Grits to Boost Child Benefit Payments

The federal government is reportedly poised to announce plans to boost payments made to families under the Canada child benefit program Tuesday.

Reports had the government foreshadowing the increase in the fall economic update, which will be tabled Tuesday, and provide more details later this week.

The benefit was introduced in 2016 and gives most families with children under the age of 18 a monthly cheque.

The benefit offers a maximum $533.33 a month for each child under six — and $450 for each child aged six to 17 — in a family earning less than $30,000 annually, and is adjusted downward as a family's net income increases.

The payment is not currently indexed to inflation, something the Liberal government said it would do starting in 2020, if re-elected. Indexation could be one of the levers the government uses to boost payouts.

During the 2015 federal election, the Liberals under Justin Trudeau touted the means-tested benefit — which replaced the universal child care benefit introduced by the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper— as a powerful poverty fighting tool, estimating some 300,000 children would be lifted out of poverty after the money from the $23-billion program started to be paid out.

Some experts have publicly questioned that figure, and there are also many eligible Indigenous families not applying for the benefit.