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Canada's Social Programs

The primary objective of Canada's social programs is not only to support Canadians and permanent residents in need, but also to help citizens find good jobs, thus enabling them to participate in the economic activity of the country.

• Employment Insurance • Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement and Spouse's Allowance • Canada Child Tax Benefit
• Income Security • How to apply for a S.I.N. • Canada Child Tax Benefit • Guaranteed Income Supplement • Canada and Quebec Pension
• Employment Insurance

There are various social programs that will help you provide for yourself and your family, during certain conditions. Below are the beneficial programs you should know about, and may avail when you become a permanent resident of Canada.
Work in Canada
 Income Security 
Canadian governments at the federal, provincial and municipal level help people who are financially unable to provide for themselves and their families. Special programs are designed to help residents in different circumstances, such as:

• Raising Children
(Canada Child Tax Benefit)
• Retirement
(Canada Pension/Quebec Pension, Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement)
• Job-related Injuries
(Workers' Compensation)
• Loss of a Job
(Employment Insurance)
• Longer-term unemployment
(Social Assistance)

Most benefits are for people in specific circumstances. You must qualify for each type of government assistance. For some benefits, you must pay into the plan to be eligible to receive them.
Canada Benefits
 Child Tax Benefits 
The federal government provides monthly payments to parents or guardians on behalf of children under the age of 18, through a program called the Canada Child Tax Benefit. The amount varies depending on family income, number of children and their ages.

Who is eligible?

To be considered for the Child Tax Benefit, you must be the parent or guardian of the child who lives with you. You or your spouse must be either a:

• Canadian citizen
• Permanent resident
• Convention refugee in Canada whose refugee status has been confirmed by the Immigration and Refugee Board, or
• Visitor or holder of a Minister's Permit under the Immigration Act, who has lived at least 18 continuous months in Canada before applying for the Benefit
Retire in Canada
Security Pension & Income Supplement
The Old Age Security (OAS) pension is given to people 65 years and older who meet residence requirements. Those who have little or no other income may be eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). The spouse (between the ages of 60 and 64) of a low income or deceased pensioner may qualify for the Spouse's Allowance (SPA).

Who is eligible?

If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who has lived in Canada for 40 years after the age of 18, you are eligible for a full OAS pension. Peoplewho have lived in Canada for less than 40 years may get a reduced pension.

How to apply?

You can apply to a client Service Centre, Income Security Program Branch of Human Resources Development Canada. You will find these listed in the government pages of the telephone book. You will need a birth or baptismal certificate, passport or Canada Immigration visa (Record of Landing).
Canada Insurance
Canada Pension Plans
Canada Social Insurance
Employment Insurance
Social Assistance, often called welfare, helps people in need who are not eligible for other benefits. Benefit payments help pay for food, shelter, fuel, clothing, prescription drugs, and other health services. In some cases, you may be eligible for programs to train you for the work that is available.

Worker's Compensation - People injured while at work may be eligible to receive financial benefits, medical and rehabilitative services. The provincial Workers' Compensation Board offices decide if you qualify for compensation, based on medical reports and proof that your injury was work-related.

Medical Insurance - 
Every province has a taxpayer-funded health insurance program that provides inexpensive, high-quality health care.

Once covered under Medicare, you will receive a provincial health card with an identification number. Be sure to inform your insurance plan if you move, or if your family size or marital status changes as it may affect your coverage. Medicare covers medical services, including physician fees and hospital costs.
Pension Plan
Canada and Quebec Pension Plans are a form of insurance to which people must contribute during their working years, to receive monthly payments starting at age 65. These plans also include survivor's pensions for the spouses of deceased pensioners, disability pensions and children's and death benefits.

Who is eligible?

Canadian citizens, permanent
residents, visitors and holders of a Minister's Permit who have been legally admitted to Canada for one year, whose income that year was subject to Canadian income tax and who contributed to the plan. The amount paid out will depend on the total amount contributed.

How to apply?

You can apply to a Client Service Centre, Income Security Programs, Human Resources Development Canada. You will need a birth or baptismal certificate, passport or Canada Immigration visa (Record of Landing).
 Social Insurance Number
To qualify for any benefit, you must have a Social Insurance Number.

What is a Social Insurance Number (SIN)?
A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit identification number given to each person for use in the administration of various government programs. Most newcomers receive an application form for SIN when they first arrive in Canada. If you did not get one, you can apply at any Human Resource Centre of Canada (HRCC). You will need to show your birth certificate, Canada Immigration visa (Record of Landing) and passport.

How to apply for a S.I.N.

To be able to work in Canada, you are required to have a Social Insurance Number (SIN). You can apply for one at the port of entry (Canada Immigration Office) when you first arrive. If you have not done this:

1. Go to the nearest Canada Employment Centre
2. Take two pieces of identification such as your passport, immigration papers, or birth certificate. All documents must be in original copy.
3. A plastic card bearing your SIN and a paper card to keep as a record will be mailed to you in about five to eight weeks. Once you receive the card, immediately sign it, and keep it with you.
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