CRA Garnishments 101- How Much Can CRA Garnish?

Wage garnishments can be distressing for those in debt, but when the CRA is involved, life can become even more complex.

This handy guide provides advice and answers to questions like ‘How much can CRA garnish?’

If you have outstanding debts, wage garnishment is one of the most significant causes of worry and stress.

Unfortunately, when you owe the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the situation can become even more unsettling.

This is because the processes involved in garnishing wages are different when the CRA is a creditor.

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What is wage garnishment?

Wage garnishment is a process that involves a creditor taking money from a debtor’s wages.

If you’re earning money, and you have a list of creditors waiting for cash, they may be able to gain access to your earnings.

CRA garnishment: How does it work and how much can the CRA take?

CRA garnishment is different from other creditors for two main reasons.

Firstly, the process of collecting debts varies depending on the creditor.

Unlike other creditors, the CRA does not need a court order to start garnering wages.

Ordinarily, a creditor would seek a judgement against you and you would be formally notified of the garnishment plans.

Your employer would be made aware of the situation, and they would then agree to send a portion of your wages to the creditor.

With the CRA, there is no need for a court order and the employer is informed directly.

The employer must agree to comply with the terms set out by the CRA.

If they fail to do this, they could face legal action.

It is possible, therefore, for employees to be unaware that their employer has been contacted and to find out about the wage garnishment only when they receive a reduced paycheque.

The second key difference between the CRA and other creditors is the amount of money garnished.


  • If you are an employee on the payroll and your taxes are deducted at source, the CRA has the power to garnish 50% of your wages.
  • If you are a subcontractor, or you receive alternative income, for example, a pension, the CRA can take up to 100% of your wages.


What can I do if I owe the CRA money?

Statistics show that Canadians owed the CRA over $43 billion in 2018, with figures set to rise to over $47 billion in 2020.

If you owe the CRA, you will be contacted, and you should be made aware of your outstanding debt.

If you do not have the means to pay your bill, and you’re struggling financially, there are options.

It’s wise to seek professional advice to explore the solutions open to you.

In many cases, when you have no way of paying bills, and there is a threat of wage garnishment, it may be advantageous to consider filing a consumer proposal.

This will shield you from wage garnishment and it can also help you settle additional debts.


If you have an outstanding payment due to the CRA, and you’re unable to pay it, it’s best to reach out for help and advice before you face the risk of wage garnishment.

The CRA has the right to garnish wages by 50% for employees on the payroll and up to 100% for other workers.

If you’re struggling, we are here to help.

Call us today to find out more.

Gordon Sands

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