Government Takes Action to Ensure That Parents Who Share Parenting Time Continue to Receive Benefits
August 29, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada
The Government of Canada introduced the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) in 2016 to give low- and middle-income families more money each month, tax-free, to help with the cost of raising children. By giving more support to the families that need it most, the CCB is helping parents invest in the things that give children a good start in life—like a safe place to live, healthy food, music lessons or sports camps.
To recognize the special circumstances of parents who share parenting time of a child, the tax rules allow these parents to share benefits. This has been the practice since 2011, with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) determining who qualifies, based on an interpretation of shared parenting as meaning that a child generally lives with the parent between 40% and 60% of the time.
Recent Federal Court of Appeal decisions, however, go against the CRA's well-established practice. Based on the Court's more narrow interpretation of shared parenting—which it interprets as a child residing with the parent between 45% and 55% of the time—a number of parents who share parenting time may be prevented from sharing the benefits to which they are entitled.
Today, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the Government of Canada's intention to propose an amendment to the Income Tax Act to clarify eligibility for the CCB. This clarification will ensure that benefits paid to families in shared-parenting arrangements are not stopped or interrupted. The Government intends to introduce in Parliament the legislative proposal accompanying this news release at the earliest opportunity.
"The Canada Child Benefit and similar credits provide extra support to parents who need it the most. This money makes a huge difference in the lives of children and has helped lift nearly 300,000 children out of poverty. To make sure all parents who qualify continue to receive this support, our Government intends to clarify the legislation. Together, we'll continue to invest in what matters most—a better future for our kids and grandkids."
The Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance
- Introduced in 2016, the CCB is a monthly, tax-free benefit designed to help families with the high cost of raising children.
- Since its launch, the CCB has helped lift nearly 300,000 children out of poverty.
- Nine out of 10 families get more under the CCB than they did under the old system of child benefits and, for the 2019-20 benefit year, families benefitting will receive on average around $7,000.
- Overall, Canadian families are receiving about $24 billion in CCB payments annually.
- Backgrounder: Ensuring the Availability of the Canada Child Benefit to Families in Shared Parenting Time Arrangements
- Draft Legislative Proposal and Explanatory Notes
Media may contact:
Director of Media Relations
Office of the Minister of Finance
Department of Finance Canada