If you’re a single mother, you know you’ve got a lot on your plate. Your life seems so much busier than that of your married friends, whose husbands can share the burden of raising the kids, keeping the house, going out to work and paying the bills. All this and more is down to you, and it’s not easy.
Financial concerns are likely to be high on your list of worries, for many single moms simply can’t spare the time or money to get the education and training they need to get a well paid job. And, if you don’t have the well paid job, things like housing and repair bills are going to be a major concern too.
So, single moms are justified in feeling like life has dealt them a pretty rough hand. But there’s good news. If you happen to be a single mom who lives in Cananda, there’s a lot of help out there for you. Canada, being a socialist country, has a full welfare system, and also offers a high number of very helpful grants to get you sorted. Whether you are looking for help with education and training or housing and maintenance expenses, there could be the answer here in the form of grants. All you need to know is what’s available, where to find it and what you have to do to get it.
Education and training
These days you can’t just walk off the street and into a job easily. You need to have the necessary qualifications even to get a look in when you send off those application forms. If you had your kids young, and didn’t finish school, or if you got married early and concentrated on being a wife and mom you may think that you’ve have sacrificed your chances of a good education …but there’s still time to do something about it! In Canada, there are several grants programs that can help single moms get back into education or onto apprenticeship training schemes so that those well paid jobs and exciting career prospects come within your grasp. Don’t miss out just because you don’t know where to begin.
Apprenticeships and training
If you’re interested in becoming a skilled tradesperson or craftsperson, you might be looking for an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is an agreement between the apprentice, the employer and the apprencticeship authority in the area where the work and the training takes place. Apprenticeships are an excellent way to get the training and to develop the skills you need to obtain work in the future, and are more specific to a trade then a general education. They usually involve long periods of on the job traiaing (practical learning) and shorter periods of classroom study. An exam often takes place at the end of the training period, whch is usually between 2 to 5 years in length, depending on the particular trade. Here’s how to get started if you think an apprenticeship might suit you:
When choosing a trade, take a good look at the trades that are part of the Red Seal program.
Grants can be obtained in Canada for the funding of apprenticeships. They come in different forms.
The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant (AIG)
This grant aims to give apprentices in the early stages of their training to continue through the course of the apprenticeship and reap the benefits. So, after two full years of training (in a Red Seal program) have been completed, an award grant of 1000$ is made to the apprentice. This can be repeated for another year to a maximum payout of 2,000$.
Eligibility criteria for AIG
- You should be either: A Canadian citizen; permanent resident of Canada or a protected person. (For more about ‘protected person status see here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/guides/5520ETOC.asp )
- You must not be a high school student.
- The program you are studying on must be a registered program with a recognized Red Seal sponsor or employer.
- The program must be recognized as a Red Seal program in the province in which you are undertaking the apprenticeship.
- You have to be able to show the appropriate documents to prove that you have successfully completed the two years of training required by the program.
- Your application must be received before the deadline date of June 30th in the year after the two years are completed. (Calender year, not academic or training term.)
It takes an average of one month after receipt of the application to receive the grant if approved. You can make your application online, information on how to apply can be found here:
Apprenticeship Completion Grant (ACG)
The awards don’t stop with the AIG in Cananda. Onc you have completed all your training, passed your exam and become a qualified tradesperson, you are eligible (as long as you still meet the criteria as detailed above) for a further award of 2,000 $. Now there’s a real leg up to your new career! Of course, you do have to have all your documents in place to prove that you have qualified fully, but it doesn’t matter if you didn’t earlier have the AIG. And, if your apprenticeship was fully completed after just a two year period, you can claim both grants at the same time!
Here’s how to apply for the ACG:
Not everyone wants to enter the trades, of course, and it may be that your needs are better served by a more academic education. Or, of course, as a mom you may be looking to find ways of financing your children’s educations. Luckily, in Canada, there are lots of grants available for education, it’s all a case of finding the one that’s the best for for your needs. Loans and grants for college are all dealt with within your province, so to get started you should get an application form from your local office and send it in for assessment for a student loan. You can find the relevant offices for each province here:
In most cases you will be able to make your application online. Once you have made your loan application, you will be able to be assessed for eligibility for grants too. Grants are, of course, preferable to loans as there is never a need to repay them…so when negotiating a loan always bear in mind that it must be paid back and make sure you understand all the terms and conditions completely.
Grants for Education in Canada
Take a look at the grants that are possible in Canada for students. Be sure that you receive the correct one. There’s some useful information on the following link that helps you to decide where you fit in, so if you disagree with your assessment you can take up your case.
Low Income Families
If you come into the low income bracket, as many single parent families do, this is for you, as long as you’re an undergraduatte. It isn’t applicable to post graduate or other programs. You also need to be enrolled on a course of two or more years duration at a post secondary school or college that’s affiliated to the program. You can check this out here by contacting the relevant office:
The grant pays up to 3,000$ per academic year, and is paid twice yearly. If you qualify for the full amount, and it pays completely (or more) for your studies, you can manage to do without a loan. That’s great! You don’t have anything to pay back when you’re done!
Middle Income Families
Just because your income lifts you out of the low income bracket doesn’t mean that you can finance your own or your kids’ educations without help, of course. But don’t worry, there’s help for middle income families too. Undergraduate students from middle income families (again, see the above chart for more information) can obtain grants of up to 1,200$ from participating/approved schools and colleges. It’s paid in the same manner as the low income grants, and again, may cover all (or more than!) your needs meaning that you can dispense with the loan altogether.
Students with dependant children
This grant may be awarded at post graduate or diploma level as well as for undergraduates. The course of study has to last for at least 12 weeks, take place within a period of 15 consecutive weeks and is available for low income families where there is at least one dependant child under the age of 12. If your child is older than 12, but is registered disabled, you can also qualify as long as you meet the other criteria.
The grant pays up to 2,000$ for each dependant child you have. It works by adding the amount due for your children to your exisiting low income grant.
Part time students
Canada has grants on offer for part time students too. Similar to the above, you need to have a low income, be enrolled on a course of 12 weeks within a 15 week period, and it adds up to 1,200$ to your purse. However, the award is only made acording to the actual cost of your studies, so you won’t be awarded more than you have to pay out.
Part time students with dependants
Part time students who have dependant children stand to qualify for this help too. As with the above, you need to have a dependant child of under 12 years of age (or an older child with disabilities) and be enrolled on a part time course with costs of more then the amount payable under the Part Time grants scheme. But, you also need to have taken on a minimum loan of 4,000$ though the Canada student loans system. Depending on the number of dependant children you have, you could be awarded up to 1,920$ a year. The calculation is made on a needs only basis and cannot exceed the costs of your studies as assessed by the authorities.
Students with disabilities
The usual criteria apply, in that you need to be enrolled on a course of study at an agreed post secondary college or other institution. If you suffer from permanent disability and have the documentation to prove it (you’ll need a medical certificate, a psycho educational assessment or a certificate proving that you are eligible for and receive federal disability allowance) you could be awarded up to 2,000$ per academic year to help with your education and other needs.
If you think you could qualify for this grant, just get in touch with the student financial assistance office for your province to make your application.
And there’s still more for students with disabilities. Another grant can help with extra needs such as equipment that allows you to benefit from a post graduate or post secondary education. This one can be worth up to a massive 8,000$ per year, so if you think you are eligible don’t miss out!
Have you thought ahead?
Thinking ahead pays, especially when it comes to educational costs. You can set up a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for your child’s future education. Once set up, the RESP makes it possible for grants and awards to be paid into the account as your child grows (it can last for 36 years, allowing for plenty of growing!). The income from these funds is not taxable as long as you don’t take it out of the fund. It isn’t just you who can pay into the RESP either, as you can also add payments from family and friends. Find out more here:
To get going, both you and the child need to have your Social Insurance Numbers. Next, choose your promoter…this is the person who will administer the plan and its funds.
Next up is the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG).
This plan pays out 20% on your RESP contributions to help you even further on the way to a great education for your child. If you’re a low to middle income family too, you can get an extra 10% or 20% on the first 500$ of contributions made every year added onto your CESG as described above. This can continue until your child is 17 years of age.
All kids of up to 17 are eligible to apply for this, as long as they meet the basic criteria of being Canadian citizens and have a RESP in place.
Again, choose your promoter with care. Not all are best suited to your needs.
Canada Learning Bond
Yes, there’s still more to help you pay educational costs through savings schemes. This is a federal incentive program, aimed at making it easier for hard up families to get involved with the RESP scheme. It will contribute 500$ into your child’s RESP, whatever your contributions level. From then on, up until he or she reaches 15 years of age, 100$ is deposited. If the costs of setting up the RESP are a concern, an additional 25$ can be put forward to help with that too.
Sounds good? This is what you need to qualify:
- Your child must have been born after 31st of December 2003.
- You need to be receiving your National Child Benefit Supplement.
When you open your RESP, be sure to check that the promoter you choose offers this option or you won’ be able to take advantage of this bond.
Well, that’s about it when it comes to grants to help with education. But, as we said in the beginning, education may be an important part of your financial concerns as a single mom, but it isn’t the whole picture. Another very big worry, if money is tight, is the cost of maintaining good quality housing for you and your family.
Well, you know what? There are grants available to help with this too! If you’re concerned about the escalating costs of carrying out essential repairs to your home, take a look at the Emergency Repair Program. Aimed mainly at those who live in rural areas of Canada, the scheme can help pay for urgently needed repairs such as those caused by storms or natural disaters like flooding.
It’s important to apply for the help before you have the work done, however, which can be difficult in a genuine emergency.
To be eligible, you will:
- Have an income that is lower than the established ceiling for your area.
- Be in real need of the work for reasons of safety rather than for aesthetic or home improvement requirements.
The grants vary from province to province and are also dependant on the type and amount of work that needs to be done. You’ll find all about it here:
Energy Efficiency Grants
There are also grants available for improving energy efficiency. These will help you not only to save money on fuel costs but are also aimed at making your household more enviromentally friendly. Energy efficiency grants concern things like heating, cooling, insulation, doors, windows and water conservation.
If this interests you, you need to make an appointment for an energy advisor to come and assess your home. Based on their findings and recommendations, grants of up to 5,000$ can be issued.
Interested? Here’s more:
So, if you are a single mom in Canada, there’s a lot you can do to enlist the help that you need to improve life. Grants are great…they are there to help you, so find out about them and use them!