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Income from Self-Employment


For the purpose of establishing the amount of social assistance to be paid, income from self-employment is considered as "allowable income", i.e., earnings exemptions may be applied to this income (see section 3.2).

Regulation 2(b)-eff. 09-93

In the case of fishermen, 25% of gross earnings are deducted and no other deductions are allowed.    Policy 131.02(b)

Prince Edward Island

The personal income of an applicant or beneficiary from any interest in or operation of a business shall be based on the results of an investigation carried out by

a) an officer of the Provincial Lending Authority for businesses in farming, fishing, or tourism, or small businesses which own the physical facility in which they operate; or

b) a person specifically designated by the Director to conduct such investigations for businesses not included in clause (a) and for self-employed persons.    Regulation 14

Income for self-employed persons is equal to gross income from self-employment less expenses allowed by Revenue Canada to earn the income; any other income of the household which is not specifically exempted by Regulation must be added to net annual business income to arrive at total annual family income.  Net annual income is then divided by 12 for the average monthly income and any applicable income exemptions are applied.    Policy 13-4-8

The exemption allowed for persons providing babysitting services in their own home shall be equal to 50% of actual babysitting income; if an applicant believes her expenses to be higher, a statement of income and expenses must be provided.     Policy 13-4-8

Nova Scotia - Provincial

50% of the net profit from business is counted as income.    Regulation 44(2)(e)

In calculating net profit from a business, allowable (exempted) expenses may include all expenses incurred to produce the income, e.g., mortgage (when business is conducted outside of the client's residence), phone, heat and other utilities, advertising, operating costs of a vehicle (if appropriate), accounting fees and legal costs.  Wages paid to a hired person are considered legitimate expenses, but wages paid to oneself or to dependants must be considered as earned income (see section 3.2) for the purpose of calculating FBA entitlement.  Investment losses incurred from investments in stocks, bonds or any similar investment may not be used to offset business income.  A business loss incurred in one year can only be applied to reduce subsequent years' net income with the prior approval of the Manager of Operations.    Policy 05-06-17

Nova Scotia - Municipal

Chargeable income of a self-employed person is calculated by including the net profit from the business ("gross profit less income tax payable on the monies earned by the business"), but the client shall be deemed to have a minimum net profit of at least $750 per month or $1,300 per month for a business where gratuities are normally paid.    Policy 1.1.8(I) - revised 04-92

New Brunswick

Revenue from business, lumbering, fishing or farming operations (i.e., seasonal workers) is counted as income.  Tools required for certain types of employment (such as boats, netting) are considered a fixed asset and are exempted.    Policy p. 53-55


The net income derived from a farm in operation is determined in compliance with the accounting method entitled "The farmer's account book" published by the QuĆ©bec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Nutrition, excluding any property depreciation.    Regulation 55

The net income from self-employment is determined in accordance with generally acceptable accounting principles.    Regulation 55

Ontario - Provincial

In the case of self-employed or business persons and farmers, the net income to be charged as income is obtained by subtracting from gross income all allowable (Director's discretion) expenses (including rent, utilities, reasonable expenses and repairs for a business vehicle, accounting fees, promotional material, etc.).  The resulting figure is divided by the number of months over which the income was realized and the appropriate STEP exemptions applied (see section 3.2).    Policy 0303-07, 0303-09

Ontario - Municipal

To determine the amount of general assistance payable, the net revenue from any interest in or operation of a farm must be considered as income.  Income received during peak market seasons shall not be averaged over a longer period of time; the balance of such income remaining following the month it is received is considered assets.  Meat and produce grown for the recipient's use are not included as income.  The earnings exemption does not apply to net farm income (gross less expenses), which includes any sum received from grants or subsidies from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food (with the exception of payments under the Farm Tax Reduction Program.   Policy 0402-03

The net income of a person or a head of a family with no spouse from an interest in or operation of a business is considered in the determination of the amount of general assistance payable.  After "net income" has been determined (i.e., gross less approved expenses), the regular earnings exemptions (see section 3.2) may be applied.    Policy 0402-04


Where gross farm or business income is under $5,000 per year, the following formula is used to calculate net income against which an earnings exemption (see section 3.2) may be applied:

i) 20% of the first $1,000 of gross annual income;

ii) 30% of the next $1,000;

iii) 40% of the next $1,000;

iv) 100% of any gross income over $3,000 per year.

Where gross farm or business income is $5,000 or more per year, eligibility is determined by reducing gross annual income in accordance with allowable costs and then applying the earnings exemption to the remaining net income.  Social Allowance shall not be granted to cover any deficit where net income is a negative figure:  the purpose of this calculation is strictly to determine the applicant's financial resources and to compare these with budgetary requirements of the applicant's household.  (see also "Assets" section 4.1)    Policy E3-21-02, E3-31-02

Manitoba - Municipal

The Winnipeg Municipal Assistance Policy Manual provides guidelines for the determination of eligibility of persons involved in self-employment or commission sales.  The manual identifies over a dozen issues which must be explored in determining whether a self-employed applicant's business is viable (see section 2.16), including registration and licensing, business plans, annual income (verification via income tax returns or other records), equipment inventory, employees and their remuneration, etc.   Policy p.42-44


The net income from farming and business operations is considered as income for the purposes of determining eligibility for, and the amount of, assistance.   Regulation 29(A)(2)

The calculation of farm income for the preceding calendar year is used to determine entitlement for any given year.  Net farm income is computed by deducting from gross income all allowable expenses required to produce the income.  Any loan received pursuant to section 32.5 of the Agricultural Credit Corporation of Saskatchewan Regulations is excluded from the calculation of a household's income.    Policy 18-1-4; Regulation 28(z)

Income from business is calculated by deducting from actual gross income (including any produce used) all allowable expenses; an estimate of a percentage of the gross income is not acceptable.    Policy 18-1-5


The Supports for Independence policy concerning financial resources of clients who are farmers or self-employed persons requires that 100% of net income plus realized capital gains must be considered in determining eligibility and entitlement.  The client's basic necessities benefit level shall be decreased by an amount equal to 100% of net income and realized capital gain. Only those self-employed people who provide licensed child care in their home are entitled to an exemption on self-employment earnings.  All other business persons or farmers may deduct specified expenses from gross income to calculate net income.   Regulation 1(e); Policy 02-07-01 p.7

In establishing the client's net income against which needs are compared, the allowable expenses which may be deducted from gross income from a business or farm are as follows:

- all deductions required by law (including taxes and license fees)

- interest payments on a business or farm loan

- advertising, accounting, legal fees and bank service charges

- veterinary services related to the business or farming operation

- cost of essential material or supplies

- business-related facility costs (property taxes, fire and liability insurance, rent, telephone, utilities, reasonable maintenance and repairs, and the interest portion of a mortgage).   Policy 02-07-01 p.6

British Columbia

Generally, full-time farm operations are not eligible for income assistance.  In the case of small scale farmers requiring occasional temporary assistance, any income whether in cash or food derived from the farm must be taken into account as financial resources.    Policy 3.16.2

Where a recipient or one or more of his dependants is a participant in a program established by the minister to encourage persons to be self-employed as proprietors of or partners in small businesses, then during the first 6 months of a small business approved under the program, the earnings derived from the small business of the recipient and any of his dependants are, if reinvested in the small business, exempted from the total income of the family unit.    Regs. Sched. "B" (6.1)


The net revenue from trapping, logging, fishing and business operations is counted as income, as is the reasonable value of food obtained by gardening, hunting and fishing.    Regulation 18(2)(b,i)

Northwest Territories

Considered as earned income is the net income from hunting, trapping, logging, fishing and business operations, after deducting the value of essential equipment to carry on such operations.  However, as an incentive to take and hold employment, an applicant may deduct from his earned income the monthly sum of $50 for an individual or $100 for an applicant with one or more dependants.    Regulation 20(3,6)

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