Canada child benefit - Before you apply


Are you eligible?

To be eligible for the Canada child benefit (CCB), you must meet all of the following conditions:

  • You must live with the child, and the child must be under 18 years of age.
  • You must be primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child.
  • You must be a resident of Canada for tax purposes.
  • You or your spouse or common-law partner must be:
    • 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
    • an Indian within the meaning of the Indian Act

What benefits or credits could you get?

When you apply, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will determine if you are eligible for:

The CRA will also register your child for the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit.

When should you apply?

Apply for the CCB as soon as possible after:

  • your child is born
  • a child starts to live with you
  • you or your spouse or common-law partner meet the eligibility conditions

CCB payments can begin the month after you become eligible, as long as you are still eligible at the beginning of the current month.

You should apply even if:

  • you share custody of your child
  • your child is living with you for a determined temporary period of time
  • your current family net income is too high to get the CCB (you might be eligible for other benefits)

Although the Canada child tax benefit and the universal child care benefit are no longer being issued, you can still request an adjustment for previous years, if you were eligible.

Who should apply?

The individual who is primarily in charge of the care and upbringing of the child should apply for the CCB. 

You are primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child if you:

  • supervise the child’s daily activities and needs
  • make sure the child’s medical needs are met 
  • arrange for child care when necessary

For CCB purposes, when a male and a female parent live together in the same household as the child, the female parent is usually considered to be primarily responsible for the child. In this situation, the female parent should apply. If the male parent is primarily responsible, he must attach a note to his application from the female parent. The note must state that he is primarily responsible for all of the children in the household.

If two parents of the same sex live together in the same household as the child, one parent should apply for the CCB for all of the children in the household.

You are not considered primarily responsible if the child is legally, physically, or financially maintained by a child welfare agency. For more information on this situation, see children's special allowances.

Do you share custody?

You share custody if the child lives with you and another individual in separate residences on a more or less equal basis.

The child might regularly alternate between residences in the following cycles:

  • four days with one person and three days with the other
  • one week with one person and the next week with the other
  • any other regular alternating cycle

Both individuals must be primarily responsible for the child's care and upbringing when the child lives with them. Each eligible individual will get 50% of the payment he or she would have received if the child lived with him or her all of the time. If you have just entered into a shared custody situation you have to apply for benefits.

Although a court order might state which individual should receive the CCB, the CRA is bound by the Income Tax Act, which is the legal authority the CRA uses to determine who eligible individuals are.

If you start or stop sharing custody of a child, let us know as soon as possible. For more information, see keep your information up to date.

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