It’s safe to say that a vast majority of women do not plan to become single mothers. More often than not, becoming a single mom is something that happens due to broken relationships. As such, women with children do not typically plan their finances as if one day they would become single mothers. Being unprepared when it does happen, newly single moms are not aware of the financial help available to them when they are raising their children alone.
When I became a single mother, I had no clue about any tax benefits or government grants. It took me a while to research this information and apply for some of these programs. They helped me when help was most needed, and I encourage you to use these resources since they are created to support single-parent families.
This post provides a list of important grants available to single mothers in Canada. You will find this information about grants especially valuable if you became a single mother recently.
Grants available to single mothers in Canada can be divided into two categories: federal and provincial. In order to qualify for these grants and benefits, you need to be “either a separated or divorced parent of a child (or children) who lives with you and for whom are you are primarily responsible (care, living, and education).” Divorced mothers who have shared legal custody are likely to receive only one-half of any available benefit.
Applying for most of these grants, available to you as a single mother on a federal level, can be done during the annual taxation period. However, if you become a single mother at any point throughout the year you should apply for available grants right away.
Federal Grants & Benefits
New for 2023: Canada Dental Benefit
If you earn less than $90,000 per year and your children under 12 do not have private dental insurance, you can apply to receive between $130 to $650 to cover the dental costs for your child. Additional coverage is possible if your costs are higher than $650. Any amount you receive is tax-free.
To check how much you can obtain under this benefit go to this page.
One-Time Top-Up Payment For Rental Housing
Until March 31, 2023, you can apply to receive this non-taxable benefit of $500 to help cover your rental housing costs. Most people covered under this benefit are those who make less than $35,000.
View more information about this benefit.
Canada Child Benefit (CCB)
As the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) describes it, the Canada child benefit (CCB) is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age.
The maximum annual Canada Child Benefit increases to keep pace with the cost of living, albeit not proportionally to the increasing costs. For the 2022 taxation year, the following rates apply:
- up to $6,997 per child under age 6 and
- up to $5,903 per child aged 6 through 17
Learn more about the CCB benefit on this page.
Reduction of Income Tax At Source
I wrote about this little-known benefit in my post Increase Your Income With T1213 Tax Form. I highly suggest you read it in detail, but in summary, this form makes it possible for you, as a taxpayer, to reduce monthly income tax if you have considerable ongoing expenses (such as childcare or ongoing medical expenses).
These tax savings can be significant depending both on your income and ongoing essential expenses. You can use the tax saved throughout the year to invest money, pay for education, or anything else you might need vs getting a loan with an interest.
Canadian Pension Plan Splitting
You can apply to split the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) savings during your separation or divorce. This includes dividing all CPP savings that were accumulated during the time you lived together with your ex-spouse. You are eligible for equal division even if you have not made any contributions while living together. Importantly, you need to apply within 36 months after the end of your marriage (including the separation period).
To view full details and apply, visit this page.
To receive payments under the Employment Insurance (EI), you need to be an individual who lost your job through no fault of your own (for example, due to a shortage of work, seasonal or mass lay-offs.) You must also be actively looking for employment and able to work. Click here to see full eligibility requirements. Always apply for EI benefits as soon as you stop working. There is a one-week waiting period so you don’t want to waste any time.
As a single mother, you could also be eligible to receive an additional Family Supplement to your EI. This supplement may increase your benefit rate up to 80%. To qualify, your net income should not exceed $25,921 per year.
Disability Tax Credit (DTC)
The disability tax credit (DTC) is a non-refundable tax credit that helps people with disabilities reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay. There are numerous mental and physical disabilities that can qualify you to receive this credit. You might be surprised to discover that you are actually eligible to claim this amount.
Go to this page to see the list of qualifying factors.
Canada Education Savings Grant
If you want the government to pitch in for your child’s future education, this grant can help. Basically, you need to register for your child’s Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and the government adds 20 cents on every dollar you contribute, up to a maximum of $500 on an annual contribution of $2,500. After high school, your child can withdraw the money to help pay for either full-time or part-time studies.
Learn how to open an RESP account here.
Sadly: Children Fitness Tax Credit and Arts Credit have been eliminated in 2017, so you can no longer claim it.
Provincial Grants & Benefits
Although most grants vary greatly province by province, there are some common benefits you can count on.
If you have been a stay-at-home mom, or make a very modest income, you can apply for Legal Aid in your province of residence. Legal Aid is a provincial program that can cover your legal fees in divorce, custody proceedings, and other legal services you might require.
Simply search online for Legal Aid in ____________ (insert your province in the search window). I suggest applying to Legal Aid immediately after you separate from your spouse. Some provinces have more generous Legal Aid available than others, but they can point you to some good free resources in any event.
There is a large variety of food assistance programs available in each province to single mothers. While getting food assistance might not be something you are comfortable with, it really helps and is a great help available to you and your children. Typically, provincial food assistance is available to single mothers via different local organizations.
Most provinces in Canada offer childcare subsidies. While the amount of financial assistance you will receive will vary depending on your province, this benefit is invaluable to all single moms. There is usually a wait to receive the childcare subsidy, so make sure to apply as soon as possible. If you are pregnant, you can still begin your inquiry about childcare subsidy early on, as you will need to go back to work eventually.
Personal Counseling and Therapy
Each province offers special programs to assist individuals with counseling and psychotherapy. To find programs available to you, search online for your provincial Health Authority website. YWCAs in various provinces (see below) often have group and individual counseling resources available to single mothers.
YWCA is an organization that provides a wealth of information, resources, and assistance to single mothers. Their mission is to be a turning point for women, and they are equipped with up-t0-date information about legal issues, shelters, child care, employment assistance, and more! Under some programs, they also can provide you with a free fitness pass to their facilities.
I highly suggest connecting with your local YWCA if you just become a single mother and/or fleeing an abusive relationship.
Housing and Rental Assistance
As a single mother, you might be eligible for a subsidized housing benefit available in most provinces. Yes, the wait might take a while but the cost of this housing is extremely affordable and will help you live in a much bigger space with your children for a fraction of the market cost.
Some provinces have pretty decent Rental Assistance programs. If your income meets the requirements, you might be able to receive financial assistance to pay for your rent. To see the list of housing benefits in various provinces, see my recent post “Housing For Single Mothers in Canada.”
I hope this list of benefits and grants for single mothers in Canada will be helpful to you. I am not ashamed to say that I used many of these programs, and they helped me to overcome an extremely difficult period in my life when I just became a single mother and was unemployed and totally unprepared. These programs were created because they recognize the difficulties single mothers face, and you will be amazed at how much help you can get while you are building your single-parent family up.[For additional grants in Ontario, check out my recent post here].
Hi! I was just wondering what year this blog post was posted, thanks.
Hi Rita, the post was published in 2019.
Hi! What help is there for Mothers that are in school and receiving OSAP which expires in April and school was cancelled but coarse was not finished because of Covic-19. this is a big stress for these Mothers who already have aniety. They didn’t work so they can’t apply for EI ?????
Hi Cathy, good question. Most schools have offered online training to students now, please check with your school. I think you might be eligible for a COVID-19 benefit if your school got cancelled, but you would need to call the OSAP and try applying for the benefit.
I could really use help with housing here is my story and why gf.me/u/y9qwf2 if any one has any advice about a way I can relate my big family of 5. You can email me any of you advice email@example.com. I really am in need of save cheep housing for me in my kids I any on the low income waiting list for everything from Napanee to Port Hope Ontario but were barely moving on the emergency list. I apply for a listing I see but because I pay rent where I am and we can only stay here for a year witch ends in may I need help any help even advice. I want to have a new place before my kids dad is out of jail in February or at the very least before I get kicked out in may
Dear Allison, it is so sad that many single mothers are struggling with affordable housing. It is true that low income housing lists take forever, so your best bet is to seek out a private rental. There are some good people out there and it is possible! At the same time, apply for rental assistance with your municipality and keep pressing on!
I just found this site and trying to find answers myself. I couldn’t help it but read your pos. It’s a year passed but I thought I should still reach out.
Our story could relate…
Years ago I was in a separate and things got worse right after I left him. I left with 3 kids and nothing else but left him with the house and everything in it so I can have peace. But things turned domestic and I couldn’t do it on my own so I turned to help. I was with “Woman’s Help Group”, “Children’s Aid”, Victim Protection Services” And my ex husband was in and out of jail for other reasons. But between me and him, we still waiting on trail for 3 years now. He can also serve jail time if he finds guilty of all the things he’s done to me.
My purpose for writing you this is to let you know that with all those things I went through, I was connected to those helpful groups which not only protected me from my ex but helped me connected to social helps and housing help. And if you went through domestic violence like myself, it should be easier and faster for your housing application to get approved.
I don’t think I can do this on my own, so remember always do as much research and ask for help, you might not always find the right place but they always connected you to someone else who can help.
I pray for you and everyone else like us.
I hope this helps, good luck with everything.
Thank you, Shan for sharing your experience with these groups. There is help, but you need to look for it and knock on their doors. Unfortunately, many of them are operating under the radar for women safety reasons.
Nina thank you for caring. Do you know any groups who help young moms obtain a used or voucher for a phone? I just met this young mom lives in Ontario Canada of three kids and she goes out without a phone and for safety purposes I care yet do not have the financial money myself to bring some kindness into her stressful life. She’s a nice person in a troubled situation. Thank you
I am a widow with 2 kids. I work 3 jobs to make ends meet. I am lucky enough to have kept one job during this pandemic but I cannot do my 2 part time jobs and of course do not qualify for any subsidies. I feel frustrated since a 2 parent family that lost one income would qualify.
Hi June, thanks for sharing and sorry to hear about your situation! Can you try to contract on the side if your other job permits to make up for the lost income? Additional boost to child benefit in May should help a little. For those whose children are older and are students they also get additional relief from the government paid to them instead of income.
Thank you for sharing these useful resources. I posted this article on my Facebook page. Would you be interested in partnership? You can find me on @singlemomonthemove
Hi Melissa, thanks for reaching out! Will connect with you on the Facebook.
Bonjour Nina. I am from France. I have an aunt who lives in Canada Toronto. She is a widow. Has a son and a daughter. Since she can’t write And read it’s quite difficult for her to ask help from people. Will you be kind enough to leave me a reply if there’s any help for monthly rent from government? Thank you in advance.
Hi Tashi, your aunt needs to apply to rent assist programs for low income families in Canada. It is possible! Other assistance depends on her income and the age of her children. If they are grown and not disabled then there is no additional support besides tax relief on low income and social assistance benefits. I hope this helps!
Hi. I was just wondering if you know of any financial assistance the gov’t would provide fir a single/widowed mom to go back to school?
Depending on your province, various grants and loans are available. It is best to check with the school you select as they have enrollment team to help with this.
Single parents in Manitoba who are attending (or plan to attend) the University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, or Red River College, qualify to apply for the Rise Above Bursary.
Rise Above is a registered Canadian charity, that provides a minimum of one bursary every year. (In 2020, however, there will likely be four bursaries awarded.)
Bursary applications for the 2020-2021 academic year are due JULY 31st. You can download the application at https://www.riseabovebursaries.ca/apply-now
Thanks for sharing!
I have a question. I am single mother of 2 kids. I dont work because i have lil kids, can i still get subsidy for kids.. beacuse sometimes i have to go to my lawyers appointments and consellor appointmwnts and i dont have anybody to look fter my kids.. so i have to take them with me all the time and its too difficult to handle kids on the appointments . Thnks
I don’t think there is a subsidy for appointments, but if you have Legal Aid or your counselor appointments are subsidized, you can ask about child care amount as well. It depends on who covers your appointments.
Hi, is there any grant program for single mothers for down payment and/or assistance to buy a house? Who to call?
Hi Niq, you might want to check out Rental Assistance in your province to help with housing. There is nothing to help with downpayment for the house, unless you want to move to one of the remote areas which sometimes offer such sibsidies.
This all information is beneficial. I just want To know how much i can get financial sport from government for surviving with my one 3 year old child.plz reply
In Canada, you get child benefit amount each month (amount varies depending on your financial situation). You can also reach out to local women support organizations to help with groceries, etc.
Hello, I recently became a widow and my son is only 3. I’ve never claimed benefits, I’m currently on CEWS from my employer. Would all these benefits also apply to me? Can I claim anything else as a widow?
Hi Shaz, the benefits should apply to you, but it also depends on the government assessment of your income and eligibility. You can claim all benefits though and get approved for whatever applies in your situation.
I am a single mother and I have been out of work for 10 years. all I need is to land a job but No one considers my application ( I apply for 100 jobs a week) because of the huge gap and outdated Education and etc.. How a single mom can get help to land a job?
Hi Sara, a good resource is an employment center in your province. They will help you with resume, job search and may other things to help you find a good job. Just keep sending your resume but make sure it is well written, and don’t give up!