I was asked by someone how to minimize tax on salary and below is my answer.
Unfortunately there's not much that you can do to save tax on your salary.
Google RRSP and TFSA. TFSA is great and everyone should take advantage of it as much as possible.
RRSP is of dubious value. It is meant for tax deferral and only makes sense in one of the three following situations. (The 2nd and the 3rd are legal ways to abuse RRSP, which is in my opinion not interesting at all unless you abuse it.)
There are other things you can do if you can persuade your employer to structure your employment contract differently, e.g. by replacing cash salary with stock options, or by working as a contracter instead of a regular employee. But neither is risk-free and your employer will likely refuse your proposal to avoid extra legal and administrative costs.
- You expect much lower income when you are old enough to receive RRSP distributions. (Not sure whether it's 65 or 67. I expect to have higher income through my investments in the future so I couldn't care less. This is also the original purpose of RRSP from the Canadian government's perspective.)
- You can withdraw 25,000 CAD to purchase your first home. (You cannot take advantage of it if you already have a property somewhere else.) You can then put it back to your RRSP within 15 years. Effectively you are borrowing from the Canadian Revenue Agency interest-free for 15 years, for an amount of 25,000 CAD * [your marginal tax rate]. This can be a good deal if you are not going to buy your first house in the same year when you move to Canada. (You can contribute to RRSP only in 2018 if you move to Canada in 2017. Your annual contribution limit can be found here.)
- Your employer has RRSP matching. In this case I would just withdraw RRSP immediately and take the 30% penalty, to pocket the employer matching. Of course I would invest the money somewhere instead of spending it. (There are more ways to avoid taxation on investments than on salary or RRSP distributions.)