Canada Child Benefit (CCB): For who, how and how much?

21 October 2022 by National Bank
A couple breakfast in the kitchen with their kids

Expecting a child or have a child? Do you have questions or concerns about how the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) works? Curious about the selection criteria, how to apply and how it is calculated? Here’s an overview of everything you need to know about this family allowance.

What is the Canada Child Benefit?

The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is a federal measure designed to help meet the needs of parents with one or more children under the age of 18. The payments are monthly and tax free.

The CCB was introduced in 2016 to replace the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB), including the National Child Benefit (NCB) Supplement and the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). 

Good to know: Depending on your income, you may be eligible for an additional non-taxable amount through provincial (external link) or territorial programs or if your child is eligible for the Child Disability Benefit (CDB) (external link).

Who is eligible for the Canada Child Benefit?

To receive the Canada Child Benefit, you must live with a child under the age of 18 and be primarily responsible for their day-to-day care and upbringing

If you share custody with your ex-partner, each parent receives 50% of the amount allocated if the child lives about equally with both parents. Otherwise, the parent with full custody will be able to apply for the Canada Child Benefit. If you’re a single parent, check out our other financial tips to help you manage your budget

Also note that to collect the CCB, you must be a resident of Canada for tax purposes.

In the event of the death of a beneficiary parent

In the event of the death of the beneficiary parent, the payments will be transferred to the other parent if they are still the spouse. The benefit will be recalculated based on his or her income. 

However, if the new person responsible for the child is neither the mother nor the father, they need to contact the Canada Revenue Agency to inform CRA of the changes, get a clear picture of the situation and find out if they are eligible for the CCB. 

How is the Canada child benefit calculated?

The amount of the CCB benefit is reassessed each year based on the number of children you have in your care, their age, your marital status and your adjusted family net income (AFNI). So if you want to receive the CCB, it’s important to file your tax return on time, even if your income is low or non-existent. As your family income goes up, the Canada child benefit goes down. A high income may prevent you from qualifying for the CCB. 

Good to know: Your adjusted family net income (AFNI) is your family net income minus all Universal Child Care Benefits (UCCB) and Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) benefits, plus any refunds from the UCCB or RDSP.

To find out the amount of the Canada Child Benefit you can claim, get out your previous year’s income tax return and use the calculator provided by the Canada Revenue Agency (external link). By completing a short questionnaire, you will get a fairly accurate idea of the amount, based on your current family situation. However, the result does not take into account provincial benefits and the federal child disability benefit.

How often is the Canada Child Benefit paid out?

The Canada child benefit is paid out monthly by cheque or direct deposit for a period of 12 months, from July to June. Register on the Canada Revenue Agency website (external link) to receive an automated email notification of benefit payments. This can help you better plan your spending. 

Good to know: You can request a retroactive CCB payment for a given month up to 10 years after the start of that month, for claims submitted after June 2016.

How do I apply for the Canada Child Benefit?

There are two ways of applying for the Canada Child Benefit. You can apply online via My Account on the CRA website or complete and mail in Form RC66, Canada Child Benefit Application (external link) to your tax centre. 

If you mail in your form, you should receive your first payment within 11 weeks of the date the form is received. Allow 8 weeks for an online application. 

Sign up for direct deposit to receive your government benefits in the account of your choice. It’s fast, convenient and secure!

Expecting a child?

First off, congratulations! You can apply for an automated benefit using the form attached to the birth certificate that you need to complete, when you're registering your child with your province of residence. At the same time, you can apply for the Canada Child Benefit, the GST/HST credit and access government programs & services specific to each province and territory.  See more tips on how to make sure you’re financially prepared for the baby’s arrival.

To learn more about the Canada Child Benefit, visit this Government of Canada website (external link). You’ll find a wealth of information on child benefits and other related programs that you may be eligible for. 

Have questions? We’ve got answers.

Good to know:

 It’s always best to have an emergency fund—money you’ve set aside for a rainy day. This is an account where you keep enough money to meet your needs for a few months. There are several ways to create an emergency fund.

Need advice?

Meet with an advisor who can help you achieve your savings goals.

Make an appointment

Legal disclaimer

Any reproduction, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the prior written consent of National Bank of Canada.

The articles and information on this website are protected by the copyright laws in effect in Canada or other countries, as applicable. The copyrights on the articles and information belong to the National Bank of Canada or other persons. Any reproduction, redistribution, electronic communication, including indirectly via a hyperlink, in whole or in part, of these articles and information and any other use thereof that is not explicitly authorized is prohibited without the prior written consent of the copyright owner.

The contents of this website must not be interpreted, considered or used as if it were financial, legal, fiscal, or other advice. National Bank and its partners in contents will not be liable for any damages that you may incur from such use.

This article is provided by National Bank, its subsidiaries and group entities for information purposes only, and creates no legal or contractual obligation for National Bank, its subsidiaries and group entities. The details of this service offering and the conditions herein are subject to change.

The hyperlinks in this article may redirect to external websites not administered by National Bank. The Bank cannot be held liable for the content of external websites or any damages caused by their use.

Views expressed in this article are those of the person being interviewed. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of National Bank or its subsidiaries. For financial or business advice, please consult your National Bank advisor, financial planner or an industry professional (e.g., accountant, tax specialist or lawyer).