Need financial help with your home repairs or renovations?
If you or someone who lives in your home is a senior, then you have come to the right place. In today’s article, we are going to go over some of the best financial assistance programs in Canada for homeowners who are elderly.
Our comprehensive list belwill go over the details of each program as far as a general sense of how to apply and what benefits you can expect.
Benefits programs like the ones listed below can be an absolute game changer for the regular upkeep and maintenance that every home demands. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the best financial assistance programs for seniors.
Are You Considered a Senior?
In some provinces, the definition of senior is considered to be someone over 55. Other provinces define it as 65 or older. You must turn that age on the year of taxation and application to receive the grant for which you are applying. Be sure to keep this in mind for when you are applying to the different grants.
Are You a Veteran?
There are some incentives for veterans when it comes to making your home more comfortable. For instance, in the Northwest Territories, there is a Senior and Disabled Persons Property Tax Relief program.
Under their conditions, someone is considered a senior if they are 65 or older on the year of application for the tax relief and have a valid medical certificate (approved by the Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs) that states that you have a disruptive and/or prolonged disability.
This also extends to veterans. If you are a veteran who receives a pension or allowance of at least 50% under the War Veterans Allowance Act, then you are eligible for these programs.
Building Your Own Secondary Suite (aka “Granny” Suite)
Secondary suites (also known as “granny suites”) are becoming easier for homeowners to build with assistance from all levels of government: federal, provincial, and municipal.
Building a secondary suite is a great way to help seniors continue to live independently and be self-sufficient. Many families all across North America are looking at granny suites as the optimal solution to allowing an elderly parent to continue living independently all while being close to home, safety, and a trusted individual who can look after them. Take a look, learn, and decide if this seems like a good option for you or someone in your family.
What is a Secondary Suite?
credits to vaughan.ca
A secondary suite is defined as a separate space with its own entrance, bathroom, and kitchen facilities. It must have all parts of a home that make it whole.
While it might be attached to a primary and detached household, either on the side or as a basement, it still functions as an independent unit. And that is the purpose of the secondary suite: independence.
Many municipalities across the country are encouraging people to build secondary suites to help with the population growth and migration to certain cities throughout the country. For those of you who’ve been thinking of building their very own secondary suite, there are SO many discounts available. Even the federal government has a program, so if you claim First Nations status, you’re in luck!
This program is open to First Nations and First Nation members owning residential properties that want to create affordable, self-contained rental accommodation (secondary, granny, or garden suites) within their primary residence.
Eligible households can receive fully forgivable loans that do not have to be repaid as long as you stick to the conditions of the program, such as renting the suite to low-income tenants. The most you can get is $60,000 per unit unless you live in a northern or remote community. In that case, the amount increases by 25%.
Here are six incentives throughout Ontario for building and repairing secondary suites.
- Prince Edward-Lennox-Addington County Secondary Suites Grant
- Niagara Secondary Suites Program
- Simcoe Secondary Suites Program
- Peel Renovates Second Units
- Kingston Secondary Suite Affordable Housing Grant Program
- Town of The Blue Mountains Secondary Suite Grant
The grants are given in the form of a grant or forgivable loan.
The incentive is to build or repair a secondary suite. For instance, the Peel Renovates Second Units is a grant only to RENOVATE a secondary suite. Here’s more information: Peel Renovates Second Units.
Homeowners can apply for the grant or loan. Note that funding is not given to those who want to increase the value and overall look of their house. The purpose of the funding is to improve health, accessibility, and safety.
Eligible renovations in the suite include aspects such as fire safety, structure, electric, plumbing, and heating.
If your gross household income is too high, then unfortunately you won’t qualify for funding. For example, household annual income for the Peel Renovates Second Units must be $87,800 or less. You also need to ensure your taxes and mortgageare paid and up-to-date to qualify.
These programs were created to provide safe, quality housing for everyone, especially those most in need of it.
The following provinces have incentives to help build and repair secondary suites, as well as other programs to save seniors money and improve their quality of life:
ALBERTA SENIORS HOMEOWNER GRANTS
- The City of Edmonton provides grants to help homeowners build or repair secondary suites. Eligible homeowners can receive up to $20,000 as long as they live in the home, rent to someone under the maximum income limit, keep their taxes up to date, and sign and agree to the terms of a 5-year operating agreement.
- Even if you aren’t a homeowner but are a tenant, the Alberta government has your back too. This program provides a subsidy paid directly to low-income seniors renting their primary residence to help with rental costs. The amount is based on the difference between 30% of household income and an agreed upon market rent.
- This program applies if your household income is less than $75,000, you own at least 25% equity in your home, and you or partner is 65 or older. If this sounds like you, you could get a loan of up to $40,000 to make renovations to your primary residence.
- If you’re over 65 and have at least 25% equity in your home, the Alberta government will pay your residential property tax on your behalf. You repay the loan, with interest, when you sell the home, or sooner if you choose.
- Alberta recognizes that quality of life can decrease as we age, so the provincial government created this program to assist seniors with some of the cost of appliances and certain health and personal supports.A single senior with a total annual income of $27,300 or less or a senior couple with a total combined annual income of $44,335 or less can qualify to receive up to $5,000/year.
Programs like these allow seniors to either remain near their families while still living on their own or to downsize to more easily take care of themselves.
- Seniors who have lived in Alberta for 10 years and are receiving OAS and GIS can qualify for this monthly benefit in addition to their federal income benefits.
- After you fill out an application, you could qualify if you are a single senior with an annual income of $27,300 or less or a senior couple with a combined annual income of $44,335 or less.
- The Community Warmth Program helps low-income Medicine Hat Utility customers facing financial difficulties out of their control who have received a disconnection notice.
- Eligible low-income families and individuals can get transit passes at 50% off through the Low Income Access Program.
- You can also take part in the Low Income Recreation Access Program, which aims to allow low-income residents access to recreation centres. Though this program is currently under review, you can still get a 10-punch pass to Eastlink Centre. Check their website often to see the new program guidelines.
- You can get a low interest loan for your primary residence and over 55 or a person with disabilities or are the surviving spouse.
- You qualify if you are a senior and/or a person with a disability living in British Columbia or if you are living with a family member who is a senior or a person with a disability.
- Get up to $1,000 in tax credits for renovations to improve safety and accessibility. The grant is not applicable to such things as making roof repairs or improving the aesthetics of the house.
- If you live in Rural British Columbia and pay your property tax directly to the province and not a municipality, you are eligible for a reduction in property tax. If you are a senior, you can receive a reduction of $845 for a primary residence valued up to $1.6 million in the Capital Regional District, Greater Vancouver Regional District, and the Fraser Valley and a reduction of $1,045 in all other areas.
- While you don’t need to be a senior to take advantage of this program, many seniors live on a fixed and/or low income. And saving money and energy is always helpful. This service is open to residents in participating towns or municipalities.
- It provides a free home energy audit, personalized energy-efficiency advice, and energy saving product installation including efficient lightbulbs, high-efficiency showerheads and weather-stripping. You may even qualify to receive an ENERGY STAR® refrigerator, insulation in walls, attic, and/or crawlspace, and/or a high-efficiency gas furnace.
This program is for those with a low income.
- If you’re a senior in Kamloops, you can register to have your garden refuse picked up once in the spring (April and May) and once in the fall (September and October) and have volunteers come to your house to clear snow for you.
If you have a qualifying income, you could also be eligible to receive a free home energy evaluation and energy-saving products provided you have one of the following utility accounts:
- BC Hydro
- New Westminster
- Nelson Hydro
MANITOBA SENIORS HOMEOWNER GRANTS
Receive up to 50% of the construction and/or costs of repair or $35,000 in the form of a forgivable loan.
If you are a homeowner and applying for the loan to build a secondary suite, you must LIVE in the single detached unit yourself. It should be your primary residence, not a second (or third) home. Your primary dwelling must also meet the minimum requirements of health and safety standards of Manitoba.
The loan is forgivable after 10 years as long as you continue to follow the terms laid out in the agreement that must be signed upon project approval. Some of the terms include ensuring that the rent stays at or below the maximum allowable rental rate and that utilities are included in the rent.
Manitoba encourages you to apply to help allow yourself, or another senior, to continue to live independently and comfortably!
Manitoba also offers a tax rebate for those 55 and over who own their own home or are responsible for the payment of school tax on their principal residence. If your income is below $40,000, you can get the full rebate, depending on the school tax paid. Those over 55 can receive $175 and those over 65 can receive $470. You cannot apply for the rebate if your family net income is more than $63,500.
You may also qualify for a $1,400 annual tax credit if you have acted as primary caregiver for a family member, neighbour, or friend for a minimum of 90 days.
If your household has a low income but you would like to improve your energy efficiency, Manitoba Hydro will do a free inspection to let you know what upgrades are available to you.
Through this program, you could receive free insulation, a natural gas furnace for $9.50 a month for 5 years, and/or a $3,000 rebate for the purchase of a high-efficiency natural gas boiler.
You will even receive these free energy-efficient items after your inspection:
- Low-flow showerheads
- LED bulbs
- Faucet aerator
Both homeowners and landlords qualify for this program. Renters are welcome to participate, but any costs and rebates will belong to the landlord.
NEW BRUNSWICK SENIORS HOMEOWNER GRANTS
In New Brunswick, if you own and live in a home that needs repairs and you are a senior with a low income, this program can help you.
This forgivable loan can assist with costs up to $20,000, with a maximum of $10,000 for repairs and the other $10,000 specifically for “disabled accessible items.” Seniors can qualify for up to $5,000.
Landlords are eligible for a forgivable loan for disabled modifications to a maximum of $10,000.
This program is funded by both the provincial and federal governments.
Eligible seniors (over 65) can apply for a deferral of the annual increase in property taxes on their principal residence to help offset their living costs.
All you have to do to receive this $400 monthly payment is be a senior over 65 and in receipt of OAS benefits from the federal government and send in an application form.
Seniors 65 and over, regardless of income, could qualify for a tax credit to help with the cost of making their home safer and more accessible. Simply claim this tax credit for eligible renovation expenses on your tax return, and you could get 10% of the costs you claim up to a maximum of $10,000.
Newfoundland & Labrador SENIORS HOMEOWNER GRANTS
This is a refundable tax credit for seniors who have a low income. The benefit is based on family net income from the previous year. To qualify, a person must be 65 years of age by December 31 of the taxation year. No application is required, but seniors must file an income tax return.
This provincial program will help households with low income make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes. Eligible homeowners can receive a grant of up to $3,000 per unit on the island and up to $4,000 per unit in Labrador.
Senior homeowners with low- to moderate-incomes who require accessibility changes to their residences to promote independence, self-reliance, and a better quality of life and to remain in their own homes longer could qualify for this forgivable loan of up to $7,500 or a payable loan up to $10,000 ($13,000 in Labrador).
NORTHWEST TERRITORIES SENIORS HOMEOWNER GRANTS
We already know most of Canada is cold most of the year, but if you live in the Northwest Territories, cold takes on a new meaning! But if you’re a senior over the age of 60, the territorial government will help you stay warm by paying a sizable portion of your heating bill.
After you complete an initial application, if you’re a senior receiving Old Age benefits or Spouse’s Allowance from the federal government, you can receive an automatic monthly benefit of $196.00 in addition to your current benefits to help with your living costs.
The NWT government has a tax relief program in place for seniors and those with a disability so individuals can hopefully pay less or no taxes. The amount of tax relief you receive depends on the type of property you own or occupy, and you must apply every year.
NOVA SCOTIA SENIORS HOMEOWNER GRANTS
These programs apply to folks who want to remain in their home, who are 65 and over, and who can’t afford repairs. These incentives aim to help people remain independent and self-sufficient in their homes.
These repairs are for practical health and safety issues, which include repairs to roofing, plumbing, and heating and do not cover cosmetic repairs in the home.
Eligible seniors must show that they are of low income and that they’ve lived in their house for over a year, and they must agree to remain in their home for at least another 6 months after the project is completed.
The Emergency Repair Program helps low-income homeowners in rural areas pay for emergency repairs so they can continue to safely live in their homes. You can receive a grant of up to $7,000 for such eligible repairs as these:
- Heating systems
- Doors and Windows
- Roofs, walls, floors, and ceilings
- Vents, louvres
- Electrical systems
Contact Housing Nova Scotia at 1-844-424-5110 for more information.
This additional program administered by Housing Nova Scotia helps homeowners make emergency repairs to their homes. Eligible homeowners can receive a forgivable loan up to $6,500 to help cover the costs of materials and labour.
Contact Housing Nova Scotia at 1-844-424-5110 for more information.
Does your home require major repairs? If you qualify for this program and agree to stay in your home for 10 years, you can get funding to repair any of the following structural areas of your home:
- Heating System
- Fire Safety
- Electrical systems
The amount of funding you can get is dependent on a variety of factors, so call Housing Nova Scotia at 1-844-424-5110 to apply and get more information.
The Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program is funded by both the federal and provincial governments and helps low-income homeowners ensure that their home meets minimum health and safety levels.
Low-income homeowners can receive $18,000 as a forgivable loan to complete the necessary renovations. After 5 years, the loan is forgiven.
These are eligible health and safety categories:
- Heating System
- Fire Safety
- Electrical systems
You may even qualify to receive financial assistance for overcrowding, so if that is an issue for you, mention it in your application. Call Housing Nova Scotia at 1-844-424-5110 for more information or to apply.
If you are a Nova Scotian senior and would like to stay in your home but can’t afford the necessary repairs to roofing, plumbing, or heating, Housing Nova Scotia is ready to give you a grant of up to $6,500 to cover these costs.
Designed to help with the rising cost of home energy, this Service Nova Scotia rebate is automatically applied to your power bill for most people (those homes fueled by home-delivered oil, propane, firewood, and natural gas). Those with homes powered by other energy sources, such as kerosene, coal, and wood pellets need to apply. The rebate you receive is equal to the provincial portion of the HST on your bill.
Clean Foundation and Efficiency Nova Scotia are working together to make the homes of low-income homeowners warm and comfortable. Eligible homeowners can have a free energy assessment done, and depending on the results, they will provide all the necessary upgrades at no cost to you. This program is funded by the provincial government and Nova Scotia Power. Call 1-877-434-2136 or go online for more information or to apply.
Low-income seniors (over 65) and people with a disability who live in a single dwelling home (as opposed to an apartment or condo) can access this snow removal program that will clear the snow from your walks, steps, and ramps. Simply contact the City of Halifax for more information.
NUNAVUT SENIORS HOMEOWNER GRANTS
Senior Citizens Home Repair Program
Seniors who have lived in Nunavut for at least 2 years, are over the age of 60, have qualifying incomes, and who need to repair and/or adapt their homes to ensure their continued safe occupancy, and/or to assist with difficulties they encounter with daily living activities, are eligible to receive a grant of to $15,000.
Nunavut gives annual grants of $3,000 for those in need to aid with the maintenance of a house, including minor repairs.
The idea is to make all homes in Canada as safe, accessible, and affordable as possible for those who need it.
If you need help with minor repairs in your home and are a citizen of Nunavut, you are encouraged to apply!
Nunavut has an agreement with the federal government that automatically includes the $175.00 monthly SCSB benefit payment with the monthly Old Age Security payment. All you have to do is make sure you file your taxes and fill out your application form each year.
ONTARIO SENIORS HOMEOWNER GRANTS
If you are a senior or a person with a disability and considered low-income (household income of $39,000 or less), this Ottawa program will give you up to $250 (urban) or $500 (rural) for home snow removal.
For those who have a medical need and could use a little helping hand, Home Support Services provides help with light housekeeping to eligible low-income residents who have little or no supports in the community.
If you are a senior, a person with a disability and considered low-income (household income of $ 41,788 or less), and have owned a property continuously for at least a year, you are eligible to have all or some of your property tax deferred.
This applies to you if your only residence is valued at or less than the limit set out by your city. Seniors who own a home that needs to be repaired or modified to improve safety and accessibility can apply for the Ontario Renovates Program. Grant amounts and program availability varies throughout the province.
The City of Toronto will freeze property taxes for low-income seniors (receiving GIS) and people with disabilities (receiving benefits) who have a combined household income of $39,380 or less and who own a home valued at less than $850,000.
This program gives low-income seniors (receiving GIS) with a combined household income of $50,000 or less and low-income people with a disability (receiving benefits) the chance to apply to delay their property tax increases.
Provincial Land Tax Deferral Program for Low-Income Seniors and Low-Income Persons with Disabilities
This program from the provincial government is for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities. It must be for your primary residence and you must have been living there for at least a year.
You can receive a rebate of up to $500 a year if your household income is less than $50,000. You must be also be 64 or older, a resident of Ontario, and living in and owning your primary residence.
Part of the Ontario Trillium Benefit, this credit helps low- to moderate?income individuals with property taxes and the sales tax on energy. Seniors can receive up to $1,187, and if you live on a reserve or in a public long-term care home, you can receive up to $232.
This program is an application program for a reduction in energy bills.The rebate pays 10% of your electricity bill towards your utility bill and is based upon household income. For example, a family of four making less than $39,000 could receive a $51 in credit on their monthly energy bills.
This is a program that you will find within all Ontario utility companies and helps on a few different levels. Here’s how you can use it:
- Receive emergency financial assistance (up to $500 for electricity or gas bills and up to $600 if your home is heated electrically)
- Have the security deposit waived
- Ask for any security deposit you paid back
- Ask for a disconnection grace period of up to 21 days
- Ask for equalized billing without paying by automatic withdrawal
If you are a low-income senior, or a low-income person with a disability, and you use less than 400 cubic metres of water, you are eligible for this program.
Let’s face it: we all go through tough times. This fund allows low-income Toronto residents, not receiving Ontario Works or ODSP—regardless of immigration status— who are in arrears or have received a disconnection notice, receive help from the City of Toronto with energy-related emergencies to reconnect, prevent disconnection, or assist in paying energy arrears for hydro, gas, or oil services.
In the same way as the provincial LEAP program, this provides a one-time grant of up to $500 (per year) to eligible customers having difficulty paying past due electricity bills. It is not intended to provide regular or ongoing bill payment assistance, however.
One of many tax assistance programs, this program allows eligible low-income seniors or low-income people with disabilities to defer tax increases.
As part of the City’s effort to assist low-income seniors, this program provides an $186 property tax rebate to qualifying seniors whose homes are valued below $409,200.
This last tax assistance program helps those who should not have to worry about things like taxes. Compassionate Appeals are for people who wish to receive a tax reduction due to extreme sickness or poverty.
Even if you live outside of those three cities, there are other programs offered from municipal governments aimed at helping seniors. Below are more communities that also offer known rebates, grants, and/or tax rebates, credits, or deferrals. Check your community’s website to see what may be available.
|Brampton||Norfolk County||Brantford||North Bay|
|Chatham-Kent||Sarnia||Clarington||Sault Ste. Marie|
|Halton Hills||Thunder Bay||Kawartha Lakes||Vaughn|
For low-income homes that qualify (for example, a family of four’s income must be less than $61,028), you can receive new appliances and other conservation devices and products and have them installed for free.
This would include everything from lightbulbs to bigger items such as programmable thermostats or window air conditioners.
This program will give you a free insulation upgrade to prepare you for the winter.
You qualify if you are a low-income (a four-person household can have a maximum income of $62,588 or less) homeowner, your house was built before 1975 and needs more insulation, and you are a Union Gas customer.
If you have a modest- or low-income (a four-person household can have a maximum income of $43,546) and meet a few other qualifications, Toronto Hydro will supply and install energy-efficient upgrades, free of charge, such as a refrigerator, freezer, or lightbulbs, among other things, to save money and make your home more comfortable.
Qualifying low-income HydroOne customers can receive free energy-efficient upgrades that can make your home more comfortable and save you money.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND SENIORS HOMEOWNER GRANTS
This program applies to citizens 65 and over to help lower their cost of living. So if you’re a senior with an annual household income of less than $35,000, you are eligible to receive a deferral of the property taxes due on your primary residence.
Applicants who are approved will continue to receive a tax bill, but they will also receive a certificate proving they are no longer required to pay the taxes. Download an application and then send your application, along with your tax return, in by mail.
You qualify for this program if you’re over 60 and have a yearly net household income of $35,000 or less.
You could receive up to 50% of the cost, to a maximum of $2,000, to assist with eligible repairs such as roofs, windows and doors, or furnaces that require essential repairs to help with the health and safety of the house.
Applicants should send two estimates of the total work cost when they send in the application form.
Assistance is available for seniors who need to make changes to their home to improve their safety and accessibility so they can continue to live in their home independently. Applicants must be 60 or over and have an annual income of $50,000 or less. The amount received is based on household income.
QUEBEC SENIORS HOMEOWNER GRANTS
Seniors (over 70) who incur expenses for the purchase, lease, or installation of certain eligible equipment or fixtures designed to maintain your independence may be entitled to a 20% refundable tax credit. Seniors who stayed somewhere else for re-education and rehabilitation may also qualify for this credit. The first $500 is not eligible however.
Sometimes property values can increase even though we take no action to bring this about. When this happens, seniors on a limited income can find themselves unable to pay the associated municipal tax increase. This program helps low-income seniors (65+) who have owned their home for more than 15 years to offset this cost. To apply, download the form and enclose it when you file your annual tax return.
Éconologis is an energy-efficiency program for low-income households that allows households to take advantage of free individualized advice to learn how to save energy and money—and even have electronic thermostats installed free of charge. The program runs from October to March every year.
Do you need a little extra help with home services such as housekeeping, meal preparation, clothing maintenance, etc.? You may be eligible for financial assistance to reduce your domestic help service costs.
Eligible seniors can get funding to make life a little easier and more enjoyable. The amount you could receive is dependent on your household income.
All seniors aged 65 or over who live in Ville de Laval may receive the grant—if they meet the eligibility criteria. Get $100 if you live in a home occupied by someone 65 or over or $200 if you one or more people living in the home are over 65 AND receiving GIS. You must apply yearly to receive this grant.
The deadline for this grant is April this year.
If you are a low-income homeowner and a Gazifère customer, you could be eligible to receive double the assistance you already receive from a Gazifère energy-efficiency program. For example, the income of a family of four must be below $45,272.
SASKATCHEWAN SENIORS HOMEOWNER GRANTS
For homeowners or rental property owners interested in creating or legalizing secondary suites to help supplement your income or to provide an affordable place for a senior to live independently, this program is for you!
Jointly funded by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, you can get a forgivable loan for up to 50% of the total construction or renovation costs for the secondary suite. This amounts to a cap of $10,000 to develop a new suite or up to $30,000 to develop or renovate a suite in an existing property.
You can get a rebate of up to 25% to repair an old secondary suite or up to 100% rebate on building and plumbing permits related to building a secondary suite.
If you are a low-income senior, ($26,748 for a household of two) you can defer all or part of your property and library taxes for the year.
Your application is due at the end of October, each year, and the new application and eligibility requirements will be available by June of each year.
The City of Regina wants to create more affordable housing options in the city. Qualifying homeowners building secondary suites can apply for a tax exemption if they apply while construction is ongoing and they agree to rent to those within set income levels. Other eligibility requirements exist, so check their brochure for more information.
YUKON SENIORS HOMEOWNER GRANTS
This grant was created in 1978 in the Yukon to help seniors with the high cost of heating their homes in the winter. Applicants must meet the following criteria:
- You can either rent or own the house you are paying to heat.
- You have to have been living in the Yukon for the last 6 months, with 3 of these months being in the winter (so no snowbirds!).
- You must be at least 65 years old.
- You must provide proof that you own the house or produce a tenant’s bill if you are renting the house.
For those over 65 who ordinarily reside in the Yukon, you are automatically eligible to receive a benefit from the government of between $10 and $253.25 a month. No application is necessary.
Whitehorse runs a program aimed at helping seniors who living independently but have difficulty maintaining their house or yard or paying commercial rates for basic home and yard upkeep. This program matches seniors with basic home and yard maintenance needs with community residents registered to provide these services.
Hopefully you found this informative and a little fun to read! There is a lot of information out there that we have compiled for you, so we encourage you to take a look through our website rather than spending hours combing through the internet.
The point of these particular incentives is to help people stay in the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible and to help ease the cost of living.
Now you know how many incentives can be applied for to help senior Canadians live a full life as homeowners or tenants in safe, accessible, and affordable housing. We hope this list is a helpful guide that will allow you to ease some of the stress that can come with regular upkeep of your home.
Happy learning, repairing, and saving!