I am leaving Canada - What steps do I have to take?

Before leaving Canada

The information on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. This website contains information tailored specifically to the tax situation of a temporary worker under the International Experience Canada Program (Working Holiday, Young Professionals, International Co-op Internship)

Do I have to notify someone that I am leaving Canada?

Not really. Just like the usual steps everyone takes, you should make a clean cut by cancelling all contracts you had, for example cancel phone contracts, close all bank accounts after you paid off the credit cards, cancel the car insurance after you sold your car, give notice to your landlord, etc.

Your SIN will automatically expire at the same time as your work permit. No need to do anything there. 

But from the tax perspective, there are a few steps to take before you leave Canada permanently to ensure a smooth tax return process from your home country. 

Do not discard of very important paperwork

Even after you filed your tax returns in Canada, sometimes the tax agency will ask additional questions or requests additional documents. They can still do this within 6 years. If, for any reason, the tax agency does a reassessment it’s up to you to prove your claims. 

Therefore, it is important that you take all documents from Canada home with you and keep them for at least 6 years. This is the official retention period from the CRA. >>Read it here<<

Digital form is allowed!

In today’s modern world, most documents are available as PDFs anyway. e.g. account statements can be easily downloaded from online banking and stored on a PC or online.

And nowadays there are so many apps that allow you to scan documents as PDFs. 

The documents include everything that connected you to Canada while being there.

  • Copy of your work permit(s)
  • T4 of all years and of all employers
  • Last pay check of all employers
  • Record of Employment (ROE)
  • Notice of Assessment from all years
  • Home rental contracts with your name on it
  • Bank statements from the Canadian bank
  • Bill of Sale for the car you purchased
  • Registration of the car
  • Insurance policy of the car
  • Copy of Canadian driver’s license
  • Mobile phone contract/mobile phone bills
  • Copy of provincial health card (Canadian health insurance)

1. Download the "Record of Employment" from Service Canada

If there is a social security agreement with your home country, you can have the time you worked in Canada credited to your country’s pension. For this you will have to contact your country’s pension government agency to find out if such agreement with Canada exists, and what paperwork they need. This application to get the credit from Canada, can be made as soon as you return to your home country.  

If you don’t want to claim the credit towards your home country’s pension, or your country does not have such agreement with Canada, skip this step.

When the employment relationship is terminated, regardless of whether you have been laid off or have resigned yourself, the employer is required by law to issue a “Record of Employment” (ROE). This is the proof of employment and it proves the exact time period you worked for that employer. This Record of Employment can also be viewed and printed online in the My Service Canada account. So, register there right away and download the ROE after each job and while you are still in Canada. 

Employers who submit the Record of Employment (ROE) to Service Canada electronically are no longer required to provide a copy to the employee. You can politely ask employers for a copy. Some provide the copy. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to register an account with Service Canada to retrieve the ROE once the SIN number has expired.

That’s why it is very important to do this step before you leave Canada. 

The following steps only apply if you already filed a tax return in Canada. If you have never filed a Canadian tax return, skip to "After returning home"

What is CRA My Account?

The CRA My Account is the online tax account with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You will have access to all your T4 from all years and from all employers, and you will receive the tax assessment in this account after you have filed a Canadian tax return. Other notifications (mail) from the tax agency will also be available here.

The tax agency only communicates through this CRA My Account and by regular mail. Never via e-mail

After your first Canadian tax return is assessed, you can register online. You’ll need to provide personal information:

  • SIN 
  • Date of birth
  • Postal code you entered in your tax return
  • Last tax return (you will be asked for the amount in line 15000 of your last tax return)

You register >> here << online under “Option 2“, CRA Register, then create a user ID, a password and security questions.

After the registration process, you will have limited access to CRA My Account, but you will be able to view the status of your tax return once you have submitted it online and it was processed. 

Once the CRA account is fully activated, you can also make changes online, for example the address, or delete the direct deposit if you have already closed the Canadian account.

2. In the CRA account: Change the multi-factor authentication from "text message"

The CRA has implemented a security system to ensure that only you have access to the CRA account.

You have the choice between

  • Telephone (text message)
  • Passcode grid
  • Authenticator App

More info on the multi-factor authentication >> here on the CRA website << 

Many IEC participants select the text message option when they create the CRA online account. Every time you log in, a text message is sent with a one-time code. So you can only log in to this CRA My account with a Canadian mobile phone number. This option only works as long as you have this Canadian phone number. 

Before you leave the country and before you cancel your Canadian mobile phone contract, you have to change the multi-factor authentication in your CRA My Account.

The reason: You will lose access to the CRA account after you cancelled your phone plan. The passcode grid option or the authenticator app option allows you to log in without a phone and even after your SIN has expired. 

3. In the CRA account: Delete the direct deposit information if you cancel your Canadian bank account

If you signed up for direct deposit, but closed the bank account, the CRA will attempt to deposit your tax refund into a closed bank account. The CRA doesn’t know you closed it. From outside Canada is a pain and costs valuable time to get this changed and receive the tax refund via cheque. 

If you want to keep your Canadian bank account open until you receive the tax refund, it’s fine too. Then, after the tax return process is done, you can transfer all funds out to your home country. 

Wise - A great option to transfer money

One of the most recommended options from IEC participants to transfer money out from Canada is a third-party provider named Wise. It was previously called TransferWise, I am sure you heard of them before. Wise has over 13 million customers around the world. With Wise you have one of the best exchange rates in the international money transfer world. When you transfer money you will always get the mid-market exchange rate. 

The transfer fees depend on the amount you send, the type of currency and the transfer method.

Because you will start paying monthly fees after a certain amount of time, (for example at CIBC after the 2 years promotion is over), you can open a free Wise account. 

In the Wise account you can create Canadian bank details

Then change the direct deposit in your CRA online account to the Wise account details. This will ensure that you still receive payments after you leave Canada.

You can then close the Canadian account with the Canadian bank before you go home and only use the Wise account until you have filed your tax return and received the money. Then transfer the money to your account in your home country. If you click the below button, Wise will waive the fee on the first $800 CAD. Isn’t this awesome?

Please first read into Wise if this is a viable option for your country.  

4. Stop the GST/HST credit payments

If you filed a Canadian tax return and were eligible for GST/HST payments, you will continue to receive those quarterly GST/HST payments even though you left Canada. The GST credit is only available as long as you are in Canada. Since you left Canada during the tax year, you are no longer eligible for the GST credit after departure. That’s why you must call the GST department to stop the payments: 1-800-387-1193

If you are still receiving them, despite calling or if you don’t call, don’t spend that money, you have to repay it at tax time.

More info in an extra post.

5. Change the address to your new home address

To ensure the CRA can contact you for tax assessments or tax audits you have to update the address in the CRA account every time you move. The CRA will send tax assessments to the address in their system. This means if you do not change your address in the CRA account, a possible tax refund cheque might end up at your last Canadian address or get lost. Therefore you should change the address in the CRA system before you file your next Canadian tax return.

You can change your address:

  • Online: in the CRA account
  • By phone:
    • Calls from within Canada: 1-800-959-8281 
    • Calls from outside Canada: +1-613-940-8495
  • By mail: Mail the completed form RC325 to the address on the form. This option will take 6-8 weeks to process. 

After returning home

1. Gather all T4 Slips from all employers in the tax year you left

Around February/March of the following year you will receive a T4 from each employer. For example in February/March 2025 you receive a T4 for the tax year 2024. The Canadian tax year is from January-December. 

The T4 (Statement of Remuneration) is a summary of the tax year where all earnings and deductions are reported to the CRA. You need this T4 from each employer to be able to file your Canadian tax return.

The T4 will be sent to you automatically by your employers and a copy is also submitted to the CRA. The employers are required by law to issue you a T4 by the end of February, even if you only worked there for a few days. In most cases, the T4 are sent by regular mail. So you have to make sure you give the employers your new address. But you can also ask the employer to send this to you by email. You do not need the original. 

If you don’t receive the T4 by the end of March (including post time), send the employer a reminder. If you have access to your CRA account, you can print out the T4 from there. Please note, you can only register for the online CRA account after you filed a tax return in Canada.

If you never created an online CRA account, you have 2 more options >> shown here. <<

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If you received government benefits like employment insurance benefits,  then a T4 slip will be issued as well around March. From Service Canada is will be a T4E. If you have access to the CRA account, the T4E can be downloaded from there. Please wait for this T4E slip before you file your taxes. 

2. File a Canadian tax return

Because you left Canada, you must file the last tax return on paper and send it to the CRA via post. There is no online filing software for tax filers outside of Canada.

Canadataxback is helping IEC participants who left Canada permanently. You can request a free tax calculation, then you can decide if you would like to use the taxback service which is the cheapest on the entire Internet. The fees start at only $20.

  • Tax time always starts at the end of February for the previous tax year.
  • Tax deadline is April 30 for taxes owing, and 10 years if you expect a tax refund.

Here are the steps in our process and a taxback calculation form, that is protected, so you can submit your T4 slips in a secured way.