefit.
This support will increase the disposable income available to low-wage workers and provide incentives for workers to rejoin the workforce and be part of a strong recovery that brings all Canadians along.
“The pandemic has underscored that low-wage workers in Canada work harder than anyone else in this country, for less pay. In the past year, many faced layoffs, significant infection risks in the workplace, or both. I am sure all Canadians would agree that no one working full-time in our country should live in poverty. By enhancing the Canada Workers Benefit, we will lift nearly 100,000 people out of poverty, help one million hard-working Canadians make ends meet for themselves and their families, and build a fairer, more inclusive economic recovery in Canada.”
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
“We know low-wage workers are among the hardest hit by the pandemic, and every Canadian deserves to be fairly compensated for their work, that is why we are expanding the Canada Workers Benefit. By enhancing this benefit, one million more Canadians will be included and this will help lift nearly 100,000 people out of poverty. We will continue to bring forward targeted support to build a workforce that is more resilient and strong so that no one is left behind.”
The Honourable Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance
This enhancement will also increase the income threshold for workers to receive the maximum benefit to $22,944 for single Canadians without families, and $26,177 for families.
Enhancing the Canada Workers Benefit is part of a suite of measures included in the recent federal budget that will support workers, including:
- A new federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, rising with inflation.
- The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, and Lockdown Support until September, 25, 2021, so the government can continue to protect millions of jobs and provide workers and employers with certainty and stability over the coming months.
- The new Canada Recovery Hiring Program, which will provide an alternative subsidy for businesses affected by the pandemic to help them hire more workers or increase the hours and wages of employees.
- The new Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program to help connect up to 90,000 Canadians with the training they need to access good jobs in sectors where employers are looking for skilled workers.
Enhancing the Canada Workers Benefit represents additional support of $8.9 billion over six years, and $1.7 billion per year ongoing.
- Budget focused on jobs and growth receives Royal Assent
- Government of Canada Announces Details of the New Canada Recovery Hiring Program and Extension of Business Support Programs
- Government Introduces Legislation to Deliver Jobs and Growth
- News release: Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience
- Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience
Media may contact:
Deputy Prime Minister's Office
Office of the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance
Department of Finance Canada
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