The provincial government has announced the replacement of the Early Childhood Tax Benefit (ECTB) with the BC Child Opportunity Benefit (BCOB), which significantly supports the cost of young families and the upbringing of their children.
While the existing ECTB only support children until they reach the age of six, the new BCOB will support children throughout their entire childhood – up to under the age of 18.
The amount provided is based on the family’s net income level and their number of children. Families earning up to $97,487 with one child and all families earning up to $114,487 with two children are eligible.
It is anticipated 290,000 BC families — the majority of families with children — will receive the new benefit.
Parents with children under 18 will be able to receive up to $1,600 per year for the first child, up to $2,600 per year with two children, and up to $3,400 per year for families with three children.
This new child benefit program is exponentially higher than the existing program for young children.
The maximum benefit over the entire childhood is $28,800 for one child, $48,000 for two children, and $64,400 for three children – up from the existing program’s allocation of $3,960, $7,920, and $11,880, respectively.
“For anyone who has raised a child, they know how transformational that kind of support will be,” said BC Minister of Finance Carole James, in her budget speech this afternoon.
“From the ability to put healthy meals on the dinner table, to being able to buy your child a good winter coat, that kind of support is going to make an incredible difference.”
Starting on October 1, 2020, the new BCOB will be accompanied by the new childhood tax benefit – merged into a single new benefit. This new refundable tax credit program is expected to cost $380 million per year, with incremental funding of $125 million in 2020/21 and $250 million in 2021/22 to transition to the new program.
James says the BCOB’s delayed launch next year is due to the need for additional time to coordinate with Canada Revenue Agency.
Another financial assistance program that will also see a benefit rate increase is the Income Assistance and Disability Assistance programs, with the rate rising by $50 per month starting April 1, 2019. This increases the assistance from $100 to $150 per month, or $1,800 per year.
The impact to the 2019/20 budget from the Income Assistance and Disability Assistance increase is $307 million.