Many have already asked me this question and my reply then was because Canada is family-friendly. We have only settled here for almost six months and my reply is still the same only that I discovered a lot more - more benefits. This post is for Issa and Nol and others who are waiting for their immigration approval. As early as now, I'd like to tell you - "Congratulations, you made the right choice." This is also for those who are contemplating on migrating to Canada. A summary of benefits (posts on other benefits to follow) and their links are listed below which I hope you will find helpful:
For your children and your family:
1. Healthcare - Canada's national health insurance program covers the cost of necessary hospital and doctor services. Free vaccines too, a relief from costly vaccines in the Philippines.
2. Education - Every Canadian community has free public school for all children from kindergarten (at age 4) up to the high school level. The elective courses that students take in high school are pre-requisites of the programs that they can get into or take at College or University. Some of these courses are already sufficient to get them to work if they don't pursue college education. Free textbooks, and some school supplies, free school bus. My son Aloysius availed the morning snack program - a healthy meal everyday comprising of a fruit or veggie and a dairy for only $5 each term which is practically free for me.
3. CCTB (Canada Child Tax Benefit) - This is the monthly "allowance" that each family gets from the Government to support them in raising children under 18. This is based on the family income submitted with the application.
4. OCB (Ontario Child Benefit) - This is applicable only to those residing in the province of Ontario. This is a tax-free monthly payment given to qualifying families with children under the age of 18. The Ontario Child Benefit is an initiative which is fully funded by the Province of Ontario. Benefits are combined with the CCTB.
5. UCCB (Universal Child Care Benefit) - This benefit will provide you with $100 each month for each of your children under the age of six. This financial benefit is part of Canada's Universal Child Care Plan - a plan that is also supporting the creation of child care spaces in communities across Canada.
6. Child Care Fee Subsidy - helps families with the cost of child care or day care. Fee subsidy is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The link here is only applicable to those living in Toronto.
7. RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan) - You can save money for your children's future education in RESP. The federal government will match some of the money you save each year.
8. CESG (Canada Education Savings Grant) - If you save money for your child's college education in a RESP, you can receive help from CESG. For any amount you save up to $500, the Government of Canada will provide 20%, 30%, 40% depending on your family income. Those who are able to save more than $500 a year, the Government will match the extra savings with 20% on the amount over $500.
9. CLB (Canada Learning Bond) - If you open an RESP and if your family income is below $37,885 (the criteria/income amount for year 2008, it varies every year) and your child was born after December 31, 2003, then your child maybe eligible for a $500 Canada Learning Bond that the Government will put into the child's RESP. The other condition is that you qualify for the National Child Benefit Supplement. If the child qualifies for the $500 CLB, then the Government will also add $100 a year up to 15 years. That means you could receive up to $2,000 from the Canada Learning Bond.
1. Employee Insurance (EI) - you are deducted a certain amount in your salary that goes to Employee Insurance that you can avail in case you lost your job or while in maternity leave (which is 1 year). The premiums are sufficient for your needs until you find another job.
2. RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) - You can open a RRSP at any financial institution to save for retirement. Money invested in an RRSP is tax deductible and grows tax-free. At age 71, you must convert the RRSP into a RRIF (Registered Retirement Income Fund)
3. Retirement - there are a lot of benefits here.
4. Employment Equity - Canada has laws to ensure that each person has an equal opportunity for employment. An employer cannot discriminate against a person because of his or her race, colour, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
Of course, all these will be coming from the taxes that you will be paying and incorporated in the goods and services that you are acquiring i.e. GST, HST etc. At least, you know where they are going - back into your pockets and not into the thieves' pockets, right?