The Canada Child Benefit is a monthly tax-free benefit available to eligible families with children who are under 18 years of age.
With its introduction in the 2016 Federal Budget, the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) replaced the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) and the Universal Child Tax Benefit (UCCB). It was also enhanced to provide increased benefits to low and middle-income families.
The CCB is aimed at eradicating child poverty in Canada and it is unique in that the benefits received are not considered as taxable income.
For the July 2019 to June 2020 payment cycle, the CCB provides a maximum annual benefit of $6,639 for each child under age 6 and up to $5,602 per year for each child between the age of 6 and 17.
Canada Child Benefit Dates
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will send out Canada Child Benefit payments for 2020 on the following dates:
- January 20, 2020
- February 20, 2020
- March 20, 2020
- April 20, 2020
- May 20, 2020
- June 19, 2020
- July 20, 2020
- August 20, 2020
- September 18, 2020
- October 20, 2020
- November 20, 2020
- December 11, 2020
Payments are made directly to the bank account you register with CRA.
While payments are generally made by the 20th of the month, you should wait about a week or so before contacting CRA if you haven’t yet received the benefit.
What is the CCB?
The CCB is a tax-free benefit available to eligible families. The amount you receive is dependent on:
- The number of children who live with you and their ages.
- Your adjusted family net income.
- Your child’s eligibility for the child disability benefit.
- Your marital status.
- Your province of residence and whether you qualify for other provincial child benefits that are administered by the CRA and combined with your CCB.
The CCB payment period runs from July to June and the amount you receive is based on your income tax return for the previous year.
For example, CCB payment amounts for the July 2019 to June 2020 payment cycle are based on your family net income for the 2018 tax year.
To continue receiving the CCB, you and your spouse must file an income tax return every year even if you have not earned taxable income during the year.
How To Apply for the CCB
You may be eligible to apply for the CCB if you are directly responsible for a child who is a minor (under age 18) and live with them. You must also be a resident of Canada for tax purposes. The female parent is typically considered as the primary caregiver.
Automatic application for the CCB occurs when you register the birth of your child with your province.
Newcomers who come to Canada with kids born abroad can complete Form RC66 and mail it to the tax centre closest to them (there are centres in Winnipeg, Sudbury and Quebec).
You must provide proof of birth e.g. a birth certificate, passport, or permanent resident card, and complete the form Schedule RC66SCH, Status in Canada/Statement of Income.
It may take up to 11 weeks for your CCB application to go through.
Provincial Child Benefit Programs and the CCB
Some provincial child benefit programs are administered by the CRA and are combined with CCB payments including:
- New Brunswick Child tax benefit
- Newfoundland and Labrador child benefit
- Northwest Territories child benefit
- Nova Scotia child benefit
- Nunavut child benefit
- Yukon child benefit
- BC early childhood tax benefit
- Ontario child benefit
The Alberta Child Benefit and Alberta Family Employment tax credit are paid out separately from the CCB.
Starting in July 2020, both Alberta programs are being consolidated into a new program called the Alberta Child and Family Benefit (ACFB).
Quebec offers a Family Allowance payment via Retraite Quebec.
Other child benefits available in Quebec include the Supplement for Handicapped Children Requiring Exceptional Care and Supplement for the Purchase of School Supplies.
Canada Child Benefit Calculation: How Much Will You Get?
The government has a child and family benefits calculator you can use to estimate your monthly CCB payments.
For the July 2019 to June 2020 period, the following maximum benefits apply:
- Children under 6: $6,639
- Children between 6 and 17: $5,602
As your adjusted family net income (AFNI) increases, the amount of CCB you get reduces. The phase-out rate starts at $31,120.
To see how the phase-out rates work, consider the following example:
A family with a combined net income of $90,000 and 2 kids aged 2 and 3 (both under 6 years) will receive:
- The maximum annual CCB for two children under 6 years is $13,278 (i.e. $6,639 x 2).
- There is a 13.5% phase-out rate for income between $31,120 and $67,427: ($36,307 x 13.5%) = $4,901.445.
- There is a 5.7% phase-out rate for income between $67,427 and $90,000: ($22,573 x 5.7%) = $1,286.661
- The total reduction amount: ($4,901.445 + $1,286.661) = $6,188.106
Total CCB received = maximum annual CCB – reduction amount
- Total CCB = ($13,278 – $6,188.106)
- Total CCB received = $7,089.894 or $590.82 per month.
A family that is eligible for the CCB may also qualify for the Child Disability Benefit which provides up to $2,832 per year per eligible child.
For questions about your benefits, you can call CRA at 1-800-387-1193.
Here are some strategies for increasing your CCB.
1. How much is the child benefit in Canada per month? For children under age 6, the current maximum monthly benefit is $553.25 per child. For children older than 6 through 17, the maximum monthly benefit is $466.83 per child. Families with a net income below $31,120 will receive the maximum benefit.
2. Is the child benefit taxable? No, the Canada Child Benefit is a tax-free benefit and does not count towards your taxable income when you file your income tax return.
3. How is the CCB calculated? How much you receive is dependent on your family’s net income for the previous year, the age and number of your children, and your province of residence.
4. What age does the Canada Child Benefit stop? Child benefits stop when your child turns 18 or when your family’s net income exceeds the maximum threshold.
5. Do you pay back child benefits in Canada? If the CRA pays you too much CCB, they will let you know how much was overpaid and the excess amount may be deducted from your future CCB payments, income tax refund or GST/HST credit.