In 2005 when my son was just born. Things were very different in terms of money from the Government.
So with the birth of my new son a few months back, it dawned on me that I might be able to “qualify” for the “Child Tax Credit” (or family allowance) program up here. What follows is what I have found out.
Just as background, it used to be there was a Universal (i.e. everyone got it) Family Allowance program in Canada for children under the age of 18 (and disabled children). That worked well, and thus the government decided they needed to “tinker” with it (ok, ok, I’ll keep my commentary to a minimum). The government agreed that higher-income Canadians didn’t need subsidies for having kids, so they started “clawing” the money back (this was also back when you got a Tax Credit or break for having kids too, which has since disappeared too). The clawback was on a rolling scale, and if you were in the highest tax bracket, you had to give it all back. This meant you had this surreal scenario where the government might send you $100 a month, and then you would owe $1200 in taxes at the end of the year because of the money they sent you.
A while ago (I can’t remember), that whole system was scrapped (along with Child Tax Credits) in favour of a new system, which was again “tax-free” grants given to folks who had kids and “needed” it. For a while, I have not “needed” this money (at least in the Government’s eyes), and I thought, fair enough.
When it seemed apparent that my son was going to arrive at Christmas, I figured I’d check to see whether I might now be entitled to some money, and sure enough, I did. I found a nifty little calculator online, and I input my family’s vital statistics, and sure enough, yes, I was entitled to some money, FANTASTIC! I needed to have all forms in for July 15th to qualify to get any money this year (keep that in mind).
My son was born. WHOO HOO! We had to apply to get a certificate of live birth, which you use to create a birth certificate with, but you can use the first certificate as a birth certificate for a little while (complicated, eh?). We apply for the certificate of live birth. June rolls around, and still no certificate (and I can assure you my son is still here, as are his sisters). I read the forms over again. I can use a BAPTISMAL certificate to apply for the Family Allowance, SWEET! It was all mailed in with all the correct forms.
July rolls around. We get a form letter back from the government. Due to your income, blah, blah, blah, no Family Allowance for you! Oh?!?!? Darn, oh well, it would have been nice to get, but that’s the way it falls. I grumble and file the document.
August rolls around, and another letter from the government stated that YES, I am allowed to have a Family allowance cheque, and in fact, they OWED me money for the past three years because they hadn’t paid me!!! Whoo Hoo! Bring that FILTHY LUCRE my way, Sweet!
So, I implore you to apply for any government programs. The worse they can say is NO (or NO and YES the way they did to me). I am still expecting a third mailing that said the second mailing was wrong, and they want me to pay THEM money! (so I will be hiding under my rock for a while too).