Fact Sheet - 2017 Update to the Federal Child Support Tables

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This Fact Sheet provides general information about the 2017 update to the Federal Child Support Tables (Federal Tables). Additional information is also available on the Justice Canada website at http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/fl-df/child-enfant/ft-tf.html.

What are the Federal Tables?

The Federal Tables are part of the Federal Child Support Guidelines (regulations under the Divorce Act).

The Federal Tables are based on a mathematical formula that takes into account income as well as federal/provincial/territorial tax rules to produce child support amounts reflecting ability to pay. A software program that uses this formula generates basic monthly child support amounts for families of one to six or more children, for income levels in $1,000 increments (up to $150,000) for each province and territory. There is a separate set of tables for each province and territory because of differences in provincial and territorial tax rules.

When did the updated Federal Child Support Tables come into force? 

The updated Federal Tables came into force on November 22, 2017. 

Why were the Federal Tables updated?

The support amounts in the Federal Tables are based partly on the amount of taxes parents have to pay. The federal, provincial and territorial tax parameters have changed since the Federal Tables were last updated in 2011.  

Updating the Federal Tables based on more recent tax rules (2016) ensures that they continue to reflect a parent’s capacity to pay. It upholds the Federal Guidelines’ objective to establish a fair standard of support for children so that they continue to benefit from the financial means of both their parents after separation or divorce. 

How were the new table amounts generated?

The updated amounts were generated by simply using the federal child support formula and incorporating the most recent tax rules (2016). 

Do the child support amounts in the Federal Tables change as a result of the 2017 update?

When changes to tax rules affect a parent’s capacity to pay child support, it may have an impact on the amount of child support to be paid.  

Jurisdictions have made various changes to their tax rules since the Federal Tables were last updated. As a result of those changes, child support amounts in the updated Federal Tables may have either increased or decreased from those set out in the previous Federal Tables (2011).

Were provincial and territorial child support guidelines amended as a result of the update to the Federal Tables?

All provinces and territories, except for Quebec, have adopted the Federal Tables in their provincial child support laws (Quebec has different child support rules and tables). The updated table amounts came into force at the same time at the federal, provincial and territorial levels.  

Do the updated Federal Table amounts include the Canada Child Benefit?

No. Benefits and credits for children, such as the Canada Child Benefit, are generally not included in the calculation of the Table amounts. These benefits and credits are deemed to be government’s contribution to children.   

Will the updated child support amounts included in the Federal Tables affect child support orders made using the 2011 Federal Tables?

The updated table amounts will not automatically apply to a child support order made before November 22, 2017. However, if the updated child support amount is different from the amount in an existing order, it could be considered a "change in circumstances." Parents could ask a court to review the order.

Which Federal Tables should I use to calculate retroactive child support?

If you need to determine how much child support is owed for a period of time between December 31, 2011 and November 21, 2017, use the 2011 Federal Tables to find that amount.

The updated 2017 Federal Tables should be used to determine child support owed for periods from November 22, 2017 onward.   

Where can I find the official legal version of the Federal Tables?

The official legal version of the Federal Tables is found on:

What is the difference between the Simplified Tables and the official legal version of the Federal Tables?

The Simplified Tables are a public legal education and information tool. They are intended to provide general information which can be used to estimate a child support amount. They are not intended to replace the official Federal Tables. Only the official Federal Tables is a legal document. 

Have the tools to help calculate child support available on Justice Canada’s website been updated?

Yes. Child support tools found on the Justice Canada’s website were updated to reflect the changes to the Federal Tables. These include: 

The child support tools for the 2011 Federal Child Support Tables, including the 2011 Simplified Tables and the 2011 Child Support Table Look-up, remain available on Justice Canada’s website.   

Learn more about the free information about divorce and separation available from Justice Canada in this short video, or visit our website: Canada.ca/family-law

Disclaimer: This is not a legal text and does not provide legal advice. As family law can be complex, it is usually best for individuals to get advice about their situation from a family law lawyer. These lawyers are in the best position to give legal advice about rights and obligations. Most of the provincial and territorial bar associations offer Lawyer Referral Services. Some lawyers may give an initial consultation for free or at a reduced rate, or individuals may decide to consult a lawyer just a few times to help with certain aspects of their specific situation.