Managing your money responsibly will help you in many aspects of your life in Canada. Before you decide where you should stay, it is important that you have an idea of how much things like housing and food will cost.

Understanding the tax and banking system, and the different savings and insurance products that are available to you will help you make the most of your money. It isalso important that you be aware of popular scams so you can protect yourself and your money.

Banking

One of the first steps to managing your money effectively is to open a bank account.

Some major banks offer special services designed to meet the needs of recently arrived Canadians.

Banks, trust companies and credit unions will provide you with free information about their services and answer your questions. All you need to do is visit any bank in your area and ask about their services. No appointment is necessary. There are 5 major banks in Canada

You may want to rent a safety deposit locker to store such valuables as jewellery and important documents. Most banks offer this service for a fee.

Opening a Personal Bank Account

To open an account, you may be asked to provide identification and information about your residence, employment and credit history; however, you do not have to be employed to open a bank account, and no minimum deposit is necessary.

  • The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has information on how to open a personal bank account, including a list of identification you will need to open an account
  • The FCAC also provides information about Canadian financial products and services and your rights and responsibilities as a financial consumer
  • General information on banking services, including links to the major financial institutions, can be found at the Canadian Bankers Association

Other Resources

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada - has information on the things you need to know in your first few weeks of coming to Canada including managing your money and finances

Fraud protection

Common forms of fraud include mail and telemarketing schemes, door-to-door solicitation, personal fraud or identity theft. Many frauds involve theft of your personal information and may result in big losses or damage to your credit rating without you being aware of it.

Newcomers are especially vulnerable. Fraud criminals may operate within a specific ethnic group, preying on newcomers.

A general rule is that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam. Peel Regional Police has excellent information on fraud and scam prevention. 

Other Resources

How to avoid or recover from identity theft - provides information on what to do if you are a victim of identity theft and the steps you can take to keep your personal and financial information safe.

Immigration Fraud - provides information on what to be aware of when hiring an immigration representative to apply for a visa or a Canadian citizenship.

Settlement.Org - provides information for newcomers on consumer protection.

Ministry of Consumer and Government Services - can help you understand Ontario's consumer protection legislation and direct you to the right information

Personal credit

In Canada you may be asked to prove that you have a good credit history when renting, getting a job or buying a car. Credit history describes how you use money:

  • How many credit cards do you have?
  • How many loans do you have?
  • Do you pay your bills on time?

Your credit history from your home country does not come with you and you will have to start building a new credit rating in Canada. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a Canadian credit card. The bank where you choose to open a bank account can generally help you also get the right credit card.

In Canada, two large agencies – Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada – look at your financial history to give you a credit-rating number, also called a credit score. The higher your score, the better it is. Credit or consumer reporting has information on how to check your credit report, and on how to build and maintain your credit.

Saving

In many cases it will take new immigrants some time to get a job and to be financially secured. To help, we recommend you follow good saving tips.

  • Always compare prices before you make your purchase
  • You can price match on food items in most of the larger supermarkets
  • Save money on clothing and other items by shopping at second-hand stores
  • You can also save on transportation by walking, riding a bicycle or using public transit (if you need a car, be sure to look at buying a used car instead of a new one which is more costly)
  • Shop around before renting and use a reputable real estate agent when buying a house and remember that low cost housing is available
  • The Region of Peel has many settlement agencies that can help you find low-cost goods and free services

Beware of these High-Cost Financial Services

  • Pawn shops
  • Rent-to-own programs
  • Cheque-cashing outlets
  • Rapid-refund tax services

Bank Savings Options

Taxes

In Canada, it is very important that you file an income tax return every year. The deadline to submit your return is April 30th of each year.

You have to file your tax return every year to qualify for tax credit programs, get refunds or credits for the taxes you pay and ensure you have paid all applicable taxes to the government.

If you are filing your taxes for the first time in Canada, it is important to learn about how to file your first income tax return as a newcomer to Canada - filing taxes for your first year in Canada and the Canadian income tax system. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) provides information on:

According to CRA, after your first tax year in Canada, you are no longer considered a newcomer for tax purposes.

Free Tax Clinics

If you need help filing your income tax but cannot afford to hire an accountant there are resources to help you.

The Free Income Tax Clinics can help you complete your tax return for free if your tax return is not too complicated. For more information, call a community volunteer Income Tax Program representative at 1-800-959-8281 or contact Settlement Agencies to get a list of free tax clinic locations in Peel.

Contact Us