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Who can get the Canada child benefit

You must meet all of the following conditions:

  • See who is primarily responsible

    • a Canadian citizen
    • a permanent resident
    • a protected person
    • a temporary resident who has lived in Canada for the previous 18 months, and who has a valid permit in the 19th month other than one that states "does not confer status" or "does not confer temporary resident status"
    • an individual who is registered, or entitled to be registered under the Indian Act

You cannot get the Canada child benefit (CCB) for a foster child for any month in which Children's special allowances (CSA) are payable.

You may get the CCB if you live with and care for a child under a kinship or close relationship program from the governments of Canada, a province, a territory or an Indigenous governing body, as long as CSA are not payable for that child.

For more information, see Children's special allowances.

Who is primarily responsible for the care of the child

The person who is primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child should apply for the CCB. That person is responsible for things such as:

  • supervising the child’s daily activities and needs
  • making sure the child’s medical needs are met
  • arranging for child care when necessary

When there is a female parent who lives with the child

When two individuals who are spouses or common-law partners reside in the same home as the child, the female parent is presumed to be primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of all the children in the home. She should be the one applying for the CCB. The female presumption is a legislative requirement and only one payment per household can be issued under the Income Tax Act. No matter which parent receives the CCB, the amount will be the same.

However, if the other parent is primarily responsible, they should apply and attach a signed letter from the female parent stating that they are primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of all the children in the home.

If the child resides with same-sex parents, only one parent should apply for all the children in the home.

Child custody arrangements and your benefits

If a child only lives with you part of the time, you need to determine if you are considered to have shared custody.

Determine if you have shared custody

Does the child spend their time:

  • about equally between you and another individual (between 40% and 60%)

    If the child lives with you at least 40% of the time or on an approximately equal basis with you and another individual at a different address, then both individuals are considered to have shared custody for the purposes of the CCB.

    For example, the child lives with you one week and with another individual one week, or with you 4 days a week and with the other individual 3 days a week (between 40% and 60%).

  • mostly with you (more than 60% of the time)

    If the child lives with you more than 60% of the time, you are considered to have full custody for the purposes of the CCB.

    For example, the child lives with you during the week and with another individual every second weekend.

    • You should apply for the CCB for the child
  • mostly with another individual (less than 40% of the time with you)

    If the child lives less than 40% of the time with you and mostly with another individual, you are not considered an eligible individual for the purposes of the CCB and should not apply.

    For example, the child lives with you every second weekend.

  • mostly with another individual, but for a temporary period mostly with you (e.g. summer period)

    Changes in custody can sometimes be temporary. This can happen, for example, if the child usually lives with one individual, but goes to live with another individual for the summer.

    In these cases, the individual that gets custody on a temporary basis can apply to get CCB payments for that period. When the child returns to live with the other individual, they need to reapply to start getting the payments again.

If you start or end a shared custody situation, let the CRA know that your situation changed.

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