Ontario Electricity Support Program

Notice to the reader

This measure has received Royal Assent.

Effective starting in January 2016, the Ontario Electricity Support Program lowers electricity bills for low-income households by applying a credit directly to eligible customers’ bills. For 2016 and subsequent taxation years, Budget 2016 proposes to exempt from income the assistance provided by the Ontario Electricity Support Program so that income-tested benefits are not affected, such as the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit.

1. What is the Ontario Electricity Support Program?

Effective starting in January 2016, the Ontario Electricity Support Program lowers electricity bills for low-income households by applying a credit directly to eligible customers’ bills.

2. Is the type of assistance provided under the Ontario Electricity Support Program currently required to be included in income?

Without the Budget 2016 measure, assistance provided under the Ontario Electricity Support Porgram would have been required to be included in income. Although an offsetting deduction is available so that the assistance is effectively non-taxable, the amount of assistance may affect income-tested benefits, such as the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit.

3. How does Budget 2016 propose to change the tax treatment of assistance received under the Ontario Electricity Support Program?

For 2016 and subsequent taxation years, Budget 2016 proposes to exempt from income amounts received under the Ontario Electricity Support Program. As a result, assistance received under the program will not affect income-tested benefits.

4. Where can I get more information on the proposed changes to the tax treatment of assistance received under the Ontario Electricity Support Program?

The CRA is committed to providing taxpayers with up-to-date information. The CRA encourages taxpayers to check its webpages often. All new forms, policies, and guidelines will be posted as they become available.

In the meantime, please consult the Department of Finance Canada's Budget 2016 documents for details.

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