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A Red-Letter Day for Canadian Students

The Canada Child Benefit is timely, necessary, and appreciated

I read a great quote in the Calgary Herald a few months ago when the liberal budget was first unveiled — courtesy of University of Calgary president Elizabeth Cannon — referring to the 2016 budget as “a very good news budget”,  and she wasn’t wrong; the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is welcome financial assistance that comes at a time when it’s sorely needed: the general cost of living is way up, there’s global investor panic courtesy of the Brexit situation, and of course costs for post-secondary education continue their inevitable climb higher. This year, our recently-minted liberal government has seen fit to give low- and middle-income families a significant boost.
 
For the uninitiated, the CCB came into effect on July 16th, replacing the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the National Child Benefit Supplement and the Universal Child Care Benefit. Qualifying households may now receive up to:

  • $6,400 per year ($533 per month) for each child under the age of 6;
  • $5,400 per year ($450 per month) for each child aged 6 to 17; and
  • an additional $2,730 per year if your child qualifies for the disability amount

That’s a significant amount being doled out, and I urge anyone and everyone who thinks they may qualify to apply immediately. If you’re unsure of how much you may be eligible for, here are a couple of great resources to help calculate that amount:

The Canada Child Benefit Calculator will calculate the total CCB you’ll receive based on your net income and the number of children you have.

The Child and Family Benefits Calculator will calculate all available benefits your family will receive, including the CCB, based on the individual circumstances and your province.

Those who know me know I’ve always championed for the right of every Canadian to have access to a post-secondary education — it’s why I’m in this business — and hopefully, the extra funds from the CCB will allow more Canadian families to see it as an achievable goal; it could help to make a difference in your families’ lives.  

Something I’d really love to see is students from less affluent households and communities attending college or university in the near-future.  Hopefully, we’ll have some hard figures on that a year or so from now. If Canada wants to remain competitive on the world stage, we need to give children from every walk of life the opportunity to succeed and receive a post-secondary level education.  

In my opinion — if you haven’t guessed by now — this is a no-brainer: should you qualify for the CCB, please, make the most of it and put that money towards your child’s future education via an RESP.  Sure, there are many attractive things you could use the money for in the here-and-now — taking a family trip, buying the latest technology, and so on — but investing it in an RESP will allow you to benefit from the effect of compounding interest and tax-sheltered growth. And it doesn’t stop there: by opening an RESP you could also qualify for government grants like the Canada Education Savings Grant, the Canada Learning Bond, or various provincial grant incentives. Add those on top of your CCB contribution, and you’ll be sitting on a great investment opportunity for your child’s future. So resist the urge to splurge and think long-term; trust me, they’ll thank you for it later.   

How do you plan on leveraging the CCB, should you qualify? Will you be using it to further your child’s future possibilities, or in other ways? As always, feel free to share your comments and ideas below.

Until next time,

Start Early. Save Often. Stay Invested. ™