Welfare in Canada
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Last updated: November 2019
This resource is not intended to help individuals identify what government transfers they could be entitled to. Individuals living in the Yukon seeking financial assistance should visit this page.
Components of welfare incomes
Households that qualify for basic social assistance payments also qualify for other financial support including:
- GST/HST credit
- Provincial/territorial tax credits or benefits
- Federal and provincial/territorial child benefits (for households with children)
- Recurring additional social assistance payments (for example, an annual back-to-school allowance)
Together, these combine with basic social assistance payments to form the total welfare income of a household. Households may receive less if they have income from other sources, while some households may receive more if they have special health- or disability-related needs.
The table below shows the value and components of welfare incomes for four household types living in Whitehorse in 2018.
|Single person considered employable||Single person with a disability*||Single parent, one child||Couple, two children|
|Basic social assistance||$16,854||$16,854||$24,287||$33,931|
|Additional SA benefits||$809||$4,463||$1,736||$3,193|
|Federal child benefits||$6,448||$10,881|
|Territorial child benefits||$820||$1,624|
|Territorial tax credits/benefits|
|Total 2018 income||$18,093||$21,747||$34,003||$50,489|
Total welfare incomes in the Yukon ranged from $18,093 for the single person considered employable to $50,489 for the couple with two children. All basic social assistance rates increased in November 2018.
On top of basic social assistance, all households received additional social assistance benefits. In the Yukon there are many types of additional social assistance benefits:
- the Yukon Supplementary Allowance ($250 per month for the person with a disability),
- the Christmas Allowance ($30 annually per person),
- the Winter Clothing Allowance ($75 annually for persons under 14 years and $125 for persons 14 years or older),
- the Telephone Allowance ($37 per month per household),
- the Laundry Service Allowance ($10 per month per person),
- the Transportation Expense Allowance ($62 per month per adult), and
- an additional component of the Transportation Expense Allowance which was introduced in 2018 ($40 per month for each child between the ages of two and 18).
Some households received these additional benefits immediately, while others only qualified after they had been in receipt of social assistance for six consecutive months.
Both households with children received the Canada Child Benefit which increased in July 2018 from $533 to $541 per month for a child under the age of six and from $450 to $457 per month for a child aged between six and 17. They also received the Yukon Child Benefit (up to $68.33 per child per month).
All households received the GST credit, which increased in July 2018 in line with inflation.
Changes to welfare incomes
The graphs below show how the total welfare incomes for each of the four illustrative household types have changed over time. The values are in constant 2018 dollars, taking into account the effect of inflation as measured by the national consumer price index.
The welfare income of a single person considered employable and a single person with a disability showed distinctive but similar patterns. Over the last three decades, welfare incomes were reasonably flat but saw marked increases in 1996 and 2008. There were also smaller increases between 2013 and 2014, due to the inclusion of several additional benefits (telephone, transportation, and laundry allowances).
In 2018, welfare incomes for the single person considered employable and single person with a disability stood at $18,093 and $21,747, respectively.
The welfare incomes of households with children saw marked increases in 1996 and 2008, but were relatively flat in previous years.
Since 2013, households with children have seen a consistent increase in their welfare incomes. Between 2013 and 2014, this was due to the inclusion of several additional benefits (telephone, transportation, and laundry allowances). In 2015 to 2017, it was largely due to changes to federal child benefits.
In January 2018, the Transportation Expenses allowance was expanded to include an additional monthly payment for each child between the age of two and 18. This resulted in an increase in welfare income for both households.
In 2018, the welfare income of the single parent with one child and the couple with two children was $34,003 and $50,489, respectively, the highest over the 32 years in the time series.