Webinar - Indigenous peoples: Get your benefits and credits

Please note: The content of this presentation is accurate as of the date it was aired on March 29, 2023. For the most recent information on these topics, go to Taxes and benefits for Indigenous peoples - Canada.ca.

Webinar Transcript

Indigenous peoples: Get your benefits and credits

Get your benefits and credits!

Diandra: Hello, Kwe and welcome.

My name is Diandra Konwaia’ton:ni Stacey. I am Kanien’keha:ka or Mohawk from the Kahnawake First Nations territory on the south shore of Montreal. I’m with the Canada Revenue Agency, or CRA for short.

Today, I will be talking to you about the benefit and credit payments that you could be eligible for and how to apply for them.

I will also explain how filing your taxes each year helps to ensure that you keep getting these benefits.

[Individual in a kitchen, smiling, and wearing an apron. There are two others in the background working.]

Land acknowledgement

Diandra: I would like to begin by acknowledging that the land on which I am situated on is the traditional and unceded territory of the Kanien'keha:ka (Mohawk) people. Tiohtià:ke or Montreal is a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst many Indigenous peoples and nations.

I also want to acknowledge the lands on which you are gathered from coast to coast and invite you to take a moment of silence to have a thought for the territory in which you find yourself.

[Indigenous symbols of an eagle, whale, instrument, leaf, boat, and infinity shape.]


Diandra: Today, I will go over why it is so important to do your taxes. It will help you ensure you keep getting any benefit and credit payments you are eligible for.

Today, we will cover:

I will conclude today’s webinar by going over the CRA’s digital services, like My Account, and also talking about scams.

Terminology in the Indian Act

Diandra: First, let’s go over some of the terminology used in this webinar.

For purposes of the tax-exemption under section 87 of the Indian Act, the CRA uses the term “Indian” because it has legal meaning under the Indian Act.

Individuals who are Indians, as defined in the Indian Act, are often referred to as Status Indians.

Indigenous Peoples may have income that is considered tax-exempt under section 87 of the Indian Act. Otherwise, Indigenous Peoples are subject to the same tax rules as any other resident in Canada.

Terminology in the Indian Act

Diandra: Here are a few more commonly used terms.

A reserve as defined by the Indian Act, means a tract of land, the legal title to which is held by the Crown, set apart for the use and benefit of an Indian band.

An Indian band is defined as a body of Indians for whose collective use and benefit lands have been set apart or money is held by the Crown, or who have been declared to be a band for the purpose of the Indian Act.

If you need help determining your status or whether land is considered to be on a reserve, contact Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada at 1-800-567-9604.

What is tax-exempt income?

Diandra: Now that we have gone over some terminology used in the webinar, let’s look at tax-exempt income.

Some or all of your employment income may be considered tax-exempt according to section 87 of the Indian Act.

There are some factors to consider when determining if your employment income is exempt, including:

If you are entitled to be registered as an Indian, your personal property, including your income, is tax-exempt if it is earned or situated on a reserve. Your income may also be tax-exempt if you work on a reserve, but don’t live there.

Even if your income is tax-exempt, doing your taxes is key to getting your benefit and credit payments. This is true even if you had no income during the year. If you are married or in a common-law relationship, your partner must file their taxes yearly.

The tax exemption is applied according to the terms as defined in the Indian Act.

Tax-exempt employment related income

Diandra: If your employment income is exempt from income tax under section 87 of the Indian Act, meaning you are a status Indian and you worked on a reserve, then your employment-related income will also be exempt.

If part of your employment income is exempt, the same proportion of any employment-related income arising from that income will also be exempt. 

These forms of employment-related income include: employment insurance benefits, Canada Pension Plan benefits, Quebec Pension Plan benefits, registered pension plan benefits, retiring allowances, and wage-loss replacement plan benefits.

Non-exempt income

Diandra: The following income sources are not tax-exempt:

For more information on tax-exempt and non-exempt income, go to canada.ca/section87-tax-exemption or call 1-800-959-8281.

[An individual smiling.]

Get the benefits and credits you may be eligible for!

Diandra: Did you know, when you file a tax return, that you may be eligible for benefits and credits that the CRA administers such as:

You may also be eligible for related federal, provincial or territorial payments.

[Two adults sitting down on a couch. One adult is holding a newborn baby on their lap, and both adults are smiling at the two younger children who are sitting on the floor.]

Canada child benefit

Diandra: Let’s begin with the Canada child benefit, or CCB for short.

The CCB is a tax-free monthly payment made to the primary caregiver of a child under 18 years of age. It helps them with the cost of raising that child. 

The primary caregiver is the person who is primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child and who should apply for the CCB.

A primary caregiver can be the child’s mother, father, grandparent, another family member, or someone else who is responsible for their care and upbringing.

Each year, it may provide up to $6,997 for each child in your care under 6 years of age and up to $5,903 for each child aged 6 to 17. You need to apply for all children in your household if you have not applied previously and nobody is receiving it for them.

Payments are based on the number of children in your care, their ages, and your marital status. The CRA calculates benefit payments every July based on information from each parents’ or common-law partners tax return from the year before.

This is why it’s important for both individuals to do their taxes on time every year, even if they have no income or exempt income. Otherwise, their CCB payments could be interrupted.

Applying for the CCB will also register the child for any related federal, provincial, or territorial programs.

For more information on the Canada child benefit, visit canada.ca/canada-child-benefit.

[Photo of two teenagers sitting down smiling, and one child standing and laughing.]

Are you eligible for the Canada child benefit?

Diandra: To be eligible for the CCB, all of the following conditions must be met:

You or your spouse or common-law partner must also be one of the following:

You are primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child if you:

You may get the CCB if you live with and care for a child under a kinship or close relationship program from the governments of Canada, a province, a territory, or an Indigenous governing body.

When should you apply for the Canada child benefit?

Diandra: You should apply for the CCB as soon as possible after your child is born, after a child starts to live with you, or as soon as you or your spouse or common-law partner meet the eligibility conditions. 

You should apply even if you share custody of a child or a child is living with you for a determined temporary period of time.

[Newborn baby on the shoulder of an adult.]

Three ways to apply for the Canada child benefit

Diandra: If you meet all of the eligibility criteria that I just mentioned, you can apply for the CCB in one of four ways:

Note that the automated benefits application is offered in all provinces and the Northwest Territories. The Yukon and Nunavut will offer this service soon.

You should only apply once. Re-applying using a different method may delay your payments. You don’t have to re-apply every year, but you and your spouse or common-law partner must do your taxes every year.

If you have another child after you’ve applied, you will need to apply for that child and any subsequent children. 

Also, suppose you were eligible for the CCB for prior years but didn’t apply previously. In that case, you can request a retroactive payment for a period of up to 10 years

Do you share custody of your child?

Diandra: The CRA considers that a child is in a shared custody situation when the child lives part of the time with you and part of the time with another individual at a different address at least 40% of the time or on an approximately equal basis.

For example, a child could live:

When the child lives with them, both individuals must be primarily responsible for the child’s care and upbringing.

Each eligible person will get half of the payment they would have received if the child lived with them full-time.

If your child lives with you and the other parent in the same home, this is not a shared custody situation.

[Two young grade school students smiling as they are getting on a school bus.]

Child disability benefit

Diandra: The child disability benefit, CDB for short, is for families who care for a child under 18 and the child is eligible for the disability tax credit also known as the DTC. It is a tax-free monthly payment that can provide up to $2,985 per year for each eligible child.

A child is eligible for the DTC when a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner certifies, on Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate, that the child has a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions, and CRA approves the form.

If you already get the CCB for a child in your care who is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit, you do not need to apply for the CDB. You will get it automatically once the CRA approves the form, T2201.

The CDB is paid monthly to the person who receives the CCB for that child. To continue getting the CDB benefits, you must remain eligible for the CCB, and your child must also remain eligible for the DTC. 

For more information on the child disability benefit and to get the T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate, go to canada.ca/child-disability-benefit.

[Individual is sitting on the floor with two children. The toddler and 5 year old are colouring in a booklet while the adult assists the toddler with the pencil.]

GST/HST credit

Diandra: Next, we’ll move on to the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit, more commonly known as the GST/HST credit. 

The GST/HST credit is a quarterly tax-free payment for people with low and modest incomes. It helps offset the GST or HST they pay on goods and services.

To get it, all you have to do is file your taxes every year, even if you have no income, or have exempt income.

The CRA will confirm your eligibility, and how much you will get when you do your taxes.

Only one person in a marriage or common-law relationship can receive the credit. The amount will be the same no matter who gets it.

For more information on the GST/HST credit, visit canada.ca/gst-hst-credit.

[Individual standing outdoors, holding a toddler in her arms, and both are smiling.]

Eligibility for the GST/HST credit

Diandra: You may be eligible for this credit if you are a resident of Canada and at least one of the following applies:

Canada workers benefit

Diandra: The Canada workers benefit, or CWB for short, is a refundable tax credit that provides a financial boost to individuals and families who are in the workforce and earning a low income.

The CWB has two parts: a basic amount and a disability supplement for those with an approved disability tax credit certificate.

For single individuals, the maximum basic amount is $1,428 a year.

For families, the maximum basic amount is $2,461 a year. 

The maximum CWB payment will be different for residents of Alberta, Nunavut, and Quebec.

For more information on the Canada workers benefit, visit canada.ca/canada-workers-benefit.

[Individual is standing and laughing.]

Eligibility for the Canada workers benefit

Diandra: Let’s look into the eligibility for the CWB:

In addition to having earned working income, you must be:

 You cannot claim the CWB if any of the following apply to you:

How to claim

Diandra: You claim the CWB when you do your taxes.

If you use tax software, it will automatically calculate the CWB for you.

If you file on paper, you need to fill out Schedule 6, found in the tax package for your province or territory.

Also, the government recently proposed to automatically send advance CWB payments to people who would have been entitled for the benefit in the previous year.

If the proposed change is approved and you received CWB for 2022, you may receive advance CWB in July 2023, October 2023, and January 2024 totalling 50% of your CWB for 2022. You will receive the remainder of your CWB for 2023 when you file your income tax and benefit return for that year.

For more information on the Canada workers benefit, visit canada.ca/canada-workers-benefit.

[Individual sitting at a desk writing on some forms. Laptop is open on the desk.]

Disability tax credit (DTC)

Diandra: The disability tax credit, DTC for short, is a non-refundable tax credit that helps persons with disabilities or their supporting family members reduce the income tax they may have to pay.

The purpose of the DTC is to provide some relief for unavoidable, additional expenses that result from living with a disability. It helps to offset costs other taxpayers don’t have to face.

Being eligible for the DTC can open the door and act as a gateway to other federal, provincial, and territorial programs, such as the registered disability savings plan, the Canada workers benefit, and the child disability benefit.

To learn more about the DTC, visit canada.ca/disability-tax-credit.

[Person in a wheelchair working on a laptop and smiling.]

Canada Dental Benefit

Diandra: The government has launched the new interim Canada Dental Benefit. This benefit provides financial support for families who have an adjusted family net income of less than $90,000, and have out-of-pocket dental care expenses for their children under 12 between October 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.

This interim dental benefit is only available for 2 periods. You can get a maximum of 2 payments for each eligible child.

 If you are a parent or guardian of eligible children under 12 years old, you will have to attest that:

In order to apply, remember that you need to be receiving the Canada child benefit for your child and to have filed your 2021 tax return. Also, remember to keep your receipts or records from your dental appointment for 6 years.

Canada Dental Benefit

Diandra: Depending on your net income, your non-taxable Canada Dental Benefit payments could be as high as $650 per child, per year.

 Applications launched on December 1, 2022, and the first year of the program will cover expenses retroactive to October 1, 2022 and until June 30, 2023. The second year will begin on July 1, 2023.

If you’re in a shared custody situation, go to canada.ca/dental for more information on how payments could be affected.

[A child smiling for the camera.]

Canada Dental Benefit

Diandra: You can apply for the Canada dental benefit through My Account which is the quickest, easiest, and most secure way to complete your application.

 If you apply online and are signed up for direct deposit, you could receive your payment within 5 business days!

If you are unable to apply online or would prefer to call us, please call 1-800-715-8836.

For more information on the Canada Dental Benefit, visit canada.ca/dental.

Northern residents deductions

Diandra: In addition to the benefits and credits we have covered today, you may also be eligible to claim the northern residents deductions.

To claim the northern residents deductions, fill out and send Form T2222, Northern Residents Deductions, to the CRA, along with your tax return.

The northern residents deductions consist of a residency deduction and a travel deduction. 

These deductions help with the costs of living and travelling in the North and can help reduce any tax that you may be owing when you file your tax return.

There are two parts to the residency deduction: a basic residency amount and an additional residency amount.

You can claim the basic residency amount if you lived in a prescribed northern zone or a prescribed intermediate zone permanently for a continuous period of at least six consecutive months beginning or ending in the tax year.

If you are the only person in the household claiming the basic residency amount for a particular period and dwelling, you can also claim the additional residency amount.

If you need information or help with northern zones or deductions ,income tax, or benefits, please call the CRA at 1-800-959-8281.

We also have a northern dedicated line for residents of the territories with the 867 area code. That number is 1-866-426-1527.

[Map of the northern residents zones in Canada.]

Claiming the northern residents travel deduction

Diandra: To claim the travel deduction, you must already qualify for the northern residents deductions.

Complete and send Form T2222 to the CRA, along with your tax return.

The maximum travel deduction you can claim for each eligible trip is the lowest of the following three amounts:

Note that you can claim the travel deduction for you or your eligible family member’s personal or medical travel, even if neither of you received a taxable travel benefit for that trip, and you can claim a deduction for travel even if you do not claim a deduction for residency.

Keep all the receipts and documents to support your claim for at least six years in case the CRA reviews your tax return. These documents include the cost of the lowest return airfare available at the time of the trip, receipts and other documents to support the travel expenses paid for each trip.

Travel expenses include accommodations, meals, train, taxi or bus fares, vehicle expenses, and other incidental expenses.

For more information, visit canada.ca/taxes-northern-residents.

[Image of page 1 and 2 of the Form T2222, Northern Residents Deduction for 2022.]

Lowest return airfare tables

Diandra: There are two different methods you can use to determine the lowest return airfare.

  1. The existing method of tracking the LRA yourself. Using this method you will be required to identify the cheapest round-trip airfare available when travel began, between the airport closest to your residence and the nearest designated city.
  2. The new method, the simplified northern residents travel deduction tool is a pilot project that introduces lowest return airfare tables so you can determine this amount according to the month you travelled.

With the simplified northern residents travel deduction, there are new tables that can help you easily determine your LRA and doesn’t require you to submit any documentation in support of your claim.

This new method will provide you the lowest level of return economy airfares for eligible airports, almost all of which are operating in the prescribed zones.

In the tables you will find more than 135 airports that offer regularly scheduled flights to a designated city, with the airfares ordinarily available in six-month periods. From October to March, and April to September.

New tables will be published online every April and October to reflect changing airfares during the year.

For more information on the lowest return airfare tables, go to canada.ca/lowest-return-airfare.

Do your taxes on time

Diandra: The key to receiving your benefits and credits is doing your taxes….by April 30! We know it can be a bit scary for some. But it’s so important!

Filing your taxes is the only way to get the many benefits and credits that are calculated based on your income. This includes the benefits and credits I covered in today’s presentation.

So even if you didn’t earn any income in the year, or your income was tax-exempt, we need this information to send you your benefits and credits.

The deadline to do your taxes is generally April 30 every year, unless it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, in which case it will be the following business day. In 2023, the filing deadline is May 1.

Filing by then allows us to calculate your payments and send them to you on time.

[A clock on top of a laptop keyboard.]

There are a few ways to do your taxes!

Diandra: There are a few ways to do your taxes:

You can do your taxes online. This is the fastest way, as tax returns filed electronically are typically processed within two weeks. The certified software is available online, and some are even free. The software guides you and calculates everything for you. It helps make sure you don’t miss out on any benefits and credits. For more information, visit canada.ca/netfile.

Volunteers may be able to help you do your taxes for free. There are tax clinics hosted by community organizations across Canada for those with a modest income and simple tax situation. For more information, go to canada.ca/get-tax-help

You can also get help from a family member, a friend, or a tax preparer.

Or, you can download a tax package, fill out the paper forms, and mail them to the CRA. Paper returns can take up to 10 to 12 weeks to process. To get a package, go to canada.ca/taxes-general-package or call the CRA at 1-855-330-3305.

Simplified tax and benefit package for Indigenous Peoples

Diandra: The simplified tax and benefit package is also available to all Indigenous People this filing season.

The goal is to make it easier to do your taxes and provide more convenient access to services.

It includes two forms, an information sheet, and a return envelope.

The first form is called the Let us Help you Get your Benefits Credit and Benefit Short Return. This form is a simplified version of the individual income tax and benefit return. It gives the CRA the information needed to calculate your benefits and credits, such as the GST/HST credit and the CWB.

The second form is the Canada Child Benefit for Indigenous Peoples form. This form helps eligible individuals receive the CCB for the children in their home.

Please note the image shown on-screen is the Ontario form, but forms vary by province or territory.

[Image of the Ontario, "Let us Help you Get your Benefits Credit and benefit short return 2021" .]

Free tax help

Diandra: You may be eligible to have your taxes done by a volunteer at a free tax clinic if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation.

The program is called the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, or CVITP for short. In Quebec, it’s known as the Income Tax Assistance – Volunteer Program, or ITAVP for short.

Generally, a modest income is less than $35,000 for a single person and less than $45,000 for a couple.

Your tax situation is considered simple if, for example, you don’t have a small business or income from a rental property.

Tax clinics are held all year. However, most clinics are offered in March and April.

For more information or to find a clinic near you, go to canada.ca/get-tax-help.

[The CRA Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) logo with the text “People helping people” in the centre.]

Have you received a letter from the CRA? No need to worry!

Diandra: The CRA will sometimes send you a questionnaire or letter if we need more information to ensure you’re getting the right benefits and credits.

If you get one of these letters, please respond as soon as possible. Don’t ignore it.

Often, we will ask for documents to confirm that the CRA has the most up-to-date information for you, like your marital status, proof that you are the primary caregiver of a child, or your address.

If you don’t have the documents, need some extra time to gather them, or don’t understand what we’re asking, just let the CRA know by calling the number on the letter. The CRA needs this information to calculate your benefits and credits.

If you don’t respond, your benefit or credit payments will stop, and you may have to repay the payments you already received.

[An individual looking a tablet in one hand while holding a paper in the other hand.]

In a situation of abuse?

Diandra: We know that some situations can affect your access to benefits and credits, but we’re here to help!

You will never need to contact an abusive spouse or common-law partner to provide information to the CRA.

If you are in a situation of abuse or violence and cannot get the requested documents, you can send any of the following:

After the CRA receives the documents, no further action is required on your part.

Keep your personal information up to date

Diandra: Along with doing your taxes every year, be sure to keep your personal information updated. This includes your address, marital status, number of children in your care, and direct deposit information.

If you don’t have a permanent home and are staying in a shelter, you can use the shelter’s address to keep getting your payments and mail from the CRA.

If you move, let us know your new address right away. This will avoid a delay or stop in your benefits.

You can update this information using My Account, MyBenefits CRA mobile application or by mail or an agent can assist you by phone.

You may have uncashed cheques from the CRA

Diandra: There are many reasons you may have an uncashed cheque from the CRA. It may have been lost, stolen or destroyed, or you may have moved and not updated your address.

You can view any uncashed cheques in My Account and, if necessary, ask for a duplicate payment.

 CRA cheques never expire or become stale-dated, and you can cash them for free at any financial institution in Canada. 

Sign up for direct deposit and never miss another payment.

For more information, go to canada.ca/cra-uncashed-cheques.

[An individual smiling at their laptop screen.]

My Account for Individuals

Diandra: My Account is a secure online portal that lets you view your personal income tax and benefit information and manage your individual tax affairs on your own. You can track your refund, view or change your return, check your benefit and credit payments and statements, manage direct deposit, change your personal information, view to see if you have any uncashed cheques, view your CRA mail online, such as your notice of assessment, and more.

For more information or to sign up, go to canada.ca/my-cra-account.

[A screenshot of the CRA My Account “Overview” page.]

Northern Service Centres

Diandra: The CRA created the Northern Service Centres to support individuals and businesses in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut year-round.

Employees at the Northern Service Centres conduct outreach visits to support individuals, businesses, and the community.

At the centres, employees can also: 

CRA employees at the Northern Service Centres cannot:

For more information, we have a northern dedicated line for residents of the territories with the 867 area code. That number is 1-866-426-1527. For Business enquiries, call 1-866-841-1876.

Liaison Officer service

Diandra: The Liaison Officer service is free to owners of small businesses and self-employed individuals to help them understand their business tax obligations.

A visit from a Liaison Officer is 100% confidential. The information you choose to discuss will not be shared with other areas of the CRA, or anyone else.

Businesses or self-employed individuals can book:

For information on how to book a free virtual visit , go to canada.ca/cra-liaison-officer.

[Five young adults, in business attire, standing in a line and smiling.]

Be scam smart!

Diandra: You should always be cautious if you receive a communication that claims to be from the CRA.

Scammers often attempt to imitate the CRA to try to steal your personal information. They may target you by telephone, text, instant messaging, email, or mail.

The CRA may contact your directly if we need you to provide information about your account or to clarify something you’ve shared with us.

We will not ask you for your bank account number, credit card number, or passport number or use threats or intimidation tactics.

Here’s how you can be scam smart: 

[An individual’s forehead with the text “Listen to your voice of reason before you act.” above.]

Want to learn more about taxes?

Diandra: We would like to invite you to try out our new online interactive tool called Learn about your taxes. Be sure to check it out at canada.ca/learn-about-taxes.

This online self-directed tool takes you through starting your first job, completing a basic tax return, and the purpose of taxes.

It has resources such as videos, common tax terms, and links to websites where you can learn more.

[A screenshot of the Learn about your taxes – Canada.ca webpage.]

Thank you!

Diandra: And that’s all for me! This is the end of the webinar. Thank you so much for joining us today. We hope it was helpful!

For more information on any related topics, visit our webpage at canada.ca/taxes.

We encourage you to visit our Upcoming Events page at canada.ca/cra-outreach-events to view and register for any of our upcoming webinars.

Thank you for listening and enjoy your day! Nia:wen

[Happy family of 4, walking outside after a light rainfall. One parent is holding the toddler in their arms and both parents are holding the younger child’s hands.]

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