The Canadian government is dedicated to helping families care for their children, especially during this tough economic time. Raising families can be a difficult and expensive task as is, but is even more challenging when you’re unemployed or don’t have access to resources, such as childcare. Canada has several support systems in place to help in a variety of situations. One of the most widely used programs is the Canada Child Benefit (CCB). It is designed to help with the cost of raising children. You can learn more about the program in this guide.
What is the Canada Child Benefit?
The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is a tax-free monthly payment for eligible families with children under the age of 18. It is designed to help with the cost of raising children. The Canada Revenue Agency is responsible for screening and distributing this benefit to eligible individuals. However, you must apply for the CCB benefit.
Canada Child Benefit Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible for the Canada Child Benefit, you must meet all these criteria:
- Live with a child under the age of 18 years old
- Be the primary caregiver, responsible for care and upbringing of the child
- Be a resident of Canada
- Be or have a spouse or common-law partner who is:
- A Canadian citizen
- A permanent resident
- A protected person
- A temporary resident who has been in Canada for the last 18 months, and who has a valid permit in the 19th month
- An Indigenous person who meets the definition of “Indian” under the Indian Act
You are not eligible for the CCB if you are fostering a child or caring for a child and receiving Children’s Special Allowances (CSA).
With male and female parents who live in the same home as their child, the female parent is considered the primary caregiver of the child. She would apply for and receive the Canada Child Benefit. There are cases when the male parent is the primary caregiver of the child and the CRA will require him to apply for CCB with an attached letter signed by the female parent stating he is the primary caregiver. For same-sex parents, only one parent should apply for all children in the home.
How much can you get from the Canada Child Benefit?
The total amount of the Canada Child Benefit depends on several factors. The number of children in your care, the age of the children, marital status of caregivers, and family income all determine the total amount you are eligible for. If your adjusted family net income (AFNI) from last year’s tax return is below $32,028, you are eligible for the maximum payment amounts per child. For children under 6 years of age, you are eligible for $6,833 per year, paid monthly at $569.41. For children aged 6 to 17 years old, you are eligible for $5,765 per year, paid monthly at $480.41.
As adjusted family net income (AFNI) increases, there is a reduction to the Canada Child Benefit you are eligible to receive. The reduction depends on the adjusted family net income amount and the total number of children under your care.
In response to COVID-19, the Canadian government has offered an additional tax-free payment of up to $1,200. This payment is a part of CCB, but is per child and will be paid in 4 installments through-out the 2021 year. The first two payments were issued on May 28th, 2021, and then, two more, single payments will be issued on July 30th and October 29th, 2021. This additional benefit depends on adjusted family net income (AFNI) and total number of children.
If you share custody of a child, each parent will receive 50% of the benefit. The CRA does not split the benefit in any other amounts, only 50%.
Some provinces have additional supports for the cost of raising a family. When these are in place, they can be paid as an additional part of CCB or as a separate payment depending on which province you reside in and the additional assistance they offer.
Canada Child Benefit Payment Dates 2023
The Canada Child Benefit payment dates for 2023 are as listed:
- January 20, 2023
- February 20, 2023
- March 20, 2023
- April 20, 2023
- May 19, 2023
- June 20, 2023
- July 20, 2023
- August 18, 2023
- September 20, 2023
- October 20, 2023
- November 20, 2023
- December 13, 2023
How to Apply for the Canada Child Benefit
Applying for the Canada Child Benefit is simple. The most common method to apply for the benefit is through birth registration of your newborn child. This is normally done in the hospital or birthing center, although some provinces allow you to register births online. The only requirement is to provide consent and your social insurance number for the birth registration to be shared with the CRA, otherwise you will need to apply for CCB separately.
If you must apply for the Canada Child Benefit separately, you can apply online through your CRA My Account Portal by: logging in, go to “Apply for child benefits” and follow the prompts. You can also apply via mail by filling out and signing “Form RC66, Canada Child Benefits Application” and mailing it to your respective tax center.
To avoid delays or additional documentation requests, apply for the Canada Child Benefit when your child is born, the child starts to live with you, you begin/end/change custody arrangements, or you get custody of a child. If a child has lived with you for over 11 months and then you apply for the benefit, you will need to provide additional documentation.
Otherwise, to ensure you continue receiving CCB, ensure you file your taxes regularly and timely every year. This will ensure accurate and timely benefit payments. If you do not file your taxes the benefit will stop until you do.
The Canadian government wants to support families and one way they do this is through the Canada Child Benefit. Make sure you have registered any children in your care when they are born, through the hospital, or as soon they come into your care, through your CRA My Account. Do not miss out on benefits you qualify for, always file your taxes to maintain government benefits and receive them according to schedule.