Benefits of Indian Status

Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program

  • Coverage for prescription drugs and over-the-counter products
  • Dental benefits
  • Benefits for medical supplies and equipment 
  • Eye and vision care benefits
  • Coverage for professional mental health counselling to complement other mental wellness services
  • Assistance for transportation to health services not available in your community

Border Crossing

  • Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) has been informed that U.S. border officials will accept any valid version of the Secure Certificate of Indian Status and any valid version of the Certificate of Indian Status to cross the Canada–U.S. border at both land and marine ports of entry.
  • Acceptance of those status cards is entirely at the discretion of the U.S. government.

Adapted regulations for Indigenous peoples who practice traditional hunting

  • Alternative safety certification options
  • Treaty ammunition

Tax exemption

  • Generally, First Nation individuals with a status card do not pay the GST/HST on property bought on a reserve or delivered to a reserve by a vendor or the vendor’s agent.
  • First Nation individuals with a status card, bands and band councils of an Ontario First Nations reserve are eligible for a point-of-sale rebate from paying the 8% Ontario portion of the HST for qualifying off-reserve purchases.
  • Personal property-including income-situated on a reserve, that property is exempt from tax
  • Property not situated on a reserve will generally be subject to tax
  • Employment income is exempt from income tax under paragraph 81(1)(a) of the Income Tax Act and section 87 of the Indian Act only if the income is situated on a reserve
  • In some situations, there are other uncommon factors that result in employment income being treated differently than the typical scenarios the Guidelines describe. In such cases, any factors connecting the income to a reserve must be analysed in accordance with the various court decisions to determine if the tax-exemption applies
  • If your business income is situated on a reserve, it is exempt from tax under section 87 of the Indian Act
  • If some of your revenue-generating activities take place on a reserve and the rest off a reserve, the tax exemption under section 87 of the Indian Act may be prorated. Part of your income will therefore be taxable, and part will be exempt from tax.
  • Investment income situated on a reserve is exempt from tax. The courts have established that determining whether income is situated on a reserve, and thus exempt from tax, requires identifying the various factors connecting the income to a reserve and weighing the significance of each factor. This is referred to as the “connecting factors test”.
  • The full amount of scholarships, fellowships, or bursaries that are received by you as a student with respect to enrolment in a program that entitles you to claim the full-time education tax credit is not taxable and is not reported as income on your tax return.
  • If you are a part-time student, the amount that may be excluded from income with respect to scholarships, fellowships, or bursaries received in 2010 and later tax years is limited to the cost of materials related to the program and the fees paid to the designated educational institution in respect of the program.
  • Any training allowances you receive under the Employment Insurance Act, or a general Government of Canada training program will be taxable, unless the training takes place on a reserve. In this case, the exemption under section 87 of the Indian Act may apply.
  • Income tax payroll deductions at source do not apply to income that is exempt under section 87 of the Indian Act. Where it is established that employment income paid to an Indian is exempt from tax, the employee can ask his or her employer to waive the payroll tax deductions at source.

Education allowances and scholarships

  • Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) provides financial assistance to First Nations students who are enrolled in eligible post-secondary programs.
  • Status First Nations post-secondary students who maintain satisfactory academic standing within an eligible post-secondary institution, may apply to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program
  • Funding is limited and not all students may be funded. Partial funding may be provided. Applications are valid for 1 school year only.
    • Eligible costs covered by the program may include:
      • tuition
      • books
      • travel support
      • living allowances
      • The maximum amount payable per full time student cannot exceed $53,000 per year.
      • On an extraordinary and justified basis, the maximum amount payable per year for a student in an advanced or professional degree program or a masters or doctoral program, may exceed $53,000 up to a maximum of $90,000.
      • No student is automatically entitled to this amount.