Financial management should be a top focus before you move to Grande Prairie and as you settle in. Here is a brief overview of what to keep in mind:
Opening a bank account:
Everyone is eligible to open a new bank account in Canada, even if you are not employed, do not have a large sum to deposit or if you've previously declared bankruptcy. To open an account you must provide a Social Insurance Number and two government-issued pieces of photo identification. Each institution may also have their own eligibility requirements.
Before you open an account, do your research to see which account at which bank best suits your needs. To help you with this decision, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has created an Account Selector Tool to compare options. Some banks offer accounts and services specific for newcomers to Canada. Each account has different fees for usage and interest rates earned on your money; consider this information when exploring options.
Chequing Accounts: A chequing account is for regular, routine spending. It is required for your employer to deposit your paycheques. Use this account to manage your regular incoming deposits and outgoing expenses.
Savings Accounts: A savings account is designed to store your money to be used for a larger purchase at a later date or to earn interest. There are both general savings accounts and specialized savings accounts such as:
- Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) to save for retirement
- Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) to save for a child's education
- Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs) to save for the financial security of a family member with disabilities
- Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) to save for the future
Once you open an account, you will receive a debit card. This card allows you to make payment for purchases without using cash. The funds are deducted directly from whichever account you use. You may also receive cheques which allow you to write individual, paper-copy payments for things such as bills. However, cheques are not widely used anymore.
Using and building credit
Credit can be used to help manage personal finances, especially for larger items such as a house or car. Talk to your financial institution about applying for a credit card for a convenient and simple way to make everyday purchases. There are many benefits to using credit, but be sure to educate yourself on the responsibilities and risks involved so you can build smart usage habits.
Money transfer services
Many newcomers wish to send money overseas to their friends and family once they have immigrated. Each financial institution will have different options available to provide this service, such as Visa Direct or Interac e-transfer. In order to use these services, the individuals you are sending to must also have their own bank account. If the receiving party does not have a bank account, you may consider using other money transfer services.
To make your banking easier and more convenient, banks offer online banking services. This allows you to do simple, everyday banking tasks such as checking your balance and account history, transferring money or paying bills. Check out the options at your chosen bank to see what websites and apps are available to manage your finances right at your fingertips.
Financial advisory services
Talking to a financial advisor can help you develop a financial plan to meet your goals. Services are also available specifically for newcomers to help you set yourself up for success when it comes to money management.
The Government of Alberta offers a variety of financial assistance programs to help assist individuals and families who need extra supports. Available supports include:
- Alberta Child Benefit
- Canada Child Benefit
- Health insurance, benefits and funding
- Income support service standards
- Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit
- Disability services and support
- Housing and rent assistance
- Alberta Works
- Financial support for workforce training
- Income support
- Seniors financial assistance programs
Explore these options and see if you are eligible by visiting the Government of Alberta webpage.
Taxes are collected at the federal, provincial and municipal level.
Income tax is deducted off of every paycheque by both the provincial and federal government. In Canada, income tax is progressive with higher income earners paying a higher tax rate than lower income earners. The federal tax rates for 2017 are as follows:
- 15% on the first $45,916 of taxable income
- 20.5% on the next $45,915 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $45,916 up to $91,831)
- 26% on the next $50,522 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $91,831 up to $142,353)
- 29% on the next $60,447 of taxable income (on the portion of taxable income over $142,353 up to $202,800)
- 33% of taxable income over $202,800.
Alberta's income tax is deducted on a flat-rate.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a tax of 5% added to retail sales. Some provinces also have a Harmonised Sales Tax (HST) or a Provincial Sales Tax (PST) but Alberta does not.
Taxes are collected by cities through a Property Tax based off of an assessment of your property's values. Visit the City of Grande Prairie's Assesment and Taxation department for more information.