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Insights & advice

What is the Canada Child Benefit (CCB)?

December 2021 – 15 min read

Key takeaways

  • If you have children under 18, you may qualify to receive the CCB.

  • You’ll need to make sure you meet the necessary criteria, and should apply as soon as you become eligible.

  • You could receive a maximum annual benefit of $6,833 per child to help with the cost of raising a family.

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An intro to the Canada Child Benefit (CCB)

The CCB is a government benefitOpens in a new window that helps families in Canada with the costs of raising children.

Administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), it was introduced in July 2016 to replace the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). The CCB provides eligible parents with children under the age of 18 a monthly, tax-free payment. The CCB could include the Child Disability Benefit (CDB)Opens in a new window and is payable on top of any other child benefits that might be offered at provincial or municipal level.

Who can claim the CCB?

You could be eligible to receive the CCB if you meet all the following criteria:

  • You’re a resident of Canada for tax purposes
  • You live with a child under 18 years of age
  • You have primary responsibility for the child’s care and upbringing

You could be eligible to receive the CCB if you or your spouse or common-law is:

  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • A temporary resident who has lived in Canada for the previous 18 months
  • A protected person
  • An indigenous person

About primary responsibility

You should apply for the CCB if you’re considered “primarily responsible” for raising your child. That means being responsible for things such as:

Only 1 parent can apply for the CCB, and which parent does so will depend on your own family situation.

  • What happens if I share custody?

    If you have a custody arrangement, this could impact your childcare benefits. This will depend on things such as who has primary repsonsiblity, and if your child's time is shared mostly with you, mostly with the other parent, or shared equally. You can find out more about how custody arrangements impact your CCB eligibility.

CCB payments explained

Based on CCB payments in 2021, you could receive a maximum of:

  • $6,833 per year ($569.41 per month) for each eligible child under the age of 6
  • $5,765 per year ($480.41 per month) for each eligible child aged 6 to 17

However, the amount you actually receive will depend on several factors, such as whether your child lives with you full or part time, your net family income, and the number of eligible children you have. You can use the government’s CCB calculatorOpens a new website in a new window - Opens in a new window to get an idea of what your payments might be.

Payments are recalculated every July. This is to account for inflation, as well as your family net income from the year before. For example, if there was a change in your income in 2021, this will be reflected in your payments starting in July 2022. If your total benefit amount for the year is less than $240, you’ll receive this as 1 lump sum payment in July instead of receiving it monthly.

  • Do I have to pay back the CCB?

    The only time you’d have to pay back the CCB is if the CRA determines that they have paid you too much. If this is the case, they’ll make you aware of how much was overpaid, and may claim this back through deductions from future CCB payments, a deduction from an income tax refund or from a GST/HST credit.

How to apply for the CCB

You should apply for the CCB as soon as any of these events happen:

  • Your baby is born
  • Your child starts to live with you after a period of living elsewhere
  • Your custody arrangements change, or you are granted custody of a child
  • You or your spouse or partner start to meet the criteria and become eligible

You can apply at the same time you register the birth of your baby with the province or territory, or afterwards using your CRA online account. You can also download and complete Form RC66, Canada Child Benefits ApplicationOpens a new website in a new window - Opens in a new window , and return this via mail along with any additional documents and forms required.

Your payments will start within 8 weeks of the government receiving your online application, or within 11 weeks of sending a paper application through the mail. The payments will stop when your child turns 18, or when your net family income exceeds the threshold of $120,000.

This material is for information purposes only and shouldn’t be construed as providing legal or tax advice. Every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy, but errors and omissions are possible. All comments related to taxation are general in nature and are based on current Canadian tax legislation and interpretations for Canadian residents, which are subject to change. For individual circumstances, consult with your tax, legal or accounting professionals. This information is provided by The Canada Life Assurance Company and is current as of date of publication.