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How Many Months Can You Be Gone From Canada Each Year?

How many months can you be gone from Canada each year?

This is a very misunderstood area.  Many Canadians have heard that they can be gone from Canada for  “180 days” per year; however, this number refers to Canadians travelling to the US and is a US immigration/tax policy.

In actual fact, you can be absent from Canada as long as you want.

The Canadian government recognizes that citizens may travel extensively, work or study abroad.  You will always maintain your Canadian citizenship.  What absentia may affect is your Canadian health care coverage and income tax.

Health Care:

Several provinces in Canada, including Alberta, Ontario, BC, Newfoundland, and Manitoba, allow you to be absent from Canada for 212 days (seven months) per year and continue to keep your provincial health active.  Should you wish to be gone longer, Alberta (as an example), asks that you advise Alberta Health Care and often special arrangements can be made.

If you planned on making a longer move to the DR, and only returning to Canada for a few months per year, you have the option of extending your DR insurance to cover you while you are in Canada.  Should your situation change and you are back in Canada for five months per year, then your health care will be reinstated (some provinces may require a waiting period before reinstatement).  It’s important to consult the government health care plan in your home province for up to date information.

Taxation:

While taxation has encompassing rules, it is also dependent on an individual’s situation, business, and other activities.  The following information is taken from CRA’s website regarding residents temporarily outside of Canada:

“You are a factual resident of Canada for tax purposes if you keep significant residential ties in Canada while living or travelling outside the country.  The term factual resident means that, although you left Canada, you are still considered to be a resident of Canada for income tax purposes.”

Residential ties include:

  • a home in Canada
  • a spouse or common law partner in Canada
  • dependents in Canada

Secondary residential ties that may be relevant include:

  • personal property in Canada, such as a car or furniture;
  • social ties in Canada, such as memberships in Canadian recreational or religious organizations;
  • economic ties in Canada, such as Canadian bank accounts or credit cards;
  • a Canadian driver’s licence;
  • a Canadian passport; and
  • health insurance with a Canadian province or territory.

The above is taken directly from CRA’s website.  Canada’s stance is you must declare your worldwide income and pay tax.  Our advice is if you plan to leave the country for extended periods and still have Canadian income or pensions, you should consult a tax accountant for advice specific to your situation.  While we have our own personal experience, we are in no way experts in this area, and can only quote the Government of Canada’s information.

 

Pensions While Outside of Canada

Canada will assist with sending Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan benefits to your new country of residence.  Please visit this page on Service Canada’s Website.

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