Financial checklists when having children

Before your child arrives

Deal with outstanding debt. If you have any debts, make a plan to pay them off.

Set up a dedicated savings account to help pay for the costs of having children. Start saving early for child-related costs, such as nursery furniture and a car seat.

Discuss maternity and parental leave options with your spouse or partner. Decide if one of you will take all of the available leave or if you’ll split it.

Start looking into child care options and costs. Figure out which option will best suit your needs.

Request a Record of Employment from your employer. You’ll need this to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

Apply for maternity and parental benefits. Apply for EI or the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan as soon as you stop working.

Save for your child’s education. Start saving for your child’s education early. This will make it easier to reach your goal.

Review your employer’s benefits.

Find out:

  • how much paid maternity or parental leave you can get
  • if you can add any vacation time or sick days you’re owed to your paid parental leave
  • if your employer offers a salary top-up
  • if you have to pay for health and dental benefits yourself
  • how parental leave will affect your pension

Expenses to consider when creating or updating your budget:

  • child care costs or lost income
  • upfront costs such as diapers, clothing, a crib or a car seat
  • extra savings in case you plan on extending your maternity or parental leave
  • an emergency fund
  • adoption or fertility treatment costs
  • income tax you may have to pay if you get extra income on top of your maternity or parental benefits
  • pension contributions to make up for contributions you skipped while on leave
  • ongoing costs such as clothing, sports activities and music lessons
  • additional insurance coverage
  • post-secondary education savings

After your child arrives

Apply for a birth certificate and register your child’s birth. You must register in the province or territory of birth. First Nations parents must also register the birth with their Band Membership. Apply for a birth certificate in your province or territory.

Apply for your child's Social Insurance Number (SIN). Learn how to apply for a Social Insurance Number.

Apply for a health card for your child. Contact your provincial or territorial health authority to find out how to apply for a health card.

Open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). Find out if you qualify for any federal or provincial or territorial grants or benefits to help pay for your child’s education. The Canada Education Savings Grant is money the federal government adds to your child’s RESP to help their savings grow. If your family has a lower income, you can get money from the Canada Learning Bond without having to put in any of your own money.

Review your employer’s health insurance plan. Add your child to the plan if possible.

Review your insurance coverage. Consider if you need more insurance to help your family in case something happens to you.

Apply for child and family benefits:

  • Canada Child Benefit
  • Child Disability Tax Benefit

Update your tax forms with your employer. Have one parent claim the child amount or the amount for an eligible dependant.

Claim the child care expenses deduction on your income tax form, if applicable.

Write or update your will. Review your estate plan, including your will.

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