Ontario Trillium Benefit – What is it and How to Claim Your Payment

What is the Ontario Trillium Benefit?

The Ontario Trillium Benefit (OTB) is a credit available to Ontarians for the purpose of helping citizens cover sales and property tax, and energy costs.

It encompasses the following three credits:

  • Northern Ontario Energy Credit
  • Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit
  • Ontario Sales Tax Credit

If you’re eligible for at least one of these credits, you are eligible to receive the OTB.

They are assessed separately, and in this article, we’ll walk you through each of them and their eligibility requirements.

Northern Ontario Energy Credit

The Northern Ontario Energy Credit (NOEC) supports low to middle-income families with the increased energy costs they face by in the North.

This tax-free benefit is eligible to those living in the following areas:

  • Algoma
  • Cochrane
  • Kenora
  • Manitoulin
  • Nipissing
  • Parry Sound
  • Rainy River
  • Sudbury
  • Thunder Bay
  • Timiskaming

In addition to residing in one of those areas on December 31, 2020, you must also fulfill at least one of the following criteria prior to June 1, 2022:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Have a spouse or common-law partner or have had one in the past; or
  • Be a parent who lives with your child or has in the past
Man holding Canadian money

Also, in 2020, you must also fulfill at least one of the following criteria:

  • Paid property tax or rent for your principal residence;
  • Lived in and paid living expenses for a nursing home or other long-term care home; or
  • Paid energy costs while living on a reserve

Keep in mind that your eligibility depends on where you live on the 1st of every month.

You will only be granted the credit if you meet the above criteria for the months where you live in the eligible Northern Ontario areas – for example, if you live in Thunder Bay on June 1, but move to London on June 15th, you will still receive the June NOEC payment, but no further ones if you continue to reside in London.

Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit

The Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (OEPTC) supports low- to middle-income families with property taxes and GST/HST paid on energy.

You can apply for this tax-free credit if you qualify based on criteria outlined below.

In addition to being a resident of Ontario on December 31, 2020, you must also fulfill at least one of the following criteria prior to June 1, 2022:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Have a spouse or common-law partner or have had one in the past; or
  • Be a parent who lives with your child or has in the past

Also, in 2020, you must also fulfill at least one of the following criteria:

  • Paid rent or property tax for your main residence;
  • Lived in and paid living expenses for a nursing home or other long-term care home; or
  • Paid energy costs while living on a reserve

Ontario Sales Tax Credit

The Ontario Sales Tax Credit (OSTC) supports low to middle-income families with GST and HST paid throughout the year.

To be eligible for the OSTC, in addition to being a resident of Ontario on December 31, 2020, you must also fulfill at least one of the following criteria prior to June 1, 2022:

  • Be at least 19 years old;
  • Have a spouse or common-law partner or have had one in the past; or
  • Be a parent who lives with your child or has in the past

Who is Eligible for the Ontario Trillium Benefit?

To qualify for any of the benefits, you must be a resident of Ontario as of December 31, 2020 and at least one of the following at some time before June 1, 2022:

  • Over the age of 18 years old (over the age of 19 years old for the Ontario Sales Tax Credit)
  • Currently or previously married or in a common-law relationship
  • A parent who lives or previously lived with your child

For the NOEC and the OEPTC, you must have also fulfilled at least one of the following in 2020:

  • Paid rent or property tax for your main residence;
  • Lived in and paid living expenses for a nursing home or other long-term care home; or
  • Paid energy costs while living on a reserve

How Much Money Can I Get From the OTB?

The amount you receive will vary every year based on your age, your income, your place of residence, your family size, and the amount paid in property tax or rent.

For the NOEC, you could receive a maximum of $158 for this credit if you’re single, while families can receive a maximum of $243.

For the OEPTC credit, you could get a maximum of:

  • $1,095 if you are between the age of 18 and 64
  • $1,247 if you are over the age of 65
  • $243 if you live in a public long-term care home or on a reserve
  • $25 if you resided in a designated college, university or private school residence

For the OSTC, you can get up to $316.

You may be eligible to get an additional benefit of up to $316 for:

  • Your common-law partner or spouse, and
  • Each dependent child under 19 years old on the 1st of the payment month

If you want to check how much money you could get, you can use this handy calculator.

The credit will be paid either as a lump-sum or spread over the course of 12 months, from July to June.

If your entitlement is below $360, it will automatically be paid as a lump-sum, usually in July.

If it is above $360, you can choose between the two payment options.

If your payment is more than $2, but less than $10, it will be increased to $10.

If your payment is less than $2, you will not receive a payment.

Ontario Trillium Benefits Dates

Wondering when to expect your OTB payments? Here is the OTB monthly payment schedule for 2021:

  • January 8, 2021
  • February 10, 2021
  • March 10, 2021
  • April 9, 2021
  • May 10, 2021
  • June 10, 2021
  • July 9, 2021
  • August 10, 2021
  • September 10, 2021
  • October 8, 2021
  • November 10, 2021
  • December 10, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the maximum income to qualify for the Ontario Trillium Benefit?
  • How to claim the Ontario Trillium Benefit?
  • If you are an Ontario resident and want to apply for the OTB, follow these steps:

    • File your tax return, even if you do not have any income.
    • Complete Form ON-BEN for the OEPTC and NOEC payment (the OSTC gets handled automatically upon the submission of your tax return).

Tara Al-Khudairi is a freelance personal finance writer who has worked in the financial services industry since 2017. She graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Finance and is pursuing her CFA.

She has worked at a major Canadian financial institution in various client-facing advisory roles, starting as a bank teller and working up to a Client Services Associate within the Asset Management division. She specializes in simplifying concepts of personal finance for people of various financial backgrounds.

When she’s not examining the markets looking for the next SHOP.TO, she’s either practicing yoga, planning her next vacation, or has her nose buried deep in a book.