The impact of the enhanced child tax credit on lower-income households

The American Rescue Plan, one of the most significant policy responses to alleviate child poverty in decades, made fundamental changes in enhancing the Child Tax Credit (CTC). In response to the pandemic, the law expanded the CTC for tax year 2021 to ensure a minimum level of economic support to all families raising children.

Commonwealth, SaverLife, and Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners followed up with CTC-eligible families after most filed their 2021 tax returns. We conducted interviews and surveys to assess the impact of the enhanced credit on families’ financial health. Although we focused on the second half of the CTC payment, which was delivered as a lump sum payment as part of the tax refund, we also asked recipients about their tax filing experience and what a continuation of an expanded credit would mean for their families.



Mapping the road toward increased accessibility to the child tax credit

Last year, the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) helped to lift nearly four million children out of poverty and provided economic relief to millions of struggling households. However, many first-time and lapsed filers from underserved and vulnerable populations missed out on these critical benefits. Locating and serving eligible low-income youth, formerly incarcerated individuals, people experiencing homelessness, immigrants, survivors of domestic violence, and isolated tribal populations has presented a challenging opportunity to free tax prep service providers across the country. 

This research highlights the key findings and recommendations to increase the accessibility to the CTC. 



How income tax works

Filing your taxes might be one of the most important financial actions you’ll take each year. It can also feel confusing or stressful at times. 

Find out more about how income tax works, including tax deductions and tax credits using the Ontario Securities Commission's interactive chart to see what tax bracket you are in.



Welfare in Canada, 2020

Maytree released the 2020 edition of the Welfare in Canada report. For each province and territory, this report provides data and analysis on the total welfare income that households receiving social assistance would have qualified for in 2020, including COVID-19 pandemic-related supports.

Welfare in Canada is a series that presents the total incomes of four example households who qualify for social assistance benefits in each of Canada’s provinces and territories in a given year.

Welfare in Canada, 2020 looks at the maximum total amount that a household would have received over the course of the 2020 calendar year, assuming they had no other source of income and no assets. Some households may have received less if they had income from other sources, while some households may have received more if they had special health- or disability-related needs.

The report looks at:

  • Social assistance program eligibility tests for assets and earned income;
  • How welfare incomes vary across Canada;
  • The components of welfare incomes in each province and territory;
  • Long-term changes in welfare incomes in each province and territory; and
  • The adequacy of welfare incomes in each province compared to poverty and low-income thresholds.

In addition, this year the report includes a new section that looks at the adequacy of welfare incomes in each province over time, an analysis that hearkens back to past reports prepared by the National Council of Welfare. Also, please note that this report measures the adequacy of welfare incomes relative to both the Market Basket Measure (MBM) – Canada’s Official Poverty Line – and the Deep Income Poverty threshold (MBM-DIP), which is equivalent to 75 per cent of the MBM. This analysis will replace the low-income threshold comparisons in future reports. We hope these additions will be helpful for those using the report.

In each jurisdiction, the total welfare income for which a household is eligible depends on its specific composition. For illustrative purposes, this resource focuses on the welfare incomes of four example household types:

  1. Unattached single considered employable;
  2. Unattached single with a disability;
  3. Single parent with one child, age two; and
  4. Couple with two children, ages ten and 15.



Disability Tax Credit Tool

The Canadian Disability Tax Credit (DTC) can help reduce the taxes you or someone who supports you owe. It also offers a lot of other great benefits.

To apply for the DTC, your healthcare provider will need to fill out the Disability Tax Credit Certificate (form T2201). This tool is designed to give them the information they need to fill out that form



Questions and answers about filing your taxes

Questions and answers released by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) about filing your taxes, including information on:

  • Prior to filing your tax return
    • changing your address
    • getting someone else permission to access your tax information
    • getting free tax help
  • Filing your tax return
    • deadline to file your taxes
    • common mistakes people make on their taxes
    • what is a non-refundable tax credit
  • Digital services available to file your tax return
  • After filing your tax return
    • when you can expect a refund
    • how long you should keep receipts or records
    • what to do if you cannot pay your balance owing



Making Safety Affordable: Intimate Partner Violence is an Asset-Building Issue

This brief explores three existing unmet needs that contribute to survivors’ inability to build wealth: money, tailored asset-building support, and safe and responsive banking and credit services. Within each identified need, specific issues facing survivors, strategic actions in response to those issues, as well as innovative ideas and existing promising practices to help funders take action to prioritize survivor wealth are discussed.



Disability Alliance BC

Disability Alliance BC supports people in British Columbia with disabilities through direct services, community partnerships, advocacy, research and publications.

Their website provides information on disability benefits including the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), CPP Disability, Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP) and more.



Costing a Guaranteed Basic Income During the COVID Pandemic

The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) supports Parliament by providing economic and financial analysis for the purposes of raising the quality of parliamentary debate and promoting greater budget transparency and accountability.

This report responds to a request from Senator Yuen Pau Woo to estimate the post-COVID cost of a guaranteed basic income (GBI) program, using parameters set out in Ontario’s basic income pilot project. In addition, the report provides an estimate of the federal and provincial programs for low-income individuals and families, including many non-refundable and refundable tax credits that could be replaced by the GBI program.



Présentation de l’Explorateur d’allègements financiers (EAF)

L’Explorateur d’allègements financiers : un outil pour connaître les mesures d’aide et d’allègement liées à la COVID-19 dont vos clients pourraient bénéficier

En réponse à la pandémie de COVID-19 et en raison de la complexité des mesures d’aide et d’allègement offertes à la population canadienne, nous avons créé l’Explorateur d’allègements financiers (EAF), un outil en ligne qui aide les gens vulnérables au Canada et ceux qui les accompagnent à accéder aux mesures d’aide d’urgence et d’allègement financier proposées par les gouvernements, les établissements financiers, les fournisseurs de services de télécommunication, de services publics et de services Internet.

Soyez des nôtres pour assister à notre webinaire d’une heure animé par Elodie Young, de Prospérité Canada, qui vous présentera l’EAF et vous donnera des conseils sur la manière d’aider vos clients à accéder aux mesures d’aide et d’allègement financier. Que vous travailliez dans le secteur de la salubrité des aliments, de la santé mentale, de l'autonomisation financière, de l’établissement ou encore dans le secteur privé, venez apprendre comment aider vos clients à augmenter leur revenu et à réduire leurs dépenses pendant la crise.

Ce webinaire concerne tous les fournisseurs de services de première ligne qui gagnent un faible revenu et les populations vulnérables du Canada.

Lisez les diapositives de ce webinaire.

Utilisez l'outil en ligne.

Lisez le document de ce webinaire.



Introducing the Financial Relief Navigator

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the complexities of the benefits and financial relief measures available to Canadians, we developed the Financial Relief Navigator (FRN), an online resource that helps vulnerable Canadians and those that work with them access critical emergency benefits and financial relief from governments, financial institutions, telecoms, utility and internet providers.

In this one-hour webinar you'll hear from Galen MacLusky and Janet Flynn of Prosper Canada who will give you an overview of the FRN and provide tips on how to support your clients to access critical benefits and financial relief. 

Click 'Get it' below to access the video link, and scroll down to access handouts, slides, and video timestamps for this webinar.

Access the Financial Relief Navigator here.



Presentation slides for this webinar

Handouts for this webinar
Introducing the Financial Relief Navigator (FRN)
Access the Financial Relief Navigator here.

Time-stamps for the video recording:
3:22 – Agenda and Introductions
6:00 – Audience poll
9:00 – Why we created the Financial Relief Navigator (Speaker: Janet Flynn)
11:55 – What’s in the Financial Relief Navigator (Speaker: Janet Flynn)
16:35 – FRN Walkthrough using a Persona (Speaker: Galen McLusky)
33:15 – Tips for using the FRN (Speaker: Galen McLusky)
36:00 – The Working Centre experience using the FRN (Speaker: Sue Collison)
41:15 – Q&A

Benefits and credits toolkit



Benefits and credits provide income and financial support for many individuals. This toolkit contains information on common tax credits and benefits, benefits for specific populations, and practitioner resources including case studies and information on identification documentation for accessing benefits.

We are grateful to West Neighbourhood House in Toronto, Ontario for their contribution in the development of the practitioner resources in this toolkit and to Momentum in Calgary, Alberta for their content consultation support.

Worksheet resources in this toolkit are available as fillable PDFs. Please open with Adobe Acrobat Reader for full functionality.

Prosper Canada launched the Benefits wayfinder on January 19, 2022. 

Latest update on April 8, 2022: The toolkit is now available in French.