The Canadian Tax System & Your Income Tax

Most benefits that Canadians enjoy are because of the taxes that they paid.  The taxes collected by the  federal, provincial and municipal governments of Canada pay for the road construction and maintenance, health care, social security, economic development, educational programs, public utilities, cultural activities and public safety among other things.  These taxes come in different types –  income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, and for business owners,  the business taxes.

Tax system is one of the important things that a resident of Canada should know. This post will not explain everything about Canadian tax system but intends to provide an overview of the tax system in Canada.

This post will provide basic information of some of the important points that you can use in trying to understand the Canadian taxation system and information about your income tax return. Canadian residents are required to file their income taxes each year, through the income tax return, the taxpayers lists their taxable income, deductions and tax credits to calculate how much tax they owe to the government.

How the Canadian taxation system works?

The Canadian tax system has three kinds of taxes collected by three levels of government – federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal taxes. The system is based on self- assessment concept, wherein every Canadian taxpayer is responsible for making sure that they comply with the tax rules of each level of government, taxpayer must ensure that they paid the correct amount of taxes every year according to the law.

A person who is a resident of Canada must file a tax return for the previous year. A tax return is basically your report to the government of all of your income and some other financial details for a given year. A newcomer to Canada is also required to report his world income for the part of the year that he is a resident of Canada Social Insurance Number (SIN) is an identification that a permanent resident (or someone working in Canada) must have, this unique and personal nine-digit number is required from an individual for him to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits.

A taxpayer must pay the corresponding tax based on a number of factors such as:

  • the province where the person lives;
  • the amount of taxable income earned during the previous calendar year; and
  • the available tax deductions that the person is eligible to declare.

Common types of taxable income are employment income, self-employment income, tips and gratuities, occasional earnings, and investment income, while, tax deductions can include arts amounts for children, medical expenses, child care expenses, charitable donations, moving expenses etc.

CRA collects the tax on behalf of the federal government, provinces and territories, CRA has the authority to examine tax records to ensure that an individual (or business) has complied with the tax law, they use various review programs to make sure that people are following rules. A tax year ends on December 31st and tax return and any amount that you owe must be received by the CRA on or before April 30th of the following year while self-employed individuals can file their return o or before June 15th (but still need to pay their balance due on or before April 30th).

Why and how you file your tax returns?

A Canadian resident have to file his income tax return to pay the accurate amount of income tax owned, in return, he benefits from the programs and services provided by the government.  Tax revenue is used to deliver benefits to lower income families, charities, students, retirees, and people with disabilities, it provides social benefits such as old age security, the Canada child tax benefit, employment insurance benefits, the working income tax benefit and the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit.

There are a lot of situations in which people have to file a return, generally, an individual must file a return if he has an income and needs to pay tax for a particular calendar year. A person must file if the CRA sent him a request to do so. Individuals in all provinces and territories file a federal general income tax and benefit return, also called as T1 return. They also fill out the applicable provincial or territorial schedules for their province or territory of residence, with the exception of Quebec. T1 return is used to report income, claim deductions and credits and calculate tax obligations for the year. Quebec residents file a federal T1 return for the CRA and a separate provincial return for Revenu Québec.

A taxpayer must gather supporting information to fill out his return, including slips or receipts provided by an employer, payer or prepared by an administrator and various institutions such as:

  • T4, Statement of Remuneration Paid;
  • T4A, Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other Income;
  • T4E, Statement of Employment Insurance and Other Benefits; and
  • T5007, Statement of Benefits.

Because CRA calculates benefits and tax credits based on the taxpayer’s family situation, a taxpayer must declare his marital status and the name of his spouse or common law partner and his partner’s SIN and income. In order for CRA to calculate benefits, both the individual and his spouse or common-law partner must generally file an income tax and benefit return every year, even if neither of them have no income to report.

After gathering all the information slips from employers or payers, the taxpayer, must report all the amounts shown in box 14 of all his T4 slips to calculate his total income. Lottery winnings, GST/HST credit payments, Canada child tax benefit payments, and payments from related provincial and territorial programs should not be included as income. You also need to identify and claim your deductions in your T1 return, deductions are divided into two groups on your return: those that are deducted from your total income and those that are deducted from your net income. Some types of deductions from your total income include RRSP deductions, child care expenses, support payments you made, and union dues while the amounts that can be deducted from your net income include the Northern residents’ deductions and the capital gains deduction. More information regarding this information can be found in www.cra.gc.ca

Once a taxpayer is ready to file his return, he has several ways to file it. CRA allows electronic filing options, such as EFILE and NETFILE and of course, there is always the paper filing method. EFILE allows filing service providers send individual T1 return information to the CRA over the Internet. Authorized service providers are primarily those who operate a tax preparation business. On the other hand, NETFILE allows most Canadians to file their personal income tax and benefit return using the Internet.

If a taxpayer wishes to use paper-filing method, he can use the General Income Tax and Benefit Guide to help him to follow steps in preparing his return. The taxpayer will need to transfer all data from his information slips to the schedules and return and calculate both federal and provincial taxes and how much he owes or expects to receive as a refund. The paper return can be mailed to the tax centre is noted on the back cover of the forms package (or you can visit CRA’s website to find where to send your T1 return).

If a taxpayer calculated that he has a balance owing, he must pay this owing so that you don’t get charged late-filing penalties and interest. However, if the taxpayer can’t pay his full balance owing, he can set up an arrangement by calling the TeleArrangment service at 1-866-256-1147 or the CRA at 1-888-863-8657.

Note that it is very important to keep and organized your tax documents, in general, it is advisable that a taxpayer must keep all his records and supporting documents. If this necessary information are not kept and a taxpayer is unable to provide proof to CRA in case CRA reviews the taxpayer’s return, the CRA may have to determine his income using other methods. The CRA may also disallow expenses that were deducted and credit the claimed, should these deductions were not supported.

What are the existing tools that can be used to pay less tax? 

While a taxpayer’s return may show that he needs to pay more tax, there are deductions that may be available for him or he may be able to claim some non-refundable tax credits, and reduce his federal tax. Tax deductions and tax credits, though they both serve the same purpose (reduce tax burden) they work in different ways. Tax deductions work by lowering taxable income while tax credits are direct reduction on the tax due.

You may refer to CRA’s webpage for list and full details of various tax deductions and credits that is available in your province which may be applicable for you and your family but here are some of the here are the allowed deductions and tax credits for Canadian taxpayers for the 2016 tax year:

Childcare expenses deduction (Line 214)Taxpayers can claim child care costs paid to daycare centres, day nursery schools, caregivers such as nannies, day camps, and overnight boarding schools to have someone to look after his or his spouse’s or common-law partner’s child or a child under 16 years so that the person could earn income from employment; carry on a business either alone or as an active partner; attend school under the conditions identified under Educational program; or carry on research or similar work, for which you or the other person received a grant. The age limit does not apply if the dependent child is mentally or physically infirm.

Support payments made (Line 230 & 220): This includes non-deductible child support payments you made under a court order or written agreement. This do not include amounts you paid that are more than the amounts specified in the order or agreement, such as pocket money or gifts that you sent directly to your children.  To be eligible to claim this deductible, you must register your court order or written agreement with CRA. For more information regarding this, see Registering your court order or written agreement.

Spouse or common-law partner amount (Line 303).  You are eligible to claim this amount if at any time in the year you supported your spouse or common-law partner and his or her net income was less than $11,474. However, if you claimed the family caregiver amount for your spouse or common-law partner, his or her net income must be less than $13,595.

Amount for an eligible dependant (Line 305): You may be able to claim this amount for one other person if at any time in the year (1) you did not have a spouse or common-law partner or, if you did, you were not living with, supporting, or being supported by that person; (2) you supported a dependant in 2016; (3) you lived with the dependant (in most cases in Canada) in a home you maintained, however, you cannot claim this amount for a person who was only visiting you.  In addition, at the time you met the above conditions, the dependant must also have been either your parent or grandparent by blood, marriage, common-law partnership, or adoption; or your child, grandchild, brother, or sister, by blood, marriage, common-law partnership, or adoption and under 18 years of age or had an impairment in physical or mental functions.

Adoption expenses (Line 313): As a parent, you can claim an amount for eligible adoption expenses related to the adoption of a child who is under 18 years of age. The maximum claim for each child is $15,453. You can only claim these incurred expenses in the tax year including the end of the adoption period for the child.

Caregiver amount (Line 315): If, at any time in 2016, you (either alone or with another person) maintained a dwelling where you and one or more of your dependants lived, you may be able to claim a maximum amount of $4,667 for each dependant. Each dependant be 18 years of age or older, must had a net income in 2016 of less than $20,607 ($22,728 if he or she was eligible for the family caregiver amount), he or she was dependent on you due to an impairment in physical or mental functions or, if he or she is your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s parent or grandparent, was born in 1951 or earlier.

Amounts transferred from your spouse or common-law partner (Line 326).  You may be eligible to claim all or some unused amounts  of your spouse or common-law partner non-refundable tax credits to reduce his or her federal tax to zero, if he or she does not need to claim some or all of certain amounts.

Medical expenses tax credit (Lines 330 and 331): This credit applies to individuals who have significant medical expenses for themselves or their dependents.  You can claim only eligible medical expenses on your tax return if you, or your spouse or common-law partner paid for the medical expenses in any within any 12-month period ending in the calendar year (2016) and did not claim them in the previous year (2015). If the individual died in the year, the medical expenses must have been paid within any 24-month period that includes the date of death.  Generally, the amount being claimed must be supported by receipts, you can claim all amounts paid, even if they were not paid in Canada. Medical expenses for self, spouse or common-law partner, and your dependant children born in 1999 or later can be entered in Line 330.    Use Line 331 to claim eligible medical expenses that you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for persons who depended on you for support including your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child who was born in 1998 or earlier, or grandchild and/or your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s parents, grand-parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, or nephews who were residents of Canada at any time in the year.

Family caregiver amount for children under 18 years of age (Line 367).  You can claim an amount for your or your spouses’s or common-law partner’s children who are under 18 years of age at the end of the year; lived with both of you throughout the year; and have an impairment in physical or mental functions. If the child resides with both parents throughout the year, either you or your spouse or common-law partner can make the claim.  If you are making this claim for more than one child, either you or your spouse or common-law partner may claim the credit for all the eligible children or you can each claim separate children but each child can only be claimed once.

Children’s arts amount (Line 370): You can claim this amount for child who must have been under 16 years of age (or under 18 years of age if eligible for the disability tax credit) at the beginning of the year in which an eligible arts expense was paid.  A maximum amount of $250 per child for eligible fees paid in 2016 can be claimed relating to the cost of registration or membership for your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child in a prescribed program of artistic, cultural, recreational, or developmental activity.

Refundable medical expense supplement (Line 452): You may be able to claim a credit of up to $1,187 if all the conditions were met which includes – you have a disability supports deduction of your return or on line 332 of Schedule 1; you were resident in Canada throughout 2016 and you were 18 years of age or older at the end of 2016. In addition, the total of your your employment income on line 101 and line 104  has to be $3,465 or more and your net self-employment income (not including losses) from lines 135 to 143 of your return.

Children’s fitness tax credit (Lines 458 and 459).  You can claim up to a maximum of $500 per child, for eligible fees paid in 2016 for the cost of registration or membership for your or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s child in a prescribed program of physical activity. Note that the children’s fitness tax credit, including the supplement for children with disabilities, will be eliminated for 2017 and later tax years.

Other  deductions, credits, and expenses:  To find information about what other deductions and tax credits you can claim to reduce the amount of tax that you need to pay, a list is available in the Canada Revenue Agency website.

References & Resources:

Income Taxes in Canada, retrieved February 12, 2016.

Canada Revenue Agency: Learning about taxesretrieved February 12, 2016.

Canada Revenue Agency: Series: Newcomers to Canada and the Canadian Tax Systemretrieved February 12, 2016.

Completing a tax return, retrieved January 27, 2017

Have your Credential Assessed

If you came to Canada as a federal skilled worker or you are in Canada to work in specific professions or trades, or you came to Canada to study, the education, work experience or professional credentials  that you received outside Canada will need to be assessed. Credential assessment and recognition can be processed even before you arrive in Canada. The credential assessment will help you:

  • see whether your credentials are equal to the standards set for Canadian workers
  • find out whether you need more training, education or Canadian work experience
  • understand the types of jobs for which you might be qualified
  • help employers understand your qualifications

Most employers consider academic credentials earned outside of Canada as generally comparable to similar credentials earned in Canada. For example, if you earned a 3- or 4-year bachelor’s degree (in a particular field of study) outside of Canada, you should feel confident applying for a job requiring applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in the same or similar field of study.

If you are applying for a job requiring a high school diploma (Grade 12), most senior secondary school diplomas/certificates awarded outside of Canada are awarded upon completion of a 12-year or 11-year program of study. In Manitoba, these programs are generally considered comparable to Grade 12.

There are different procedures on how you can have your credential assesed, the step that you need to follow will depend on whether you are federal skilled worker, you want to work in Canada (requiring certain trades) or you want to study.

You may use this article as your guide in getting your credential assessment in order to work to Canada.

There are two types of occupations in Canada: regulated (including trades) and non-regulated.

A regulated occupation (for example, architect, engineer or plumber) is controlled by provincial and territorial (and sometimes federal) law and governed by a regulatory body or apprenticeship authority. They are also called professions, skilled trades or apprenticeable trades. These jobs are regulated to protect public health and safety, and to make sure that people working in those jobs are qualified.   In order to work in a regulated occupation and use a regulated title, you must have either a licence or a certificate or you must be registered with the regulatory body for your occupation in the province or territory where you want to work.  Each regulated occupation has its own requirements for getting a licence or certificate and the requirements may be different between provinces and territories.

If you want to work in a trade (carpenter, electrician, bakers), visit Red Seal for more details about the training, skills and experience you will need to meet. As a tradesperson, you may be eligible to immigrate through the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

In Canada, some provinces and territories regulate certain professions and trades while others do not. If you have a licence to work in one province or territory, it may not be accepted in others.

Most jobs in Canada are non-regulated occupations. A non-regulated occupation is a profession or trade that doesn’t require a licence or certification and has no legal requirement for registration to practice (for example, bookkeeper).  The National Occupation Classification  provides the general requirements for non-regulated occupations. About 80% of jobs in Canada are non-regulated, the non-regulated job market is an excellent place to begin your career in Canada.

Employers requirements, however, may vary, it is still best to be prepared to prove that you have the education or experience to do the job. Employers who would like to determine if you meet the specific requirements of their company may require you to demonstrate a certain level of skill and competence, provide specific level of education, and to have personal characteristics suitable for the job.

Here are the important steps that you need to do to get your credentials recognized to work in Canada:

1. Use Job Bank to create a report that will tell you useful information about your job including:

  • Job description
  • If it is regulated
  • Contact information for your regulatory body or apprenticeship authority
  • Main duties
  • Related job titles
  • The skills needed to do the job
  • Job and training opportunities
  • Hourly wages

2.  Consult the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC).

3.  Compare your qualifications with the requirements for licensing, certification or registration to work in that job in the province or territory where you live. Then decide what you need to do to meet those requirements.  In some professions, the language skills may also need to be compared.

4.  Contact the regulatory body or apprenticeship authority for your profession in your province or territory to find out what you need to do to get a licence or certification. You will have to prove that your training, experience and other skills are equal to the standards that people trained in Canada must also meet.

5.  Collect the documents that prove your educational record, professional training and work experience which will help regulatory bodies, assessment agencies or employers understand your international qualifications. These documents are required when applying for licensing, certification or registration in a regulated occupation.

The documents you may need are the following:

  • Degrees, diplomas or certificates from universities, colleges, secondary schools or trade schools
  • Program descriptions or syllabi related to your studies; transcripts of grades
  • Letters from professional and other regulatory bodies
  • Apprenticeship or professional certificates
  • Letters from employers, performance reviews
  • Work descriptions for jobs you have done
  • Letters of reference from former employers

6.  Have your assessment done by an  approved assessment agency, this will help you show employers how your training compares with that of people trained in Canada.

The Province of Manitoba no longer operates a credential assessment service. Individuals residing in Manitoba and seeking an assessment should contact one of the following members of the Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada (ACESC)

* For further information on the recognized assessment agencies in Canada, visit www.canalliance.org.

 

Sources:

Learn about credential assessment in Canada, retrieved October 30, 2016, http://www.cic.gc.ca

Have Your Credentials Assessed, retrieved October 30, 2016, http://www.immigratemanitoba.com

 

 

Healthy Baby Program and Manitoba Prenatal Benefit

Manitoba Prenatal Benefit provides monthly assistance to pregnant women who live in Manitoba and have a net family income of less than $32,000 a year.  The benefit encourages early regular prenatal care and promotes and supports healthy outcomes for moms, babies and families by providing monthly financial benefit to help the pregnant woman to be able to buy healthy food that she needs during pregnancy.

Application for this benefit may be submitted as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed.  If you are approved for the benefit, you can start to receive monthly cheques in the month of your 14th week of pregnancy and will end in the month your baby is due.   The Healthy Baby cheques are mailed every last Friday of the month.  The amount of the benefit that you will receive is based on your income. You could get between $10.00 to $81.41 a month.

To apply for this benefit, you need to complete an application form which can be downloaded online or pick up a form from any medical offices, community agencies, and government offices, or you can call Healthy Child Manitoba Office at 204-945-1301 (in Winnipeg) or toll free at 1-888-848-0140 (outside Winnipeg) to get a form mailed to you. The applicant must provide a medical note from her health care provider, confirming her pregnancy and expected due date.

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Aside from the Manitoba Prenatal Benefit, Healthy Baby Community Support programs is also available to anyone who is pregnant and/or parenting a baby that is under the age of one free of charge.   The Healthy Baby Community Support programs help pregnant women and new parents connect with other parents, families and health professionals. Healthy Baby group sessions offer information, support and resources on prenatal and postnatal nutrition and health, breastfeeding, parenting tips and lifestyle choices.

You can attend to Healthy Baby programs when it is convenient for you. There are over 100 Healthy Baby sites across Manitoba. To find out how you can connect to a program in your area you can call 204-945-1301(Winnipeg) or toll-free at 1-888-848-0140 or see the locations and phone numbers listed on their website.

Source: Healthy Child Manitoba – Healthy Baby, www.gov.mb.ca

Reminder:  This post is based on the information provided by the Government of Manitoba as published in it’s official website (www.gov.mb.ca).  For complete and accurate information, it is still best to visit their website or to contact the office of the government concerned.

 

 

Child Care in Manitoba

In Manitoba, the provincial government does not operate any licensed early learning and child care service directly. Licensed centres are run by boards of directors, and licensed child care homes are run by the licensed home provider(s).

The government provides annual operating grants to eligible, licensed, non-profit child care facilities and sets maximum fee limits for those facilities. If a facility receives a provincial operating grant, it is called a funded facility. Funded facilities must follow the Manitoba regulation that sets out the maximum fees that can be charged for the type of child care spaces being offered.  On the other hand, an unfunded facility  are those licensed facilities who chose NOT to receive a provincial operating grant.   These facilities can set its own fees.

The chart below shows the maximum amount a family can be charged, by a funded facility, for the type of space their child is in.

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Note that this chart may be change due to  update that may be made in the Child Care Regulation, please visit http://www.gov.mb.ca to ensure that you are looking into the most updated information.

For more information regarding  funded or unfunded facilities  and to find out what fees a specific facility is allowed to charge, you can contact the  Child Care Information Services at 204-945-0776, toll free 1-888-213-4754 or email cdcinfo@gov.mb.ca.

The government provides subsidies for qualifying families to help pay for child care fees. The Child Care Subsidy Program provides provincial support to eligible families to help with the cost of care by reducing child care fees for children from the ages of 12 weeks to 12 years.

The family’s eligibility for this benefit program depends on various factors including:

  • your net household income
  • the number and age of your children
  • the number of days required for care
  • the reason for care (example:  you have a job, you’re seeking employment, you’re attending school/approved training program, your child has an additional support need, you have a medical need.)

To find out if you qualify for full or partial child care subsidy, you must submit a subsidy application.  Due to the range of factors that determine your eligibility, it is only possible to provide an estimate of the child care subsidy you may be eligible for, by using the Subsidy Eligibility Estimator. If you are found qualified for a child care subsidy, a subsidy advisor assigned to you will contact you by your preferred method of communication, that you have selected when you submitted your application.

There is a $2 non-subsidized fee for each child, per day, that all families must pay, including those who receive a full child care subsidy.  For example, if you receive a full subsidy and you have one child that attends a licensed early learning and child care facility five times a week, your child care fee will be $2 per day for one child x 20 days in a month for a total of $40 a month.

There are two options to apply for this program, you can apply online or you can directly contact  the Child Care Subsidy Program to get a paper application mailed to you.

Contact Information:
Address: 102 -114 Garry Street, Winnipeg MB R3C 1G1     Email: cdcsubsidy@gov.mb.ca     Phone: 204-945-0286 (in Winnipeg)    Toll-free:1-877-587-6224    Fax: 204-948-2143

Sources: A Guide to Child Care in Manitoba, http://www.gov.mb.ca

Reminder:  This post is based on the information provided by the Government of Manitoba as published in it’s official website (www.gov.mb.ca).  For complete and accurate information, it is still best to visit their website

Children’s Opti-Care Program

Families who receives Manitoba Child Benefit (MCB) are also eligible for the Children’s Opti-Care Program.  This program is intended for families who get MCB to help pay some of the cost for their children’s glasses.  The average Children’s Opti-Care Program benefit is about $84 per child, per year, children who have special vision needs may be eligible to receive more benefits.

Claims for this program can be made once every three years. If your child’s prescription changes or your child outgrows his or her frames, you may be able to claim more often.

To be eligible to receive benefits through this program, you must:

  • be a resident of Manitoba
  • have children under the age of 18 who live with you
  • get the Manitoba Child Benefit for the child who needs the glasses.

To apply for this benefit, you must complete the Children’s Opti-Care Claim form and send it along with the copy of the official receipt of the glasses to:

Manitoba Child Benefit – Children’s Opti-Care Program:  PO Box 3000 203 South Railway Street East, Killarney, MB R0K 1G0

Reminder: Claims made more than 14 months after the glasses were paid for will not be paid.

Source: Children’s Opti-Care Program, http://www.gov.mb.ca.

Reminder:  This post is based on the information provided by the Government of Manitoba as published in it’s official website (www.gov.mb.ca).  For complete and accurate information, it is still best to visit their website or to contact the office of the government concerned.

Manitoba Child Benefit

The Manitoba Child Benefit ( MCB) is an  income supplement offered to Manitoba residents who have dependent children under the age of 18 and whose family income is below certain level and  are receiving Canada Child Tax.

Low-income families may be eligible for up to $420 tax free each year for every child. For a single parent of three children working full or part time and earning $15,000 or less, this totals $1,260 with partial benefits for parents who earn $15,000 to $20,000.

The following table provides benefit levels and allowable income ranges for families with up to six children.

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The income eligibility for MCB is based on total family income from the previous year. Total family income is based on the net family income reported on the current Canada Child Tax Benefit notice.

To be eligible to receive this benefit, you must be a resident of Manitoba and should meet the following:

  • you have dependent child/ren under the age of 18 who are in your care;
  • you are in receipt of Canada Child Tax benefits for dependent children;
  • your family income is below a specific level and is based on the previous year’s income;
  • you are not in  in receipt of Emplyment and Income Assistance unless you are ONLY receiving the health benefits portion of EIA;

You need to apply for the MCB, in order to receive your benefits. Applications may be can be submitted anytime. If you are eligible, benefits will be effective from the month in which your completed application is received. The benefit is paid at the end of each month through direct deposit.

To apply for MCB you must complete and mail in the a MCB application form.   Mail your application form to the Income Supplement Programs office at P.O. Box 3000 203, South Railway Street East, Killarney, Manitoba R0K 1G0

Other Contact Details:

Phone:  204-523-5230    Toll-free: 1-800-563-8793    E-mail: incsup@gov.mb.ca

You can also download Manitoba Child Benefit brochure for more information.

Source: Manitoba Child Benefit, www.gov.mb.ca.

Reminder:  This post is based on the information provided by the Government of Manitoba as published in it’s official website (www.gov.mb.ca).  For complete and accurate information, it is still best to visit their website or to contact the office of the government concerned.

5 Things That A Permanent Resident Should Remember

Here are some worthy information that you should remember about your permanent residence status in Canada.

Permanent residents are citizens of other countries and are given PR status by immigrating to Canada. He has the right to live, work or study anywhere in Canada and can get most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage. He has the right to protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and can apply for a Canadian citizenship once he has satisfied the qualification required. He is not allowed to vote or run for political office but is required to pay taxes and respect all Canadian laws at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.

A Permanent Resident card is issued to a permanent resident as proof of his permanent residence status in Canada. The PR card is usually valid for five (5) years, however, expiration of permanent resident card does not mean that a person have also lost permanent resident status as this card can be renewed. PR card needs to be presented by a permanent resident of Canada every time he needs to re-enter the country on a commercial vehicle, like an airplane, boat, train or bus. If a he happens to be outside Canada and lost his PR card, he can obtain a proof of status to return to Canada by securing a PR travel document (use Application for a Travel Document (Permanent Resident Abroad to apply). Note that starting March 15, 2016, a PR resident of Canada, regardless if you are a citizen of a visa-exempt country or a citizen of a visa-required countries, you will need to travel with your Canadian PR card or PR travel documents and must present this card to re-enter to Canada.

A permanent resident must satisfy the residency requirements to maintain permanent resident status, he can live outside Canada, but must be physically present in Canada for a minimum of 730 days (2 years) in a five-year period. Living outside of Canada for longer period may cause a person to lose his permanent resident status.

There are other circumstances that a person may count days outside of Canada as days for which he satisfy the residency obligation: (1) by counting each day he accompanied a Canadian citizen outside Canada provided that the person he accompanied is his spouse, common-law partner or parent, for child under 19 years of age (2) he is an employee of, or under contract to, a Canadian business or the public service of Canada or of a province or territory and as a term of his employment or contract, and he is assigned on a full-time basis or (3) by counting each day that he accompanied a permanent resident outside Canada provided that the person he accompanied is his spouse, common-law partner or parent (for child under 19 years of age) and the person you accompanied was employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or in the public service of Canada or of a province or territory during the period he accompanied him or her.

A permanent resident does not automatically lose his permanent resident status. One’s status cannot be lost by simply living outside of Canada long enough that he doesn’t meet the residency requirement, unless the person went through an official process wherein (1) an adjudicator determines that he is no longer a permanent resident following an inquiry or (2) a visa officer determines he does not meet the required residency when he apply for a permanent resident travel document. A person may also lose his permanent residency status by applying to voluntarily give up his permanent residence status.

This information may seem simple, but trust me it wouldn’t hurt to read and know these things, there are people I personally know who are unable to come back to Canada with their permanent resident status because they didn’t realize that they have a residency obligation in order for them to keep their status.

 

Resources:

Understand Permanent Resident Status, Retrieved October 29, 2015