The Department of Justice has created easy-to-use tools to determine basic child support amounts. These tools are based on the official tables in the Federal Child Support Guidelines.
The simplified tables and the Child Support Table Look-up are easier to use than the official tables. However, they only provide general information. Only the official version is a legal document. The table amounts may need to be adjusted if there are special expenses or other circumstances such as undue hardship. The custody and parenting arrangements for children may also affect child support amounts.
The simplified tables may give you slightly different information than the Child Support Table Look-up or official tables. This is because the simplified tables are based on incomes rounded to the nearest $100.
How to use the simplified tables
- Determine the paying parent's income.
- Find the table that matches the province or territory where the paying parent lives and the number of children being supported.
- Find the income that is closest to the paying parent's income.
- Look in the columns to the right of the income to find the child support amount that matches the number of children for whom you are determining child support.
- If the paying parent's income is over $150,000, refer to the chart at the end of the simplified table to find out how much child support should be paid.
The federal tables first came into effect on May 1, 1997. They were updated on May 1, 2006 and again on December 31, 2011, to reflect more current federal, provincial and territorial tax rules.
2011 tables: Use these tables to find a basic child support amount owed from December 31, 2011 onward.
2006 tables (archived): Use these tables to find a basic child support amount owed from May 1, 2006 to December 31, 2011.
To find the right child support amount in the Federal Tables, you need to know the paying parent's annual income. The income for determining child support may be different from the income for determining taxes. You can find more information on how to calculate income in the Step-by-Step Guide. The Guide also has worksheets and instructions that you can use to calculate income.
Note that the Guide is currently being updated and the version now on our website is missing some information about pension income splitting, and the Universal Child Care Benefits. You can find information below in case you need it to adjust the income used to calculate a child support amount.
Pension income splitting
The Income Tax Act now lets pensioners transfer part of their eligible pension income to their spouse or common-law partner for income tax purposes. In this case, the spouse or common-law partner must claim the split pension amount as income for tax purposes. But it should not be included as income when calculating a child support amount. This is because the money does not actually change hands in this process. So a split-pension amount does not affect a parent's ability to pay child support.
You can find more information about pension income splitting, on the Canada Revenue Agency web site.
Universal Child Care Benefits
Universal Child Care Benefits are to help families with young children. Canada Revenue Agency pays $100 a month to primary caregivers for each child under the age of six years. These payments count as income for income tax purposes. However, they only count as income to determine a child support in certain situations.
These benefits do not count as income when you use the Federal Child Support Tables to determine a basic child support amount.
They do count as income if:
- you are determining the amount of special expenses for a child for whom you receive Universal Child Care Benefits; or
- your or the other parent is claiming undue hardship
Income affects the amount of child support to be paid. As a general rule, this would include money from a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). However, courts have discretion in some situations. A court may decide that money taken from an RRSP should not count as income when it is just a one-time or rare withdrawal. These matters are decided case by case. You may wish to get advice from a family law lawyer.
You cannot deduct the amount you put into an RRSP from the amount of income used to calculate child support.
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