Eleven million Canadians are set to receive the federal government’s one-time “grocery rebate” on Wednesday as high food prices persist across the country.
The payment, which will arrive alongside July’s GST tax credit payment, was a signature item in the Liberals’ 2023 budget. Grocery rebate payments are being delivered by direct deposit or cheque through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
The rebate was introduced as a way to compensate Canadians for higher grocery prices due to inflation, though it can be spent on anything.
The rebate will be for low- and modest-income Canadians and families, the government has said: up to $467 for eligible couples with two children; $234 for single Canadians without children; and $225 for seniors, on average.
The federal government also provided a similar payment last fall in what it said was an effort to blunt the effect of high inflation on low and modest-income families.
Canada’s inflation rate slowed to 3.4 per cent in May, but grocery prices continue to rise rapidly, with prices up nine per cent compared with a year ago. A report by the Competition Bureau released last month found a lack of competition in the Canadian grocery industry is impacting food prices.
Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters in Toronto Wednesday the grocery rebate was never designed to “alleviate the entire impact of inflation.”
“The challenge in terms of economic policy, getting through this period of high inflation, has been that we’ve needed to strike a balance. On the one hand, it is so important to be compassionate, it is so important to understand that these are really hard times for a lot of people, and it is so important to provide the people who are facing the greatest challenges with targeted support,” she said.
“On the other hand, we have also understood from the very beginning that the way to get through this period of elevated inflation was to take a fiscally responsible approach, and it was really important for us not to make things worse, not to pour fuel on the flames of inflation by not being fiscally responsible, so that’s the balance that we have struck from the outset, and that’s what we’re continuing to do.”
There is no need to apply for the rebate. Individuals and families who were entitled to receive the GST/HST credit for January 2023 and who filed a tax return for 2021, even if they have no income to report for that year, can expect to receive the payment.
The amount received will be calculated based on “your family situation in January 2023 and your 2021 adjusted family net income,” the CRA said in a news release last week. The rebate will be issued automatically to Canadians whose household income is $38,000 or less, and individuals who make $32,000 or less.
However, the agency flagged that it is possible Canadians may be entitled to the Grocery Rebate, but not the July GST/HST credit or vice versa.
“The Grocery Rebate is calculated based on your 2021 tax return, but the next quarterly GST/HST credit payment in July 2023 is calculated based on your 2022 tax return,” the agency said.
The CRA also notes that if you received your GST/HST credit payment as a lump sum in July 2022, you will still receive a grocery rebate.
How do you plan to spend your grocery rebate? Let us know at email@example.com or in the form below, and we may reach out to you for future stories on how the rebate is impacting Canadians.
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