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Money and Finances

Opening a Bank Account

There are many banks a newcomer can open a bank account with. There are 5 big banks in Canada:

  • Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)
  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  • Bank of Montreal (BMO)
  • Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)

You can also choose to use smaller banks or credit unions. Many banks have special accounts for newcomers to Canada.

Credit Cards and Debit Cards

There are two main types of cards that you can use to pay for things:

  • Debit cards – Use money directly from a bank account
  • Credit cards – Use the money first and must be paid back regularly

Credit cards need to be paid monthly in full or there will be very high interest rates.

Credit Scores

In Canada, everyone has a credit score from 300-900. A higher score is better when buying or renting a house or car.

Credit cards can be useful in building credit score by paying bills in full on time, however having a credit card can be a large responsibility. Not paying back a credit card on time can lower your score and make it hard for you to rebuild it.

Filing Taxes

Every resident of Canada is required to file an income tax return every year on April 30 for the previous year from January to December.

Each member of the household with income must file their own income tax.

In Canada, the tax system is progressive, meaning the more money made, the more taxes paid. For some jobs, income is directly taken out of their paycheck while for other jobs such as driving for Uber, the driver takes home all of the money made but will have to pay tax on it later.

KCHC – Immigrant Services helps newcomers with filing income taxes. Please call (613) 544-4661, ext. 5111 around March every year to be placed on a waitlist.

Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

After the 12 month sponsorship period ends, the newcomer may be eligible for Ontario Works, a social assistance program. Please apply at the beginning of month 12 to receive assistance by the end of month 12.

Ontario Disability Support Program provides income support for those with disabilities. Refugee newcomers are eligible for ODSP at any time during their settlement. However, any income support received from sponsors is removed when determining the amount of income support they receive under ODSP.

Applications for OW and ODSP are completed either online, in person or by phone.

Social Services for OW and ODSP
362 Montreal Street
(613) 546-2695

Canada Child Benefit (CCB)

The CCB gives money to families every month to help with the cost of raising children. The primary applicant is usually the mother.

Applications can be completed online through a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) account or by filling out the paper application found here and mailing it to:

Sudbury Tax Centre
PO Box 20000 STN A
Sudbury ON P3A 5C1.

Newcomers must also complete a Schedule RC66SCH Status in Canada/Statement of Income form when submitting their application.

CCB is not in place of support from your sponsor. It should be considered as additional funds to help you with your settlement.