Supporting new parents and young families is a top priority for the Government of Canada. That is why in 2016 the Government launched the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) to help families with the high cost of raising kids and in 2018, introduced the Employment Insurance parental sharing benefit.
The CCB was launched three years ago, and in July 2018 it was increased to keep up with the cost of living. This change came two years ahead of schedule to give parents even more money each month to help them provide for their children. The CCB-which is targeted to middle-class families and the people working hard to join the middle class-is simple, tax‑free and provides more money to 9 out of 10 families than previous child benefit programs. Starting on July 20, 2019, the CCB will be raised once again to keep up with the cost of living. This means that for the 2019-20 benefit year, the maximum benefit will be $6,639 per child under age 6 and $5,602 per child aged 6 through 17.
Since March 17, 2019, new parents are eligible to receive extra weeks of parental benefits to help support a more equal distribution of home and work responsibilities. The new measure is available to parents, including adoptive or same-sex parents, for a child born or placed with them for the purpose of adoption on or after March 17, 2019-as long as they are eligible for and share their Employment Insurance parental benefits. When parents agree to do so, they will benefit from:
- 5 extra weeks of parental benefits when choosing the standard option; or
- 8 extra weeks for those who choose the extended option.
Corresponding changes to the Canada Labour Code have also been made to ensure that federally regulated private‑sector employees have the right to take leave while receiving the parental sharing benefit without fear of losing their job.
Taken together, these measures mean that a child born today, over the course of 18 years, will receive $49,157 more than before the CCB-based on a $50,000 annual family income. The same family can also access an additional $1,547 thanks to the 5 extra weeks of Employment Insurance Benefits. As a result of these changes, a child born in 2019 will receive almost $51,000 more.
“We are focused on helping hard working middle class families put more money in their pockets for things like healthy food, summer camps and school supplies. Taken together, the Canada Child Benefit and the Parental Sharing Benefit will provide parents expecting a child almost $51,000 more than under the previous system, over the course of that child’s first 18 years.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Across Canada, Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payments worth $23.7 billion benefit nearly 3.7 million Canadians and their families.
The CCB has had a positive impact on families’ incomes, playing a key role in reducing child poverty. There were 278,000 fewer children living in poverty in 2017 than there were in 2015.
The Canada Child Benefit and new initiatives like the Canada Workers Benefit and the Canada Housing Benefit will continue to help the middle class and grow the economy by putting more money in the pockets of Canadians.
The CCB has been recognized by the International Monetary Fund, the Bank of Canada and other experts as a key contributor to helping strengthen Canada’s middle class.
Examples of the new indexation rates for the 2019-20 benefit year:
- A single-parent family with one child aged under the age of 6 and earning $25,000 will receive an additional $143 for the upcoming benefit year, bringing their new yearly total to $6,639.
- A two-parent family with two children aged 4 and 9 and earning $55,000 will receive an additional $354 for the upcoming benefit year, bringing their new yearly total to $9,017.
- A two-parent family with two children under the age of 6 and earning $90,000 will receive an additional $263 for the upcoming benefit year, bringing their new yearly total to $7,090.
Up to 97,000 Canadian families are expected to claim the Employment Insurance parental sharing benefit per year.
In 2016-17, women represented 85 percent of all parental benefits claims made, indicating that child care duties continue to fall heavily on mothers.
In 2017, in large part due to the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, 81 percent of spouses or partners of recent mothers in Quebec claimed or intended to claim parental benefits, compared to only 12 percent in the rest of Canada.