Province Doubles Support for Parents With New Ontario COVID-19 Child BenefitPublished on March 31, 2021
Province Doubles Support for Parents With New Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit
The Ontario government is providing parents with $980 million in direct support as part of the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit. Under this new round of funding, payments will be doubled to $400 per child and $500 for a child with special needs to help offset additional learning costs. This investment is part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario's Action Plan: Protecting People's Health and Our Economy.
"Since day one of this pandemic, our government has invested in safe schools, while also providing direct financial relief to hard working moms and dads," said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. "With greater access to vaccines, we will defeat this pandemic. Until we get there, our government will continue to step up to support families with additional financial support and child care relief."
The government is automatically providing this round of payments to parents who received Support for Learners payments, and they can expect money to begin flowing on April 26, 2021. Parents who did not apply for or receive the Support for Learners program can apply for the new funding starting May 3 with a deadline of May 17.
Parents will receive $400 for each child aged 0 to Grade 12 and $500 for children and youth 21 years old or younger with special needs, doubling the $200 and $250 received in the last round. This brings the government's direct support to parents since the start of the pandemic to more than $1.8 billion.
"Every parent in Ontario has faced new pressures due to COVID-19," said Minister Bethlenfalvy. "For some, that includes financial challenges caused by the pandemic. For many, it includes new expenses to support virtual learning or child care. And for all, it includes anxiety about their child's future in a world that will look different than it does today. While our government can't make this pressure go away, we can provide a helping hand. By putting more money back into parents' pockets, Ontario families will be stronger. And strong families make a strong province."
In the 2021 Budget, Ontario also announced that, to help parents with the cost of child care and return to the workforce, the government is proposing a 20 per cent enhancement to the Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE) tax credit for 2021. This would increase support from $1,250 to $1,500, on average, providing about $75 million in additional support for the child care expenses of over 300,000 families. The CARE tax credit gives eligible families the flexibility to pick the child care option that works best for them, including child care provided in centres, homes and camps.
"To fully recover, we know affordable child care will be critical," added Minister Lecce. "While we need the federal government to dramatically step up support for child care — currently supporting only 2.5 per cent of childcare costs in Ontario — our government is taking immediate action to help parents save more on their child care costs."
Healthy people are essential for a healthy economy. With vaccines being distributed, hope is on the horizon. Ontario's Action Plan: Protecting People's Health and Our Economy provides the resources necessary to finish the battle with COVID-19, building on the government's record investments to protect health and jobs during the global pandemic.