How federal direct deposits will benefit Aboriginal Canadians
(NC)—The federal government is phasing out cheques in favour of direct deposits, a move which will affect Aboriginal Canadians in every region of Canada. Close to 300 million federal payments are made to all Canadians every year, yet only 20 percent are still being printed. The federal government is encouraging all Canadians, including Aboriginal and new Canadians, to enrol for direct deposit as soon as possible.
As the name implies, direct deposit refers to the automatic deposit of federal government payments, directly into your bank account. This means that every federal government cheque currently sent to you by mail, will be sent through an electronic transfer of funds, ensuring speedier and safer delivery. There is no Internet or computer connection required. Those living in remote regions of Canada without access to a bank or financial institution will still receive cheques, however most Aboriginal Canadians will be eligible for direct deposit.
Everything from the Universal Child Care Benefit, Old Age Security pensions, and Canada Pension plan benefits can now be received electronically by anyone who enrols for the service. First Nations' governments and band councils can also receive payments this way. Likewise, payments for goods and services provided by Aboriginal suppliers to government departments and agencies can also be paid by direct deposit.
There are numerous advantages to direct deposit for everyone who signs on. First, it is fast and convenient. Your money is automatically put into your account and immediately available to you – no matter where you are or what you're doing. You can enrol in direct deposit by filling in a form at www.directdeposit.gc.ca, by visiting your band council office for assistance or by calling 1-800-O-Canada. Aboriginal businesses can enrol directly with the department they do business with. Direct deposit is secure and reliable too, since there is virtually no risk of your cheque being lost, stolen, damaged or delayed, as sometimes happens, especially in the event of a postal strike. Equally important, direct deposit reduces paper consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, which helps protect Canada's natural environment.
Direct deposit also cuts costs through reduced paper use and related cheque printing as well as delivery costs. The federal government spends 83 cents to produce a cheque, compared to just 11 cents to process an electronic payment. Eighty percent of payments are already made to Canadians by direct deposit. The majority of Canadians who receive federal payments have already signed up for the electronic banking service, but the government still prints, processes and mails out 56 million cheques each year. It's expected that, by April 2016, when federal departments and agencies move to electronic banking exclusively, the savings will add up to approximately $17.4 million annually.
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