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Canadians are fortunate to have a publicly funded health care system, in which most major medical expenses are covered by provincial health care plans. Such plans are not, however, comprehensive, and there is consequently a large (and growing) number of medical and para-medical costs — including dental care, prescription drugs, physiotherapy, ambulance trips, and many others — which must be paid for on an out-of-pocket basis by the individual. In some cases, such costs are covered by private insurance, usually provided by an employer, but not everyone benefits from such coverage. Self-employed individuals, those working on contract, or those whose income comes from several part-time jobs do not usually have access to such private insurance coverage. Fortunately for those individuals, our tax system acts to help cushion the blow by providing a medical expense tax credit to help offset out-of-pocket medical and para-medical costs which must be incurred.


Working from home — and certainly work from home arrangements on the scale experienced over the past 19 months — would not be practically possible without the use of technology. And of all the available technology, cell phones and internet service are the two essentials without which work-from-home arrangements almost literally can’t function.


Throughout the pandemic, the federal government has provided businesses with a number of support programs, some of which operated to subsidize the wage and rental costs of those businesses. Some of those programs were scheduled to expire on November 20, 2021; however, in its most recent announcement made October 21, 2021, the federal government indicated that one program — the Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP) — would be extended, possibly until July 2, 2022. In addition, two new programs will be implemented to address the needs of businesses in sectors particularly hard hit by the pandemic. The affected programs are as follows.


Since the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) replaced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) just over a year ago, more than 2 million individual Canadians have applied for the CRB, a benefit which paid $900 (pre-tax) per week until July 17 of this year, and $600 (pre-tax) per week thereafter. For the most recent benefit period for which figures are available (September 12-25, 2021), 821,560 Canadians received the CRB. In total, just over $27 billion in CRB amounts have been issued by the federal government since October 2020.


Two quarterly newsletters have been added—one dealing with personal issues, and one dealing with corporate issues.


The ongoing pandemic has, as one of its many effects, created a boom in the home renovation industry, as Canadians find themselves needing to adapt their homes to more and more varied uses.


In most cases, the need to seek out and obtain legal services (and to pay for them) is associated with life’s more unwelcome occurrences and experiences — a divorce, a dispute over a family estate, or a job loss. About the only thing that mitigates the pain of paying legal fees (apart, hopefully, from a successful resolution of the problem that created the need for legal advice) would be the ability to claim a tax credit or deduction for the fees paid.


Since March of 2020, tens of millions of Canadians have received pandemic benefits. In some cases, those benefits have been received directly by individuals — typically, through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and, later, the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB). In other cases, benefits have been provided to businesses, in some cases to assist them with rent payments or, in others, to subsidize employee wages.


Most Canadians know that the deadline for making contributions to one’s registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) comes 60 days after the end of the calendar year, around the end of February. There are, however, some circumstances in which an RRSP contribution must be (or should be) made by December 31, in order to achieve the desired tax result.


The start of the calendar year also marks the beginning of the tax year for individuals and consequently most tax changes are scheduled to take effect as of January 1 of each year. However, the federal and provincial budgets are brought down in the late winter and spring, and those budgets can include announcements of tax changes which will take effect later in the year (often, but not exclusively, on July 1, being halfway through the tax year). As well, where a change in tax rates, credits, or income brackets announced in the budgets is made effective as from the beginning of the tax and calendar year, individuals will first notice that change when their payroll withholdings are adjusted starting in July.


For several generations, reaching one’s 65th birthday marked the transition from working life to full retirement, and, usually, receipt of a monthly employee pension, along with government-sponsored retirement benefits. That is no longer the reality. The age at which Canadians retire can now span a decade or more, and retirement is more likely to be a gradual transition than a single event.


It’s something of an article of faith among Canadians that, as temperatures rise in the spring, gas prices rise along with them. Whether that’s the case every year or not, this year statistics certainly support that conclusion. In mid-May, Statistics Canada released its monthly Consumer Price Index, which showed that gasoline prices were up by 14.2%. As of the third week of May, the per-litre cost of gas across the country ranged from 125.2 cents per litre (in Manitoba) to 148.5 cents per litre (in British Columbia). On May 23, the average price across Canada was 135.2 cents per litre, an increase of more than 25 cents per litre from last year’s average on that date.