Family Law Blog

Update on the Canada Child Benefit During COVID-19

Update on the Canada Child Benefit During COVID-19

A good family lawyer helps you navigate through good times and bad. Even in the best of times, co-parenting can be challenging. With the added uncertainty of COVID-19, coupled with some recent updates to federal and provincial child benefits, there may be some  confusion. Today on the blog, we dive into what these benefits are and what changes to them mean for you. 

What is the Canada Child Benefit?

The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is a non-taxable monthly allowance for eligible families in Canada. The purpose of the CCB is to reduce the economic strain of raising kids under 18 years of age. 

You are eligible to receive the CCB if you:

  • Live with the child(ren)
  • The child(ren) is/are under 18 years old
  • You are primarily responsible for the care or upbringing of child
    • Note: if the female parent lives with the child, she is considered primarily responsible
  • You or your spouse must be resident of Canada (for tax purposes), such as a: 
    • Canadian citizen
    • Permanent resident
    • Protected person
    • Temporary resident
    • Indian, as defined in the Indian Act

After a split, which parent receives the CCB?

If you have sole custody of your child(ren), you will receive the full payment. If you share custody with your ex on a more or less equal basis, both of you are considered primarily responsible for the child’s care. Therefore, each of you will receive 50% of the payment.

If you and your partner have recently separated, you must wait for a minimum of 90 consecutive days to tell the CRA. Once notice of your separation is received, the CCB will be recalculated accordingly. You will notice changes to CCB payments in the month after your marital status changed. 

After 90 consecutive days of separation, you can notify the CRA by:

How is the CCB calculated?

The total CCB that you receive depends on:

  • The number of eligible children you have
  • Family net income from the previous tax year

To receive the CCB, both you and your spouse/common-law partner (if applicable) must have filed tax returns for the previous year. Even if you didn’t receive any income, you must file your tax return. You can calculate an estimate based on your eligibility here.

Important Updates to the CCB

As part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, there are two important updates to the CCB. 

First, the 2020 tax deadline was extended from April 30th to June 1st. For the CCB, this means that benefit payments are automatically extended by three months. This is meant to help families who were not able to file their 2019 tax returns on time. You can read more about this announcement here. If you wish to continue receiving CCB payments into the fall, you must file your 2019 taxes. 

Second, the federal government announced that CCB payments were increased for the month of May. If you received the CCB in April, you should have received an additional $300 in May. As a reminder, both parents (if applicable) must have filed 2018 tax returns to be eligible for this increase. If you did not file your 2018 taxes, do so ASAP—you might be eligible for retroactive benefits. 

For more info on the CCB, click here. If you have any questions about how changes to your marital status affect CCB payments, get in touch with a family lawyer. 

What is the BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit?

In B.C., we also have the provincially-funded B.C. Early Childhood Tax Benefit (BCECTB). Similar to the CCB, it is a non-taxable monthly allowance for qualifying families with children under 6 years of age. This benefit is administered by the CRA and is combined with the CCB payment. If you are registered for the CCB, you are automatically considered for eligibility and do not need to apply separately. 

Upcoming changes: the B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit

In October 2020, the BCECTB will be replaced by the B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit (BCCOB). This benefit will be an “enhanced” monthly benefit for parents with children under the age of 18. Again, if you are registered for the CCB, you will automatically be considered for the BCCOB. You can estimate how much you’ll receive through the BCCOB with this calculator, or check out the graph below. 

family lawyer

Source: BC Child Opportunity Benefit - Province of British Columbia Columbia

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