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Adding Dependents to Your Benefits

Adding Dependents to Your Benefits

Adding Dependents to Your Benefits

It’s time, they’re here! You are now eligible for your health benefits. It’s an exciting moment when you are able to access your employer sponsored health benefits. It means improved health and well-being for you and your family and a weight of worry off your shoulders as the health bills are now covered.

But with this new coverage can come a slew of new questions, like who is covered? When can I add them? For how long are they covered? These questions and more are often asked, and we are here to answer them and take some of the mystery out of the process. In this newsletter we will cover:

 

  • Who is considered a dependent.
  • What is a life event.
  • How long a dependent can be on your insurance.
  • The cost of adding a dependent.
  • Adding the dependent to your insurance.

For answers to these questions and more, please
continue reading the rest of our newsletter. We will provide general information on these topics that can be applied to most insurance carriers, however some differences will apply.

Who Is Considered A Dependent For Health Insurance
It varies from plan to plan, but usually for health insurance, a “dependent” is defined as a person, especially a family member, who relies on another for financial support. This typically means your spouse and children. Your dependents are covered under your plan, which means they could be entitled to benefits under your workplace coverage or a personal benefit plan you have.
Definition of Spouse

Your spouse can be your legal married partner, or common law partner with whom you publicly present as your partner and with whom you have resided with for a specific period of time. Each insurance company defines common-law spouse differently, so consult your plan administrator for the exact definition.

Definition of Dependent Children

For most health benefits plans, a child is considered a dependent within your family group. This means that your or your spouses’ children can be added to your coverage. Your children may be adopted by you or your spouse, your natural children or stepchildren.
They must be unmarried and usually under the age of 21 to be eligible for most health benefit plans.

Other Family Members

Typically group health insurance plans don’t consider siblings or parents of the insured to be dependents, and therefore they are not eligible for coverage under your group health benefits plan.

What Is A Life Event
A life event refers to an event that causes change in your personal situation that allows you to change your individual/family coverage easily without the requirement to provide evidence of good health.
Most events that are considered life events are:
  • Marriage.
  • Entering a common-law relationship.
  • Divorce.
  • Ending a common-law relationship.
  • Having a child.
  • Adopting a child.
  • The death of your spouse.
  • The death of your child.
  • Your spouse gaining or losing insurance  coverage.
  • Your dependent gaining or losing insurance coverage.
  • Your province of residence changing.

It is important that you notify your insurer of any of these life events immediately, usually withing 30 days of them happening, to keep your policy and coverage up to date for you and your family.

How Long A Dependent Can Be On Your Insurance
There are a few different factors that dictate how long a dependent can stay on your health insurance plan and it varies per policy. For your spouse, they can usually remain covered under your plan for as long as your relationship lasts.
For children, the length of which they can remain on your insurance is different for each policy. However, the most common rules are that so long as the child is unmarried and under the age of 21 they can remain under your coverage. Though, there are sometimes exceptions to certain policies.

For instance, some plans allow your child to remain covered so long as they are attending post secondary school and are under 25. Others can allow for dependent children to remain on their parent’s plan if they are over 21 and have a disability. It is best to check with your specific health benefits provider
to see what their policy is.

The Cost Of Adding Dependents To Your Insurance

The cost implications of adding a dependent to your health insurance plan will vary from insurer to insurer, as well as different factors like your dependents health and age. For more information, check the premiums information of your insurer’s website or brochure, or contact us to speak to one of our plan member service representatives to learn more.

Adding The Dependent To Your Insurance

Once you have taken out the policy or you are eligible for workplace group benefits plan your dependents are also eligible. Each dependent is eligible to be added based on certain criteria: For a spouse or common-law partner, they are eligible from the date of marriage or according to the common-law definition of the insurance company. For a child, they are eligible from the date of birth, adoption, or assemblage of the relationship between you and your spouse.

Remember to gather the necessary information and documentation for each dependent, like the birthdate of each person to be included on the application and their medical information (name and addresses of the family doctors and details of prescription drugs). The documents that are sometimes needed to prove the relationship between the insured and the dependent differs per insurer but could be the following:

  • Personal Health Number (PHN) for everyone.
  • For a spouse, marriage certificate or documentation that you are in a common-law relationship (utility bills, etc.).
  • For newborn children, birth certificate.
  • For adopted children, a copy of the Notice of Placement from the adoption agency is required.

For indigenous applicants to some group benefits plans provided through a First Nations organization (such as First Nations Health authority) you may also need the following:

  • Indian Status Number (register with ISC as soon as possible as the wait can be up to two years).

Note, for a newborn dependent who has been registered with ISC, and has a PHN number, they could be covered under your account for up to two years while they wait for their Indian Status Number. Once the documentation has been provided to the insurer, processing times will vary.

Removing A Dependent From Your Insurance

Being able to remove a dependent from your insurance will be different per policy. Typically, in personal health insurance policies you can remove a dependent at anytime. However, with group benefit policies you may only be able to remove a dependent because of a life event happening. For example:

  • You get divorced or separated from your spouse.
  • A child reaches maximum age of eligibility (turns 26 or is no longer enrolled
    in a post-secondary school).
  • A dependent passes away.

You must notify your insurer of any life events or changes to your dependents as soon as possible in order to keep your coverage current. If you are unsure of something or need help notifying your insurer of a life event, contact us to speak with one of our plan member service representatives and they will help you.

If you have any questions or would like to review how your dependents are covered under your workplace or individual plan please
don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Plan Member Service Representatives. You can connect with them here using this link. We
are here to help!

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Government Retirement Income Sources

Government Retirement Income Sources

Government Retirement Income Sources

When it comes to retirement, there are so many things to consider: When will you stop working? What sources of income will you draw from? What will you do with your time? This well-earned milestone in your life should be walked into with as much joy and carefreeness as possible, as you deserve it. To get there it will take some knowledge and planning and we want to help you along the way.

For Indigenous seniors, they heavily reply on public income sources like CCP/ QPP, OAS, and GIS in their golden years. So much that it accounts for 47% of Indigenous seniors’ income, whereas only 25% is coming from private income sources. Compare that to non- Indigenous, statistics show that 34% of their retirement income coming from private sources and 33% from government sources.

There are three government provided retirement
incomes sources you may be eligible to receive that
will help support you on your retirement journey:

 

  • Canadian Pension Plan (CPP)/Quebec Pension Plan (QPP)
  • Old Age Security (OAS), and
  • Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

Continue to read the rest of our newsletter to better understand government retirement options that you may be eligible for and learn how you can maximize your retirement income with personal savings and investment options like RPP’s, RRSP’s and TFSA’s as well as any workplace pensions you may have such as RPS, Group RRSP’s and TFSA’s and Pooled Registered Pension Plans.

Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Quebec Pension Plan (QPP)

The Canada Pension Plan and the Quebec Pension Plan are very similar but have some differences. They provide monthly payments to people who contribute to the plans during their working years. Indigenous employees living off-reserve (or those receiving taxable employment income) must contribute to the Canadian Pension Plan. However, if they are living on-reserve, their employer can choose whether to opt into CPP or not. If they are self-employed or living on-reserve and wanting to opt-in on their own, they must pay into the Canada Pension Plan and contribute both the employer and employee portion of the contribution.

Calculating Monthly Payment Amounts

The total monthly amount that you will receive will depend on how long you contributed to the plan as well as how much you contributed. The amount is also dependent on when you start receiving your CPP or QPP pension. To maximize your CPP pension, you must contribute the maximum amount (based on your yearly earnings) to CPP for 39 of the 47 years you work from ages 18-65.

When Can I Receive My CPP/QPP Payment?

You can choose to take your CPP or QPP pension as early as 60 years of age, or as late as 70 years. Most people opt to take it the month past your 65th birthday. If you choose to take the pension earlier at age 60, it will permanently lower your monthly payment.

As well, the inverse is true, the later you take your CPP or QPP pension the higher your monthly payments will be. To have better understanding of how much you can expect to receive, you can use the Canadian Retirement Income Calculator. Click here to calculate your expected benefits.

Will I Have To Pay Tax On My CPP Benefits?

Yes! Canada Pension Plan benefits are considered income and subject to income tax when receiving those benefits. However, for First Nations, Inuit and Metis, if all of your contributions to Canada Pension Plan were made using tax exempt earnings, then your CPP benefits will also be tax exempt. On the other hand, if your CPP contributions were made with earnings from both on-reserve and off-reserve earnings then only the amount of CPP payments resulting from taxable earnings will be taxed.

Will Paying Into CPP Affect My Tax-Exempt Status?

No! Paying into the Canada Pension Plan will not affect your tax-exempt status.

Can I Work While Receiving My CPP/QPP Payments?

With CPP, you don’t have to quit working. If you work while receiving your CPP retirement pension, you may increase your retirement income with a lifetime benefit called the Post-Retirement Benefit (PRB), retirement pension Supplement in Quebec (RPS). CPP contributions toward the PRB are mandatory for working CPP retirement pension recipients under the age of 65. Starting at age 65, you can choose not to contribute to the CPP while you are working.

Old Age Security (OAS)

Old Age Security is a monthly benefit that you can receive at age 65 or older. Unlike CPP or QPP, you don’t have to work or contribute to Old Age Security to receive it. It is an available retirement fund for most residents in Canada who meet the Canadian legal status and residency requirement. You can choose to receive it at age 65 or defer for up to 5 years. Similar to CPP and QPP, if you choose to receive OAS later your monthly payments will be higher.

Eligibility

To be eligible for Old Age Security you need to have been a Canadian resident for at least 10 years since the age of 18. The longer you have lived in Canada, the larger the amount you would receive.

At age 64, you will be notified as to whether you will be automatically enrolled or if you need to apply. Even if you are automatically enrolled you still have the option to defer if you’d like.

If you aren’t auto enrolled, you will have to apply by filling out the form and submitting it by mail.

Will I Have To Pay Taxes On My OAS?

Yes! You will have to pay taxes on the Old Age Security benefit. The OAS benefit that you receive is considered taxable income as they are not connected to any previous income earned.

Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

The Guaranteed Income Supplement is a non-taxable supplement to the Old Age Security pension for recipients who are low income and live in Canada.

Eligibility

To be eligible to receive GIS you must file a tax return every year to show your income. If you are
automatically enrolled in OAS, you will also be automatically enrolled for GIS. For more information on the income threshold click the link here.

Will I Have To Pay Tax On My GIS?

Luckily, no! The GIS is non-taxable benefits that is meant to supplement if your income is below a certain threshold. Therefore, no taxes will be applicable on these benefits.

Strategies To Maximize Your Retirement Income
To maximize your retirement income in addition to these government pension sources, there are investment savings accounts that you can use to save and grow your money for your retirement. Some of these include:
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP) a registered retirement savings account that allows you to save and invest your money while being able to use the contributions to lower your taxable income while the earnings grow tax free until you withdraw money (then it’s taxable).

 

  • Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) a registered retirement income account that allows you to move money from a registered pension account (RRSP, RPP, etc.) to an income account solely for the purpose of paying you income. Funds in these accounts can still be invested and grow tax free but are taxable when withdrawn. There is also a minimum that must be paid to you annually.

 

  • Tax Free Savings Plans (TFSA) a registered savings investment account that allows you to grow your money tax free and is generally tax free even when withdrawn. However, the contributions of the savings account are not tax-deductible like with an RRSP.

 

  • Registered Pension Plan (RPP) a registered pension plan that is set up by an employer or a union for their employees. Both the employer and employee
    contributions are tax-deductible.

For more information or to get help, please visit our website here or contact our expert financial advisors here.

Depending on your personal circumstances, there are several government retirement income sources that are available to you. All of these sources are
designed to complement your personal savings and investments to help build a strong income foundation for you to rely upon in your golden years.

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Diabetes & Ozempic

Diabetes & Ozempic

Diabetes & Ozempic

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified diabetes as one of the greatest public health challenges of this century. It is a serious health concern among people living in Canada and especially for Indigenous Communities. In fact, statistics shows that Indigenous populations have a higher risk of developing diabetes than non-indigenous communities. Research also shows that self-reported diabetes rates among First Nations adults living off reserve and Metis adults are 1.9 and 1.5 times higher than that of non-indigenous adults, respectively.

There are multiple reasons why diabetes rates are higher within Indigenous communities. Indigenous people have suffered inequities as a result of colonial policies and practices including systematic racism, intergenerational traumas, disruption of cultural identity and self-determination, and limited access to resources. These factors have severely undermined indigenous values, cultures, and spiritual practicing, creating long-lasting physical, mental emotional, and social harm for these communities.

Continue to read the rest of our newsletter to learn more about the causes, types, and prevention methods of diabetes.

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic health condition characterized by elevated levels of blood sugar. When healthy, our bodies break down most of the food we eat into sugar (glucose) and release it into the bloodstream. When blood sugar rises, it signals the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts as the key to taking blood sugar into the body’s cells to use it as energy. With diabetes, the body cannot produce or use enough insulin. When you don’t have enough insulin or your cells become unresponsive to insulin, excess blood sugar remains in your bloodstream. Over time, diabetes causes serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

There are different types of diabetes that people are diagnosed with. Let us discuss them in detail below:

Type 1 Diabetes

This type is characterized by the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. With type 1 diabetes, you are required to have daily insulin injections. It usually begins in childhood. Neither the cause nor the means to reduce the risk of acquisition are known yet.

Type 2 Diabetes

This type occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or does not effectively use the insulin produced by the body. This type is caused by several factors such as unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and smoking. Genetics and obesity are also important risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Daily insulin injections may be required.

Gestational Diabetes

This type of diabetes is diagnosed during pregnancy. This type often goes away after delivery, however, there is a high risk that people with gestational diabetes and their babies may develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Aside from these types, researchers also include prediabetes. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. This condition is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes Medication: Statistics & Drugs

Statistics indicate that the diabetes treatments and supplies category is dominating all other therapeutic classes for health benefits plans and experiencing strong growth year over year. In 2022, diabetes treatments and supplies totaled up to 15% of the total amount covered on drugs. This percentage rose to 31.7% for non-insured health benefits (NIHB) and first nations health benefits (FNHB) plans. Among the top treatments for diabetes for the NIHB and FNHB plans is Ozempic.

Research shows that in 2022, Ozempic accounted for almost 30% of the total amount covered for diabetic drugs, and the utilization rates have increased by 70% from 2021 to 2022 across different age ranges from 25 – 65 and older.

So, what is Ozempic, and how does it work?

Ozempic is one of the most commonly used diabetes control drugs of our time. Ozempic (generic term: semaglutide) binds to glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and stimulates insulin release from the pancreas when needed, which helps lower blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C. Ozempic also reduces the amount of sugar your liver produces. It slows down food leaving your stomach and prevents blood sugar spikes in your body. What makes Ozempic a unique drug is that it does not inject insulin into the body. Instead, it helps your body release its own insulin.

Ozempic is used only once a week and the amount injected varies, depending on individual health conditions.

This drug is a popular treatment for type 2 diabetes, and the BC government announced that it will expand its production of Ozempic to meet demand and ensure continued availability of the drug to patients who need it.

Is Ozempic covered for First Nations Health Authority clients?

Ozempic is a covered diabetes drug if you are FNHA client, but it is subject to criteria and requires the prescriber to submit a Special Authority request.

Click here to read more about the Special Authority request.

Learn more about the covered diabetes drugs, insulins, and supplies for FNHA clients here.

Can Ozempic be covered by private insurance?

Patients with private drug plans may be eligible for coverage of Ozempic – depending on the plan and insurance provider. Sometimes the coverage options may vary; it could be partial prescription drug coverage, or it could be having a maximum amount the company will cover. Talk to your Plan Administrators about the details of your benefits plan coverage.

Some people use Ozempic for weight loss too; is it safe?

Although Ozempic was not approved for weight reduction, some people use it as a weight loss tool. Some people are experiencing weight loss when taking Ozempic if combined with proper dieting and exercise. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Health is asking respective colleges to ensure the physicians prescribing and pharmacies dispensing Ozempic are compliant with the procedure-approved indication.

Here are some of the dangerous side effects of Ozempic: pancreas inflation, changes in vision, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), kidney problems (kidney failure), serious allergic reactions, and gallbladder problems.

Talk to your doctor about how Ozempic may affect your health and monitor your body for irregular symptoms while on Ozempic.

Diabetes: Prevention Method

Although many studies were and – are still being – conducted to learn more about the causes and means to prevent type 1 diabetes, no prevention method has been identified yet. Nonetheless, scientists are inventing drugs that can potentially delay a diagnose of type 1 diabetes for two years such as Teplizumab. Scientists also encourage early screening to detect Type 1 diabetes early on to manage it at its earliest stages.

For type 2 diabetes, the situation differs. Mitigation and prevention methods are found and if practiced appropriately, they can have a major role in preventing type 2 diabetes. Some of those methods are proper dieting and frequent exercise. Let’s explore these options further in the following sections.

Dieting

Diet plays an important role when it comes to Type 2 diabetes prevention. Your registered dietitian can guide you through a healthier lifestyle by improving your eating habits. Here are some recommended dietary restrictions:

1. Develop A Healthy Eating Style

When you decide to follow a healthy lifestyle, your food choices have to include vegetables and fruits, whole-grain foods, and plant-based proteins. Canada Food Guide recommends using the following proportions:

  • Make half of your plate vegetables and fruits.
  • Make one-quarter of your plan whole grain foods.
  • Make one-quarter of your plate of protein foods.
2. Prepare Your Meals

Weekly meal planning helps you avoid making decisions at the moment when you are hungry. When you create a meal plan for the week, you are choosing better quality food for your diet (fruits, vegetables, protein) and thus improving your organ function and blood sugar. Meal preparation also helps you reduce the stress that is caused by feeling guilty for eating unhealthy food.

3. Use The Glycemic Index

Blood sugar management is an important factor in managing and preventing diabetes and this is where the glycemic index comes to play. “The glycemic index is a measure of how fast different carbohydrate-containing foods raise our blood sugars after eating them” – Lumino Health.

Using the GI can help you make better choices when it comes to meals and snacks. The GI of foods is ranked as follows:

  • Low GI: 0 – 55
  • Medium GI: 56 -69
  • High GI: 70 – 100

Essentially, the lower the glycemic index, the slower your blood sugar will rise and the steadier your blood sugar will be after you eat that food.

Physical Activity

Another key factor to prevent diabetes is physical activity. Doctors recommend an active routine to ensure your body is protected from illnesses like diabetes. Here are some of our recommendations for a healthier lifestyle:

1. Fit Movement into Your Day

Many of us have stories of starting a new exercise routine and then failing to commit to it a couple of weeks or months after. We need to transform thinking about exercise into actually doing the exercise!

To start, you need to think about what is motivating you to commit to those 30 or 45 minutes of exercise every day. Often time, we lose interest quickly because we don’t have what motivates us to move out from the couch. So as the first step, learn about what motivates you.

The second step: know your barriers. Is it not having enough time? or, is exercising at 6 o’clock in the morning exhausting you? Or is it a financial cost? Once you have identified your barriers, it’s time to address them. Find a closer gym, exercise at home, exercise at a time that works well with your schedule, etc.

And remember, short workouts are better than no workouts at all. You can start with a short period of 5 minutes and then increase gradually. There are some phone applications you can use that can keep you on track, such as the MOVR app.

Most importantly, you need to remember to designate a time for exercise, just like eating, sleeping, or working. Once you prioritize your workout time, there will always be time for it.

2. Stick to your workout routine

Personal trainers understand that motivation can lag; that sometimes life priorities can get in the way of doing your workout. That is the first thing that they want to advise when you want to commit to a workout plan; recognize that everyone experiences motivation lags sometimes.

But how can you work around it and stick to your workout event after some lag?

 

They advise you to acknowledge your roadblocks and set up an accountability system where someone expects you to show up to their workout session every time. Go with a friend, you will be held accountable!

Experts also advise when trying to commit to a workout plan, lose the critical self-talk when you miss a workout or two. Remember that every activity counts, even a short walk after work!

Being able to manage diabetes successfully is about so much more than tracking blood sugar. It’s about setting a healthy lifestyle and committing to it; being able to make the right food and exercise choices when the time comes. Go for a walk, eat well, avoid blame, learn a relaxation technique, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends.

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Six Tips To Consider Before Filing Your 2022 Taxes

Six Tips To Consider Before Filing Your 2022 Taxes

Six Tips To Consider Before Filing Your 2022 Taxes

It is that time of the year again! You guessed it, it’s Tax Season.
In Canada, individuals who may owe income tax or may be eligible for Canadian government tax credits or benefits file “income tax and benefit return” by the end of April, every year. Indigenous people are subject to the same tax filing requirements as non-Indigenous residents in Canada, even if income is eligible for the tax exemption under Section 87 of the Indian Act.

How do I know if I am eligible for tax exemption as Indigenous person?

According to Section 87 (1) (a) of the Indian Act, “The personal property of an Indian or a band situated on reserve” are exempted from taxation in Canada. This means the income of registered Status Indian will be exempted if that income is located on a reserve.

This exemption does not apply to all Indigenous people living in Canada because there are conditions to meet for a tax-exemption approval.

If you are unsure if your income qualifies for tax exemption, speak to your employer. There are a variety of criteria that must be assessed including a connecting factor test that assesses related criteria such as the domicile of your employer, working from home, location of work duties performed and proration rules.

Learn more about the connecting factors test here.

My employment income is considered tax -exempt, should I still file a tax return?

My employment income is considered tax -exempt, should I still file a tax return?

As Indigenous person, you have access to the same benefits and credits as non-Indigenous Canadians. If you choose not to file your tax return, you may be ineligible for specific benefits and credits that you may be entitled to.

To ensure that you are receiving benefits and credits, you must submit your tax return on time, every year even if your income is considered tax-exempt or if you had no income at all. You spouse or common – law partner needs to do their taxes as well so that CRA can calculate the payments based on household income.

Some of those payments include Goods and services tax/Harmonized sales tax credit (GST/HST), Canada child benefit (CCB), Northern residents’ deduction, Canada workers benefit, and Canada training credit. 

Continue to read the rest of our newsletter to learn about the six tips we recommend considering before filing your tax for the year 2022.

1. Use a simplified paper tax and benefit return

You may be able to file your taxes using “Let Us Help You Get Your Benefits! Credit, and benefit” short return. If you are a member of a First Nation, you may also be eligible for the T1S-D, Credit and Benefit Return.
To access these forms, you can contact your local friendship center, community representative, or band council office. You cannot download these forms online. Learn more here.

2. Create online account with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

A great way to keep track of all your previous years’ taxes, benefits and credits, balancing owing, and more is through creating an online account with Canada Revenue Agency. Your CRA account helps you easily manage your taxes and credit information online, from the comfort of your home. Here are a few excellent ways you can utilize your online CRA account:

      • Apply for benefits and credits
      • Update your account information (marital status, address, phone number, etc)
      • View your notice of assessment or reassessment
      • Pay your payments
      • Review historical tax information for up to 7 years

Register for your CRA account here.

Filing Electronically

Electronic returns are usually processed within two weeks whereas paper returns may take several weeks for processing. According to research, 92% of tax returns are filed electronically due to their convenience, security, and faster processing.

If you are registered for “My Account” with CRA, you can use “Auto – fill my return” to quickly fill in parts of your return with your information the Canada Revenue Agency has on file. If you choose to file your 2022 tax return digitally this year, access Canada.ca to learn more about the certified tax software you can use to file your tax.

 

3. Enter your income and other benefits payments.

If you are employed, you should receive your T4 from your employer by the end of February 2023. You may receive other slips from different payers such as pension providers, financial institutions, and educational institutions that you should also include when filing your income tax return.

If you have received benefits from CRA such as Canada Recovery Benefits, and Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, you will receive a T4A information slip that you should add as an income for the year 2022. You should also receive these slips from the Government of Canada by the end of February 2023.

Other sources of income are still required to be reported but may not generate a tax form, such as:

    • Income from sales of goods and services regardless of whether payments were in cryptocurrency or traditional monetary currency.
    • Income earned through buying and selling crypto assets.
    • Tips and gratuities earned at your place of work.

If you also generate a world-wide business income, you should report that through the platform economy. One example of this type of income is social media influencers’ income that is generated through social media platforms.

These income sources may be generated through advertisement, referral codes, merchandise sales or commission on sales, sponsorships, or barter transactions.

Click here to learn more about reporting international income.

4. Claim your benefits, credits, and deductions

You may be eligible for tax deductions, credits and expenses on your tax return for the year 2022. CRA uses the information from your return to calculate your benefits and credit payments. Some of these payments include:

    • Canada Child Benefits
    • Good and Services Tax/ Harmonized Sales Tax (GTS/HTS) Credits
    • Provincial or Territorial Benefits.

You might be able to claim a deduction that can reduce the amount of tax you may owe. Examples of those expenses are childcare expenses and home office expenses (if you work from home as an employee and have arranged deductions with your employer). If you are self-employed, you may be able to claim certain business expenses such as a motor vehicle, and business–use–of–home expenses (heating, home insurance, & electricity).

Learn more about the tax credits and benefits you might be entitled to here.

5. File on time, pay on time!

Filing your taxes on time will ensure your taxes returns and benefits will not be delayed or interrupted.

If you owe a balance to the CRA, it is important to note that retirement income benefits such as the Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) may be held back if you do not file on time.

The deadline for filing for 2022 income tax is April 30th, 2023. If you, your spouse, or common law partner are self-employed, you have until June 15th, 2023, to file your taxes and benefit return. If you don’t file your taxes by deadlines, you may be subject to late filing penalties on any money you owe.

In addition to filing on time, any balance owing is also due by April 30, 2023. Paying your dues in full ensures interest will not be charged. If you are unable to pay your balance owing, contact the CRA to make payment arrangement that suit your ability to pay overtime.

Learn more about payment arrangement here.

6. Maximize your tax return with Registered Saving Programs

An excellent way to reduce taxable income is through contributing to a Registered Savings Plan.

If you are a non-Status individual or a Status individual earning taxable income, a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) may be a good option for you. Contributions you make to an RRSP will attract a tax deduction annually. The savings within your RRSP account will grow on a tax-deferred basis. Taxes will be payable at retirement or upon withdrawal, based on your marginal-tax rate (MTR) at that time.

Generally, the contribution room (limit) for RRSP is 18% of annual earned income from the last tax year (up to a maximum of $27,830 for 2022), however, each individual has a unique RRSP limits subject to multiple factors. Check your online CRA account to find more information about your personal contribution limits.

Find more information about RRSP here.

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Four Ways Employers Can Support Employees’ Mental Health

Four Ways Employers Can Support Employees’ Mental Health

Four Ways Employers Can Support Employees’ Mental Health

“Mental health problems and illnesses among working adults in Canada cost employers more than $6 billion in lost productivity from absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover in 2011.”

 – Mental Health Commission of Canada

Workplaces can play a vital role in supporting and maintaining positive mental health for their employees. They can give people a sense of productivity, value, and achievement, all of which are strong contributors to employees’ mental well-being.

Yet, a workplace can also often be a big stressor and a contributor to poor mental health. There is no workplace that is immune from poor mental health risks to its employees.

Just as poor physical health can impact employees’ work performance, poor mental health is often associated with emotional distress and psychosocial impairment comparable to that of a major depressive episode.

 

Employee Mental Health
The psychological, social and emotional well-being of individuals in the workplace is what referred to as “Employee Mental Health”.

It is important to understand the causes and triggers for good or poor employee mental health as the later impact their over health, performance, productivity, and their work interactions. As such, employers should make a conscious effort to foster a positive work environment that enriches its employees and supports their mental health.

Prior to discussing what employees can do to support mental health of their employees, it is critical to understand some of the causes or contributors to poor employee mental health:

  • Stress is the largest risk factor in poor mental health for everyone and specifically employees. While stress is common to experience in any workplace environment or field, excessive stress can have major risks on someone’s mental health.
  • Bullying and Harassment at workplace are big contributors to mental health as it leaves victims with long lasting impacts that are uneasy to overcome.
  • Poor working environment which includes poor working hours and workplace that can impact both mental and physical wellbeing of employees on the long-term.
It is important to mention that mental health experiences will differ according to race, economic opportunity, citizenship status, job type, parenting and caregiving responsibilities, and many other variables. Therefore, employers have a responsibility to take care of their employees’ mental health and explore what can they do to support their mental wellness.
What If Employees’ Mental Health is Ignored?

Unfortunately, if employee mental health is not taken care of, major risks will take place that cannot be easily eliminated or mitigated on the long run. Here are some of those risks of ignoring employee mental health:

 

  • It reduces trust between employers and their employees.
  • It creates unsupportive, distrustful company culture.
  • It can decrease employee performance and productivity.
What Can Employers Do To Support Their Employees’ Mental Health?
You, as an employer, and your human resources team, play a critical role in supporting employee mental health. It is your responsibility to create a welcoming and inclusive workplace and provide necessary support for your team. Here are some of the experts’ recommendations on how you can support your employees’ mental health:
  • Model Healthy Behaviors & Encourage Proper Self-Care

Promote the importance of self-care to your employees and lead by example. Consider offering paid time off for mental wellness days and/or schedule a team breaks so your employees can mentally rest during the day. Be creative with ways to support their mental health at work such as setting up companywide formal “walk” together if conditions permit.

  • Implement Supportive Workplace Mental Health Policies

Some of the helpful resources that supports employee mental health is Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), bereavement leave, grief counselling, and general mental health counselling. EAPs are great option to include in your employee benefits plan as it offers confidential counselling services to your employee. Learn more about EAPs here.

Other policies that support employee mental health are anti-discrimination policies (including bullying and harassment). Implementing such policies will foster more welcoming and accepting work environment and ensure that employees are safe and protected at their workplace. If you already have a policy in place, review it and see how you can better support your employees.

  • Encourage Work – Life Balance

Work -life balance is an essential aspect of a healthy work environment as it helps reduce stress and prevents burnouts. Work-life balance starts with offering flexible hours options. This helps employees have greater control and time management of their day, chance to avoid traffic, and opportunity to attend medical appointments, of all which is needed for mental health.

  • Facilitate a Clear Communication

Communicate with your employees clearly and compassionately about your company’s policies, and mental health treatment options. Offering that regular, open, and consistent communication with your employees helps strengthen relationship between you and your employee and ultimately boosts their mental health.

Supporting mental health in the workplace empowers employees to do top-notch work and to balance personal well-being needs. It is your responsibility as employer to create a strategy and foster an environment that enables and support your employees’ health.

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