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Published May 4, 2023

Grocery Rebate May Become Law Next Week: When Will Payments Land?

Find out if you’re eligible for a one-time payment of up to $467 to help relieve some of the financial pressure caused by high food prices.

There’s some good news for Canadians waiting for a grocery rebate payment. Bill C-46, which contains the grocery rebate, passed its second reading in the Senate on May 3. The Bill is expected to receive royal assent and become law by May 12. 

When grocery rebates will actually make their way into eligible Canadians’ bank accounts is still unclear, however. No payment date has been announced.

When will grocery rebates be delivered?

With Canada Revenue Agency employees having tentatively settled their 15-day strike for new contracts on May 4, it’s fair to wonder how much of a backlog they’ll be dealing with before turning their attention to grocery rebate payments.

Those payments will be delivered as part of the GST Credit. The next scheduled GST Credit payment date is July 5, but whether it will include the grocery rebate remains unconfirmed.

“[W]e all know our more vulnerable friends and neighbors are still suffering from higher prices,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said in late March, after tabling the budget. “That’s why our budget contains targeted, temporary relief from the effects of inflation for those who need it.”

According to the federal government, the Canada Revenue Agency will deliver the Grocery Rebate to 11 million low- and modest-income individuals and families “as soon as possible” following the passage of the budget. The total amount to be paid out is estimated at $2.5 billion.

How the Grocery Rebate will work

Being a payment and not a program, the rebate appears fairly straightforward. There’s no application process, and eligibility depends on income and the number of children in a household.

Eligible families with two children can receive a Grocery Rebate worth up to $467. The rebate for eligible individuals tops out at $234, while seniors are expected to receive an average of $225.

There is no language in the budget that sets out specific income limits, but recipients described in a pair of example scenarios — a couple earning $38,000 per year and an individual who earns $32,000 — received the maximum rebate.

Rebate benefits will be delivered as part of the GST Credit. While no date for the payments has been announced, the remaining GST Credit payment dates for 2023 are:

  • April 5, 2023.
  • July 5, 2023.
  • October 5, 2023.

Canada’s still-rising food prices

The Grocery Rebate comes at a time when inflation-driven food prices are still eating away at Canadians’ finances. Annual inflation ticked down from 5.9% to 5.2% in February, but the cost of food continues to rise at an alarming rate. February was the seventh month in a row of double-digit increases in the price of food purchased from stores. 

According to Statistics Canada, the prices of cereal, fruit juices, fresh vegetables, bakery products and eggs all surged by more than 13% year-over-year in February. The price of fresh fruit increased by 10.5%, while dairy prices rose by 9.1%.  

Because there are so many factors feeding into higher food prices — Hurricane Ian, increased input costs like animal feed, packaging and energy costs — it’s hard to predict when they might plateau.

Tips to save on groceries

Whether you’re in line for a Grocery Rebate or not, it may be time to try out some cost-saving strategies at the grocery store if you haven’t already:

  1. Buy frozen fruits and vegetables. Although the price of frozen fruits and vegetables is actually rising faster than that of fresh food, you won’t have to worry about throwing it out if you don’t get around to eating it.
  2. Switch brands. Lower-priced generic brands can often save you money without sacrificing quality, especially on processed or canned foods. It’s probably not a bad time to see what’s on the shelves at the discount food retailers in your community, too.
  3. Pay with points. If you’re a member of a grocery store’s loyalty program, cash in the points you’ve been hoarding to reduce your next grocery bill. The same goes if your credit card rewards can be applied to grocery purchases.

About the Author

Clay Jarvis

Clay Jarvis is NerdWallet’s mortgage and real estate expert in Canada. Thus far, his entire professional writing career has revolved around real estate. Prior to joining NerdWallet, he was the…

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