KITCHENER -- The Canada Child Benefit received a boost Tuesday, five years after it first came into effect.

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen announced the government is increasing the amount of money available to families in order to keep up with the cost of living. The announcement was made at Rising Oaks Early Learning in Kitchener.

The facility is currently dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. Hussen said he recognizes young families have been especially impacted by the unpredictable expenses of the pandemic.

Eligible families can now receive up to $6,833 per year for children under the age of six, and up to $5,765 per year for children aged six to 17.

The money can be spent on things like short-term child-care arrangements, food, clothing, and activities.

"The bottom line is we are making investments to ensure that no one is left behind," Hussen said. "As we recover from this pandemic, we have to make sure that we do so in an inclusive and sustainable manner."
Eligibility for families is based on factors like the number children and caregivers in the household, along with the caregivers' net income.

He said the payments will be automatic, as long as your tax return has been filed.

More information on eligibility, applications and payment dates can be found on the government's website.