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Having a baby?

Baby girl

If you’ve liked our Facebook page, you may have noticed that two of us here at SimpleTax are expecting a baby any day now (yeah, great timing)!

Since I’ve got babies on the brain, I figured now is an excellent time to write something about how life changes (from a tax perspective) once you have children.

Benefit payments

First, the federal government offers several benefit programs for people with children:

  • Maternity and parental leave programs, offered through EI.
  • The Canada Child Benefit (CCB), a monthly non-taxable payment for most families. This benefit is based on adjusted family income, so you might not be eligible if your family income is too high.
  • The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). This grant gives you 20% on every dollar of the first $2,500 you save in your child’s RESP each year. In other words, you’ll receive up to $500 per year for simply saving for your child’s education. Depending on your family’s income, you could also receive an additional 10% or 20% on the first $500 you save in your child’s RESP each year.

The CRA has a helpful list of the other available benefits.

Tax credits

Starting the year your child is born, you can also claim certain credits:

  • The children’s fitness and arts tax credits for up to $500 in eligible fitness expenses and $250 in eligible arts expenses. You also qualify for an additional $500 if your child has a disability. These credits will be eliminated for 2017 and later tax years.
  • The family caregiver amount for infirm children, a credit of about two thousand dollars if you have a child with an infirmity or disability.
  • Combined medical expenses of you, your partner, and your minor children that exceed the lesser of about two thousand dollars or 3% of your net income.
  • If your child has a disability, you can claim his or her disability tax credit. Make sure you have his or her physician complete a form T2201. Once you have that form registered on your file with the CRA, you’ll be able to transfer the credit.

How to register and apply for all this stuff

Regardless of your province, you can apply for EI through Service Canada.

Registering your baby’s birth is mandatory in all provinces and territories in Canada. And while applying for a SIN, child benefits, and a birth certificate are optional, you may want to consider it. A SIN is required to set up an RESP, most families are eligible for the CCB, and you’ll eventually need a birth certificate to apply for your child’s passport.

Here’s how to apply, depending on your province:

Alberta: the hospital or midwife will give you a registration form to complete; usually they will send it to vital statistics for you. You can apply for a SIN and CCB at the same time, however you'll need to apply for a birth certificate separately.

BC: you can register the birth of your child online. You can apply for a SIN, CCB, and a birth certificate at the same time.

Manitoba: the hospital or midwife will give you a registration form to complete; usually they will send it to vital statistics for you. You can apply for a SIN and CCB at the same time, however you'll need to apply for a birth certificate separately.

New Brunswick: if you give birth in a hospital you'll complete a registration form and the hospital will send it to vital statistics. If you give birth at home, you'll need to contact vital statistics for a copy of the form and file it within 14 days. You can apply for a SIN and CCB at the same time, however you'll need to apply for a birth certificate separately.

Newfoundland & Labrador: you'll need to complete a birth registration within 30 days. You can apply for a SIN and CCB at the same time, however you'll need to apply for a birth certificate separately.

Northwest Territories: you'll need to complete a birth registration within 30 days. You'll need to apply for a SIN, CCB, and a birth certificate separately.

Nova Scotia: Most regional hospitals have kiosks where you can register your baby's birth and apply for a SIN, CCB, and birth certificate online. If you don't give birth at a hopsital a paper registration for is available (which you can use to apply for a SIN and the CCB, but you'll need to apply for a birth certificate separately).

Nunavut: You'll need to register your child's birth. You'll need to apply for a SIN, CCB, and a birth certificate separately.

Ontario: you can register the birth of your child online. You can apply for a SIN, CCB, and a birth certificate at the same time.

Prince Edward Island: the hospital will give you a registration form to complete; usually they will send it to vital statistics for you. You can apply for a SIN and CCB at the same time, but you'll need to apply for a birth certificate separately.

Québec: the hospital or birth centre will give you a registration form to complete; usually they will send it to the Directeur de l'état civil for you. You can apply for a SIN and CCB at the same time. If you don't give birth at a hospital or birth center, the link provides more detailed instructions. You'll need to apply for a birth certificate separately.

Saskatchewan: if you give birth in a hospital, the hospital will give you a registration form to complete; usually they will send it to vital statistics for you. If you give birth at home, you'll need to contact vital statistics for a copy of the form and file it within 15 days. You'll need to apply for a SIN, CCB, and a birth certificate separately.

Yukon: You must register your child's birth within 30 days. You'll need to apply for a SIN, CCB, and a birth certificate separately.

Still have questions? Ask away on Facebook or send us a tweet on Twitter.

1 Updated September 28, 2016 I updated the post to take into account legislative changes to child benefits and tax credits between when this post was drafted (in 2014) and today.

2 Updated January 18, 2017 I updated several broken links in the post.

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