If you’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you may be able to take advantage of the child disability benefit offered through the federal or provincial governments, which are similar to the kinds of programs available in many Western countries. If you qualify for benefits, your child is covered whether he or she is an infant, in daycare, pre- or elementary school, or older up to the age of 18.
Each of the programs is funded by the Canadian government or your provincial government through the collection of taxes and other resources, plus public-private partnerships with industry and charitable organizations, among others.
What Child Disability Benefit Programs are offered in Canada?
We get this question all the time, and are happy to report your federal and provincial governments offer many child and family support programs administered through Service Canada or its Services for Families and Children program. These include:
1. The Canada Child Tax Benefit, which is a tax-free monthly payment for eligible families with dependants under the age of 18. This benefit may include the Child Disability Benefit, which assists families caring for children suffering from severe and prolonged disabilities, and/or the National Child Benefit Supplement, which helps low-income families with children.
2. The Child Care Subsidy. This program offers comfort to low-income families through financial assistance to pay for all or part of licensed child care services for dependent children – a vital component for any caregiver who works outside the home.
3. If you’re a parent or caregiver whose income is low, or non-existent, then you do not have to make contributions to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) without worrying about negative affect to CPP benefits if the years in question were spent caring for a child seven and younger. This is called the Child Rearing Drop-Out Provision.
4. The Child Support Services is another child disability benefit available to Canadian parents or caregivers, and one we highly recommend to our clients. These services help caregivers obtain important court orders or legal agreements they may need to obtain child support.
5. If you are a low to moderate-wage earner with dependants 18 and younger, then you may benefit from the Child Disability Benefit, which provides a non-taxable supplement to families to offset the costs of raising such dependants suffering from a severe and prolonged physical or mental disability.
6. Early Childhood Services and Special Needs, which is designed for children under six who have a disability, and whom may qualify for three years of early learning support through this program.
7. The Universal Child Care Benefit gives financial assistance to all Canadian families with young children, regardless of family circumstances, location, or preferences. Through this program, parents can receive $100 a month for each child under the age of six.
The Canadian government’s Services for Families and Children also offer two other benefits and programs to consider:
1. The Cadets Program, administered by the Department of National Defense. This is for young people between the ages of 12 and 18 and gives them the chance to develop leadership skills, physical stamina and other skills, and make new and positive relationships while participating in many interesting and challenging activities.
2. The Junior Canadian Rangers Program understands the benefits of fostering traditional cultures and lifestyles to young people living in remote and isolated communities, and helps build them through many physical and educational programs. This is another program supported by the Department of National Defense and the Canadian Forces, with assistance from other government agencies and private corporations, including Northern Affairs Canada.