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Insights & advice

Government benefits for parents in Canada

Oct 2021 – 15 min read

Key takeaways

  • If you’re starting a family, there’s a lot of short-term budgeting and long-term planning to consider.

  • There are tax credits and benefits for parents and caregivers that can help with the cost of raising a family.

  • You can apply to the Government to receive some benefits, while others can be claimed on your tax return.

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Benefits for new parents

There’s plenty to think about when budgeting for a baby, including how to cover time off work to care for your new arrival. Employment Insurance (EI) maternity and parental benefitsOpens a new website in a new window - Opens in a new window  are available to people who are about to or who have recently become parents. 

Maternity benefits are available to those who are off work because they’re pregnant or have recently had a baby, and these benefits can’t be shared between parents. Parental benefits, however, are available to both parents of a new baby or a newly adopted child. If you’re receiving maternity benefits, you may also qualify for parental benefits too. 

You can apply online or in-person at a Service Canada Centre, and you could receive 55% of your earnings up to a maximum of $595 a week. If you live in Quebec, you may receive benefits under the Quebec Parental Insurance PlanOpens a new website in a new window - Opens in a new window .

Benefits for families and caregivers

As your children grow, there’s financial support available in the form of family benefits.   

Canada Child Benefit (CCB)

Run by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the CCBOpens in a new window - Opens in a new window is a tax-free monthly payment available to eligible families with children under 18. It replaced the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) in 2016. You can apply as soon as your child is born, or at various points throughout their life depending on changing circumstances. You can use the CRA CalculatorOpens a new website in a new window - Opens in a new window  to see how much you could receive, and child benefit payments are re-assessed every July. 

Child Disability Benefit (CDB)

The CDBOpens in a new window - Opens in a new window is available to families who care for a child under 18 with a severe and prolonged physical or mental impairment. To qualify for this tax-free monthly payment, you must be eligible for the CCB, and your child must be eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC). If you meet both of these criteria, you won’t need to apply for the CDB as you will receive it automatically. 

Caregiving benefits

If you need to stop working to take care of a sick or injured child, there are family caregiving benefits that may be available to you. Individuals who are looking after a critically ill or injured person under the age of 18 may qualify for the Family Caregiver Benefit for Children. You should applyOpens a new website in a new window - Opens in a new window  as soon as possible after you stop working, and if you meet the government criteria, you could receive benefits for up to 35 weeks. 

Depending on your family’s circumstances, there’s also a range of other family benefitsOpens a new website in a new window - Opens in a new window  that may be available to you.

How to claim child tax credits

For some childcare benefits, you either apply to receive them or you’ll receive them automatically depending on your circumstances. For others, you’ll need to claim these deductions and credits when filling in your tax return: 

  • Line 21400 – Childcare expenses - You may be able to claim eligible childcare expenses such as day care, after-school programs, day camps and boarding schools.

  • Line 30499 – 30500 - Canada caregiver amount for infirm children under the age of 18 - You may be able to make a claim if you supported an eligible dependent under the age of 18 with a physical or mental impairment.

  • Line 31300 – Adoption expenses – You can claim eligible adoption expenses if the child was under 18 at the time of adoption. The maximum for each child is $16, 563.

  • Lines 33099 and 33199 – Eligible medical expenses - There may be medical expenses that you can claim relating to pregnancy and childbirth, as well as treatments and medical services for babies and children.

complete listOpens a new website in a new window - Opens in a new window  of eligible family, childcare and caregivers deductions and credits can help you when it comes time to file your tax return.

The information provided is based on current laws, regulations and other rules applicable to Canadian residents. It is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of the date of publication. Rules and their interpretation may change, affecting the accuracy of the information. The information provided is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for advice in any specific situation. For specific situations, advice should be obtained from the appropriate legal, accounting, tax or other professional advisors.