The Trudeau government took to Twitter and Instagram to announce an increase to the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) on Tuesday, amid speculation the federal parties are gearing up for a national election later this year.
But Canadian families will see the lowest annual increment to the federal child benefit since the payments were indexed to inflation, a result of low price growth as economic growth took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Families this year will receive a maximum of $6,833 per child for children under six, and $5,765 per child for older children under the age of 18.
The total value of payments will only rise by one per cent compared to the previous year, in line with the country’s headline inflation reading, or roughly $5 more per month, per child.
Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen says the benefit itself has made an impact on poverty rates and families facing a financial crunch.
The extra payments should push the overall price tag of the benefit to over $27 billion this fiscal year before falling next year without the one-time, COVID-19 payments pushing up over the overall tab.
In May, the government announced a CCB supplement of up to $1,200 in 2021 for families with children under the age of six. Households with young children who are entitled to the CCB and have a net income of $120,000 or less would receive four payments of $300 per child, the government said.
The temporary supplement, meant to help soften the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on family budgets, would reach around 1.6 million households and 2.1 million children under six.
The first installment of the supplement, which included payments for both January and April, was issued on May 28. The final two payments will be issued on July 30 and October 29, 2021.
The government says since its introduction in 2016, the CCB has lifted around 435,000 children out of poverty.
— With files from the Canadian Press