Some commentators have suggested the best way to solve the conundrum of deciding whether to contribute to an RRSP first or a TFSA is to make the RRSP contribution then use the tax refund to put into the TFSA.
Does this make sense? On first glance, one gets the impression that more is being protected from tax. For example, if you put $1000 into an RRSP and are in a 40% marginal tax bracket (despite the fact that no such tax bracket exists, it is convenient to use a round number for illustrative calculations), you get 40% x $1000 = $400 back, which can be put into a TFSA, which seems to result in a total of $1400 being "saved" while a straight $1000 in a TFSA produces no tax refund and so only $1000 is set aside.
The answer is that you are no better off doing the RRSP refund into TFSA than the straight TFSA contribution if you stay in the same tax bracket when you withdraw the RRSP money. Save yourself the trouble. Want to see the numbers? Look at the table below where I've worked through a simple example.
There are other factors to consider in deciding between the TFSA and the RRSP, most of which come out in favour of the TFSA as various people have said like Ed Rempel on MoneyvsDebt.com and on Million Dollar Journey. The one thing that still goes in favour of the RRSP is when your tax rate upon withdrawal will be lower than at contribution. It may still not come out in favour of the RRSP if you lose income-tested benefits like OAS and GIS. Taxtips.ca has a handy calculator in which you can plug in numbers to test RRSP vs TFSA with differing tax rates and considering the OAS and GIS clawbacks.