How to Maximize your Canada Child Benefit (CCB)

In 2017 when our son was born, we got a small cheque from the Canada Child Benefit a few weeks later (I think it was a few weeks later- to be honest I can’t remember and I blame it on my mom-brain during my maternity leave in Canada). We got a small lump sum payment because our income was higher for the 2016 tax year. It was a bit disappointing and I wanted to learn how to maximize the Canada Child Benefit.

How to Maximize the Canada Child Benefit

I wasn’t expecting very much for 2018.  However, in 2018, we got our first Canada Child Benefit (CCB) monthly cheque and it felt great!  We had lower income for 2017 tax year because of my maternity and parental leave and therefore we were able to receive more Canada Child Benefit payments.

The amount paid still isn’t that great, but anything is better than nothing, and I am grateful to receive money to help contribute to baby GYM’s RESP or offset the cost of baby expenses.

For 2019, we got an even higher amount for the CCB because my income was low in 2018 from parental leave.

In this post on the Canada Child Benefit, I’ll explain:

  • What the Canada Child Benefit Is
  • How to apply for the CCB
  • How much you can expect to receive from the CCB
  • How to use the CCB Calculator to determine your CCB clawback
  • How to maximize your Canada Child Benefit

Setting up the Canada Child Benefit was one of the financial checklist items for us as new parents.

What is the Canada Child Benefit?

The Canada Child Benefit is a non-taxable (that means it is not included as income) benefit paid to families with children under the age of 6 and a different amount for children aged 6 to 17.  The CCB is paid on a monthly basis via a cheque (or I guess direct deposit if you have arranged that.  I like the good ol’ fashioned cheques).

If the amount you receive is less than $20 a month, the government of Canada will just pay your Canada Child Benefit Amount in a lump sum.

What are the Canada Child Benefit payment dates?  If you are not paid via lump sum, the CCB is usually paid on the 20th of the month via cheque or direct deposit.  The CCB amount your receive is dependent on your net family income for the previous year.

Here are the exact dates for the Child Tax Benefits for this year.

The CCB has replaced the previous UCCB (Universal Child Care Benefit) and the CCTB (Canada Child Tax Benefit) as of 2016.  The government of Canada likes to confuse us with new acronyms every few years, it seems.

The ‘calendar year’ for the CCB rolls from July until June of the following year.

How to Apply for the CCB

Applying for the CCB is a must, as part of the financial checklist for new parents.

To apply for the CCB, all you have to do is to go to CRA’s (Canada Revenue Agency) My Account and click on apply for CCB or you can complete this form

The primary caretaker of the child is eligible to apply.

By default, the Canadian government usually considers this to be the woman.  I applied for this automatically with the ‘newborn package’ of things to sign up for after our baby was born (it was an automatic sign up as I provided the government with my SIN).

You have to have completed the previous year’s taxes to be eligible to receive the CCB.

Canada Child Benefit Amount 2023

So how much can you receive with the CCB?  It is a great government benefit if you can qualify for it.

Here’s a chart of the Canada Child Benefit amount.

Here’s the maximum that Canadian families can receive from the CCB from July 2023 until June 2024 based on the 2022 tax returns :

  • $7,437 per year or $619.75/month for each child under the age of 6
  • $6,275 per year or $522.92/ month for each child aged 6 to 17
  • You can receive an additional $3,173 per year if your child qualifies for the Child Disability Benefit.

In addition, there are additional benefits that are also paid out depending on your eligibility and the province or territory that you live in.

The maximum amount of the Canada Child Benefit is adjusted to inflation on an annual basis.

This maximum amount gets clawed back depending on your family’s net income, or the “adjusted family net income (AFNI)”.  The higher the net income, the more is clawed back. The amount is adjusted for inflation each year.

Calculating how much you can receive with the Canada Child Benefit is complicated and depends on a number of factors, including how many children you have (under 6 and over 6) and how much your family net income is.

The CCB Calculator

The Government of Canada has a handy CCB Calculator, as known as the Child and Family Benefits Calculator.

The amount you get for the current year is based on your previous tax year’s net income.

Have this information handy when you input your details into the CCB Calculator:

  • The province or territory that you live in
  • The number of children you have (haha, you should have this information handy, I hope)
  • Your children’s birth dates
  • Whether you are divorced, married etc. and if you share custody of your child(ren)
  • Whether your child is a qualified disabled dependent
  • Your net income
  • Your spouse’s net income
Canada Child Benefit Calculator

This goes through a number of questions including your net income, your spouse’s income, and the number of children you have and when they were born, etc.  It provides a good estimation of your potential monthly CCB payments to you.

When your AFNI (Adjusted Family Net Income) is higher than $31,120, the government starts to reduce your payment, to the tune of $0 payment if you have a AFNI over $200,000(for example in British Columbia).

As mentioned, CCB payments are recalculated each July, based on the previous tax year.  For example, for July 2021 to June 2022, the Canada Child Benefit Amount will be based on your 2020 income taxes.

In BC for the 2022 tax year, if you and your spouse have a AFNI (combined net income) of more than something like $220,000, you will be completely cut off from any Canada Child Benefit amount if you have two children under six.

This means you will get zero dollars of CCB.

If you make $218,000 between the two of you, you can get $151.00 over the whole year (which will be sent in one cheque).  This is compared to $196 a month that many Canadians can receive.

Canada Child Benefit Reductions for 2021-2022

Number of Eligible ChildrenAFNI between $32,028 and $67,426AFNI > $69,395
17%Add an additional 3.2%
213.5%Add an additional 5.7%
319%Add an additional 8%
423%Add an additional 9.5%

As you can see, the reduction of CCB calculation is complicated and depends on the number of children you have, your children’s ages, and your adjusted family net income.  There is a way to maximize your Canada Child Benefit of course.

The Key to Maximizing your Canada Child Benefit

The key to maximizing your Canada Child Benefit is to lower your family’s net income.  Or basically lowering the number found on line 236 in your previous year’s tax return.

To reiterate, to maximize your Canada Child Benefit you need to reduce your adjusted family net income, or AFNI).

Here are ways deductions you can use in order to maximize your Canada Child Benefit:

  • RRSP deductions
  • Union/ Professional dues
  • Childcare expenses
  • Business loss allowable deductions
  • Moving expenses
  • Carrying charges and interest (schedule 4)

Some of these deductions cannot be controlled (for example, childcare expenses are fixed), but RRSP deductions can be adjusted!  If you haven’t maxed out your RRSP for many years and you do a big max out and your family’s net income decreases substantially, you will get a big CCB payment for the following year.

Even if you use the Canada Child Benefit calculator and you’re not eligible to receive much (e.g. if you have high income for that year), you should apply for the CCB anyway because the government automatically calculates how much you are eligible to receive every year.

Your Adjusted Family Net Income (AFNI) may fluctuate or change every year (for example, if you had a year of EI payments from parental leave then your net income will likely be much lower).

Related: How to Manage your Money in Canada

Therefore, with regards to the RRSP vs TFSA debate that always get hashed around in the personal finance world… in this case, contributing to an RRSP trumps the TFSA can help you receive more non-taxable income from the Canadian government.  For Canadian families with children, this can be an important reason to encourage you to maximize your RRSP.

Canada Child Benefit Summary

Hopefully this post helped enlighten you on what the Canada Child Benefit is, how to apply for this great CCB government benefit and how much you can expect to receive as a Canada Child Benefit payment.  This post also shared how to use the CCB calculator  on the website to determine your CCB clawback.  Finally, this post shared tips on how to maximize your Canada Child Benefit, namely reducing the amount in line 236 of your tax return.

Obviously, working during your maternity leave will affect the amount you get for your CCB the following year.

The Canada Child Benefit is a great benefit for Canadians, and it makes sense to try and lower your net income as much as you can in order to be eligible for a well padded CCB payment. Now you’ll have more money to funnel into your children’s savings accounts or your children’s RESP.

Who doesn’t love free money?  Well, technically not free since we pay for it with our taxes!

If you live in British Columbia, don’t forget to cash in on the $1200 BCTESG (you con’t have to contribute towards the RESP to get this money).

You could use that CCB money to contribute to a a Target Date Justwealth RESP and then get 20% back from the government via the CESG. How’s that for churning?

Readers, are you a fan of the Canada Child Benefit? 

Any tips or tricks to maximize the CCB amounts?

Here's a complete guide on how to maximize the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) so that you can get more free money from the government for having kids. Kids are expensive and if you can maximize the benefit amount it can really help. One way is by contributing to your RRSP. Find out more by clicking this pin. #frugal #RRSP #CCB #Canada #savemoney
How to Maximize the Canada Child Benefit- A step by step guide of how to maximize your CCB payment from the Government of Canada by lowering your adjusted net family income (AFNI)
A complete guide on how to maximize the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) so that you can get more free money from the government for having kids. Kids are expensive and if you can maximize the benefit amount it can really help. One way is by contributing to your RRSP. Find out more by clicking this pin. #frugal #RRSP #CCB #Canada #savemoney
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21 thoughts on “How to Maximize your Canada Child Benefit (CCB)”

  1. Hey GYM,

    Great post. I’ve long advocated for maxing out your RRSP’s or if you cant afford to max – at least up it a bit to get this free (TAX FREE) money from the government.

    I wasn’t sure how the daycare/childcare expenses worked. This will be our first year claiming a big portion of that (probably 12k or more), does this amount actually reduce your net income- or do you just get a tax credit for daycare costs? It may also be different per province..not sure…I’ll have to look it up..haha

    • @Jordan- It sounds like you can just straight up add up the childcare expenses per month and x 12 (or whatever it is for the tax year fo 2018) and it reduces your net income. Found this on a Turbotax blog:

      Eligible Child Care Expenses
      You can claim child care costs paid to daycare centres, day nursery schools, caregivers such as nannies, day camps, and overnight boarding schools and camps that provide lodging. To be eligible, day camps and day sports schools must have a primary purpose of providing child care.

      In Canada if you pay an individual person, such as a nanny or babysitter, you must provide their social insurance number. Note that the CRA requires proof of expenses in the form of receipts, and that you may be audited.

      “Parents should take precautions when choosing a daycare or child care provider. One of these is to make sure ahead of time that proper receipts will be issued. Child care providers are required to issue receipts showing either their business number or social insurance number.

      Ask for a receipt each month,” advises Robert Stone, a personal tax professional and founder of Mr., Inc. “It is better to ask ahead of time than to try to get receipts at the end of the year.”

    • I believe there is a cap…it is scaled back based on income..but the beauty thing is it’s based on NET lets say you made 150k, you could put 27,000 into an RRSP, and your spouse/partner could put 27,000 in as well bringing your NET income down under 100k. Then you tack on another 15k+ in childcare expenses, and your net income is down even more 🙂

      • @Jordan- That’s if you have $27K to throw into an RRSP AND if you have RRSP deduction room (me- maxed out, husband- maxed out). Damn I knew I should have not used my RRSP deductions in my 20’s!!

    • @The Luxe Strategist- Jordan couldn’t have said it any better- thanks Jordan! It’s net income rather than gross income- tax deductions like the above mentioned will reduce the gross income. However, if your family NET income is $200,000, you do get a big fat zero. At $190,000 net family income you get $40 for the whole year. At $150,000 net income you get $1100 for the year. At $100,000 net income for family you get around $3600 for the year. At $50,000 net income you get around $6000 for the year, or almost the eligible maximum at $450 a month. Basically $500 a month is a lot and the net income will be super low (and basically not sustainable in a HCOL area like Vancouver) in order to get this amount from the governement- that’s not what we are getting lol.

  2. So cool Canada has this benefit payment for the parents. More money coming in and plus it’s non-taxable, almost like getting free money. Are their any limited contributions in rolling over the CCB into the RESP? Using it for a college fund sounds like a great idea.

    • @Kris- I think you can do whatever you want with the CCB payments, like buy diapers or buy baby food or even contribute to the RESP. There is a max RESP contribution room though.

  3. Hi GYM, great summary.
    The programs have changed so many times over the years! But it seems to be very generous these days:)

    • @Caroline- Yes, the names have changed so much. I don’t remember how much my mom got for us when we were kids but she saved it up in some GIC’s for us. We are doing the same (saving/investing it) for our kid. It’s generous if one is low income but for average middle class $100,000 to $150,000 annual income it’s not that much.

  4. @Helen- Hah, yes, I guess it’s like the tax refund- some people like to blow it on a vacation. Or maybe they squander it because they consider it ‘extra’ money from their day to day budget?

  5. Intriguing contrasts with what we have in the UK. I think your system is fairer and more generous.
    Does the system have an assessment of if you have enough assets you are not eligible for benefits?
    The UK has that for some benefits so it becomes a bit of a minefield.

    • @Gentleman’s Family Finances- Unfortunately it is not based on assets. That’s why some people find the system unfair- there are lots of people who have $5 million homes but are ‘students’ or ‘homemakers’ and therefore do not have any income (here in Canada, perhaps overseas yes) and yet they get the financial benefits from the government. I understand Australia has an asset based assessment as well.

  6. nice post!

    I love the ccb program. free money! I do find it a little flawed though. One of our friends is a stay at home mom (her choice) and they get a tonne from the ccb (2 kids). Me and the wife both work and yet we get “penalized” and get less….. Ahhh well…. lol

    she’s on mat leave currently so our ccb payments should be way higher next yr. We plan to hammer her rrsps when she gos back.

    cheers and congrats on maxing both yours and his rrsp!

    • @Rob- I hear ya! In Canada, the more you work harder the less you get (ha ha, can you tell I am a bit jaded). Our CCB payments should be way higher next year too, I’m excited. I have a DBP so that’s why my RRSP room is so low, so it’s not too difficult to max it out.

  7. So how does it work.Do the CCB check the status if the children..Do they check the School etc..What do you need to do to prove you have children..What if you childrdn are not Canadian can you still get money.

  8. No kiddos here (yet) but this was interesting. I’ve always wanted to know more about how CCB works — it’s always been kind of mysterious to me. This helped me understand it a bit more which I hope will be useful for us some day!


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