Teamwork to Boost Income ...and Health!

tax review

As people improve their income, their health improves. But if people are not filing an annual income tax return, they are potentially losing out on a large number of benefits they are entitled to, which could substantially increase their income.

“Research has shown that people with lower incomes have a higher incidence than people who have higher incomes – often double the rate of almost every chronic health condition, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis and mental illness,” says Healthy Living Facilitator, Sabrina Turgeon. “People living in poverty often can’t afford good, healthy food that would prevent some of these chronic conditions. They often live in poor living conditions, may not be able to afford transportation and have less access to the health care system.”

Although many people think that because they have no or very low income they don’t need to file income tax, not filing means no benefits and as the example below shows it can make a significant difference in annual income.

Example 1

A single parent, 2 children ages 2 & 4, living in private rental market, employed part time with annual employment income $15,000


  • GST Refundable Credit - $842
  • Canada Child Benefits - $12,800
  • Working Income Tax Benefit - $1,844
  • Manitoba Rent Assist - $5,586
  • Manitoba Child Benefit - $840
  • Manitoba Personal Tax Credit - $266

Total Annual Income $37,178

Source: University Of Manitoba. These examples estimate federal and provincial benefits based on income as reported on the 2015 tax return.


The Public Health-Healthy Living team at Southern Health-Santé Sud recently completed a project to analyze what resources are available in the region to help people on low incomes file their tax returns. The aim is to share and promote existing resources and to work on filling the gaps so more people can get help to file their income tax returns and receive their benefits.

The next step is to recruit volunteers who can be trained under Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Community Volunteer Income Tax Program to assist people in communities and areas within the region, where there is the highest need for free or low cost income tax preparation clinics.

Volunteers are trained either online by CRA or in-person through Community Financial Counseling Services in Winnipeg. These volunteers are provided with free software to file income tax returns. Almost any kind of community organizations can volunteer to host the tax clinics. In Portage la Prairie, for example, Healthy Living Facilitators are working with the Family Resource Centre and Learning and Literacy Centre to provide a space for volunteers to offer the free tax clinics in 2018.

There are a number of online resources that people can access to find out more about what benefits they are entitled to and locate free tax clinics. Public Health Nurses and Healthy Living Facilitators can also help connect people with the resources available in their local communities.

Get Your Benefits
The following online resources can help you find out what benefits you are entitled to, and where you can go in your community to get assistance with filing your income tax returns. You can also talk to your local Public Health Nurse or Healthy Living Facilitator for advice about local resources where you live.

To download your benefits brochure click here
For information on tax filing, please visit MB.211 Site