Fil-Canadians give mixed reactions to historic Canadian childcare benefit

By Vanessa Merjudio, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

OTTAWA, Canada – It was Christmas in July for families across Canada this week. The Canadian government issued the biggest single payout in Canadian history.

Three billion dollars worth of lump-sum payments for the Enhanced Universal Childcare Benefit or UCCB, retroactive since January. The monthly amount was increased to $160 for kids under six.

A new benefit of $60 per month has also been added for children six to seventeen. Many welcome the increase like kababayan Raymond Salvador, who will use the money for his children’s education savings.

The father of two said it’s a welcome addition to the existing benefit they get under the government. “It helps. Anything financial could really help the family and for me, it’s really a nice surprise,” he related.

With the big checks received, many find it hard to foresee how the increase can negatively impact their taxes next year. Salvador expressed, “It’s hard to say if there’s really a negative impact on us. It’s too early to tell. But so far, all I can see is a positive impact to me and my family.”

But Canadian parents should expect to keep less than one third of the added benefit. Francesca McConnell, a mother of two said, “It could potentially push us to a different tax bracket but I think that it is what it is and we pay taxes for a reason and they go to different things and this is just one of them.”

The enhanced monthly payments also replaces a previous tax credit for children annually. And this already wipes out almost half of the UCCB increase for taxpayers.

Ena Lim, a mother of two said, “If I’m going to get taxed a lot, then it seems like I’m not really going to get that much so we’ll see how it is later. I don’t know how much I’m really getting.”

Despite being advertised well, there are still some who are in the dark about how to take advantage of this benefit. To be eligible, you must live with your child under eighteen. You must be the primary caregiver. You must be a Canadian resident. And your spouse must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, protected person or temporary resident.

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