Families with children to benefit from new measures

Joe Oliver

While the global economy remains fragile, Canada’s economy is resilient and in a stronger position than most other industrialized countries. As we return to a budgetary surplus this year, our government will put more money in the pockets of hard-working Canadians.

Recently, Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled a package of measures that will make life more affordable for Canadian families with children. The centrepiece is an expansion to the Universal Child Care Benefit.

We are increasing the monthly payment by $60, to $160 from $100, per child to families with children under age 6, or $1,920 per year. Also, families will now receive a new benefit of $60 per month, or $720 per year, for each child age 6 through 17. The benefits are expected to reach over 4 million families across the country.

We are also increasing the Child Care Expense Deduction limits by $1,000. This deduction allows child care expenses to be subtracted from taxable income if these costs are incurred because of a parent working, attending school or performing research.

The deduction is permitted on a per-child basis, and will reach $8,000 for children under age 7, $5,000 for children age 7–16 (and infirm dependent children over age 16), and $11,000 for children eligible for the Disability Tax Credit.

Another complementary policy enhances the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, which has made enrolling children in fitness activities more affordable.

The amount parents can claim will be doubled to $1,000 and, as of next year, will be refundable. The additional tax relief will be good news for families who enroll their children in fitness activities.

Finally, our government is implementing the Family Tax Cut, which will help families whose income is earned unevenly between spouses. For families with children up to 18 years old, a higher earning spouse could transfer up to $50,000 of taxable income to a spouse in a lower tax bracket, for a maximum of $2,000 a year in tax savings.

Thanks to this family package, every Canadian family with children will have more money in its pocket. Two thirds of these benefits will be enjoyed by low- and middle-income families, 25 percent to families earning less than $30,000. So this is a very fair policy.

Our government trusts Canadians to know how best to save and spend their own money. Once the budget is balanced we will continue to find ways to make their lives more affordable.