Some Canadians can apply for a one-time rent top up starting Monday. Here’s what to know – National

Some Canadians can apply for a one-time rent top up starting Monday. Here’s what to know – National

In a bid to help tackle skyrocketing rents across the country, the government of Canada will be opening applications Monday for a one-time top-up as part of the Canada Housing Benefit (CHB) program — an initiative that would put $500 in the pockets of low-income renters.

This comes amid an ongoing increase in renting costs. According to’s November 2022 Rent Report, the average October rent price across the country was $1,976 per month, which it said was an annual increase of 11.8 per cent.

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“I think the most important thing is to understand there are Canadians out there who are really hurting … what we’re doing with these specific measures is targeting those most vulnerable, those most hard-hit by increases in inflation,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters back in September.

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Trudeau announced the one-time top-up as he unveiled the federal government’s spending plans that month — plans that were built on commitments made in the federal budget earlier in 2022.

Here’s what to know about the program.

What does the one-time CHB offer?

According to the government of Canada, the one-time top-up would “consist of a tax-free payment of $500 to provide direct support to low-income renters.”

Canadians would receive this payment once from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the government notes.

“You do not need to receive other housing benefits such as the Canada Housing Benefit, which is co-funded and delivered by the provinces and territories,” the government says on its website.

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Are you eligible for CHB?

The benefit will be available for renting families with a net income of less than $35,000 a year, or renting individuals making less than $20,000, according to a government statement on their website.

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The benefit is expected to go to roughly 1.8 million Canadian renters, including students, the statement adds.

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For Canadians who rent and fall under the stated income amounts, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will deliver the money using an “attestation-based application process,” according to the finance department’s website. The attestation would require Canadians to:

  • Spend at least 30 per cent of their adjusted net income on shelter
  • Pay rent for their own primary residence in Canada
  • Consent to the CRA verifying this information

Those eligible must also be born on or before Dec. 1, 2007 and be a resident of Canada in 2022 for tax purposes.

The CRA will also verify the applicant’s income, age, and residency — and in order to get the cheque, Canadians will have to file their 2021 tax return, the government website notes.

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Canadians who qualify can apply starting Monday, but they would need to have certain information on hand before doing so, the government of Canada website says.

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  • To start with, they would need to gather all their rental information, including the addresses of their principal residences in Canada in 2022, the total rent paid in the 2022 calendar year for those residences, and the name and contact information of landlords.
  • They would also need to have access to CRA My Account, which is the “fastest way to apply” for the benefit, according to the website.
  • And finally, they would need to set up a direct deposit.

The application portal will be open until March 31, 2023.

— With files from Rachel Gilmore and Amanda Connolly 

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