So You Want To Have A Baby? Here's How Much It Actually Costs To Raise A Child In Canada

Benefits from the federal government can help with expenses! 💸

​Person holding a newborn baby's hand.
Senior Creator

Person holding a newborn baby's hand.

If you want to have a baby, there are quite a few things that you need to budget and plan for so you can save money.

Whether you're already expecting or just thinking about having a baby someday, the cost of raising a child in Canada is something that should be top of mind.

Costs will vary depending on your situation, like where you live and if you'll be a single parent or not, and could end up being more expensive or cheaper for different people.

But there are still tried and true ways to save money for when you have a baby no matter your financial situation.

Plus, you might be able to get money from the government with federal benefits like the Canada Child Benefit.

That could put thousands of dollars into your bank account each year after having a kid to help with expenses!

So, let's dive into the cost of having a baby, how you can save before and after your baby is born, and what money you could get from the federal government to help with the costs of raising a child.

Cost of having a baby and raising a child

Back in 2015, Moneysense found that the average cost of raising a child until the age of 18 was $253,946.97 and the average cost per year after having a baby was $13,365.63.

That figure factored in expenses like food, increased household costs, child care costs, clothing, increased transportation costs, health care, personal care, recreation and school supplies.

Based on calculations shared by CTV News to include inflation over the last few years, the average cost of raising a child until they're 18 years old went up to $281,880 in 2022.

That works out to $15,560 each year and $1,305 each month, as of 2022.

How to save money before having a baby

There a quite a few ways that you can save money before you have a baby and even after you have a child.

That includes checking your company's parental leave policy to figure out what you'll get if you have a baby, according to Tangerine Bank.

If your workplace doesn't have a parental leave policy that works for you, you could try to find a "family-friendly" job or a position that offers additional benefits for parents before you have a baby.

One way to free up cash and save money before having a baby so that you have more once your little bundle of joy arrives is to pay off as much debt as you can.

By reducing the amount of debt you have, you can focus your income on the costs associated with having a baby and raising a child.

You could also top up your emergency fund when you have a child. It's recommended to have enough money in it to cover three to six months' worth of living expenses but you could try to expand that to a full year's worth.

It can be used to supplement income during parental leave or to pay for unexpected costs that come with parenthood.

If you don't even have an emergency fund, you might want to consider stashing some money away bit by bit before having a baby.

When it comes to costs like furniture, clothes and other baby gear, you can find savings before and after you have a kid, according to The Bump.

That includes prioritizing furniture purchases to items that you can reuse if you have more kids like a rocking chair or dresser and buying double-duty baby gear like a car seat that converts as your baby grows or a stroller that turns into a high chair.

Also, another money-saving tip is to buy outfits that are on sale in multiple sizes for when your baby gets older so you don't have to continuously spend money on clothes. You could also ask friends or family for hand-me-down clothes!

Budget for benefits you can get from the government 

If you're expecting a child or are considering having a baby, you should also budget for benefits that you can get from the government after having a kid.

Canada's Employment Insurance (EI) provides maternity and parental benefits to people who are away from work because they're pregnant or have recently given birth and to parents who are away from work to care for their newborn or newly adopted child.

You could receive 55% of your earnings up to a maximum of $650 a week for up to 15 weeks with the maternity benefit and for up to 35 weeks with the parental benefit.

The extended parental benefit gets you 33% of your earnings up to a maximum of $390 per week for up to 61 weeks.

You can apply for EI maternity and parental benefits online or at a Service Canada Centre as soon as you stop working.

Also, the federal government offers more benefits, payments and grants to help people across the country who have kids.

That includes the Canada Child Benefit, a tax-free monthly payment that's made to eligible families to help with the cost of raising children who are under 18 years old.

The maximum CCB payment amount is $7,437 per year ($619.75 per month) for each child under six years old and $6,275 per year ($522.91 per month) for each child between 6 and 17 years old.

You won't receive a monthly payment if your total benefit amount for the year is less than $240 and will get one lump sum payment on the July payment date instead.

You can also start saving for your child's education with help from the government through the Canada Learning Bond and Canada Education Savings Grant.

The Canada Learning Bond provides up to a maximum of $2,000 for each eligible child from families with low income.

No contributions to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) are required for parents to get the CLB for their child.

Children could receive $500 the first year they're eligible and then an additional $100 for each eligible year after that until the age of 15.

The Canada Education Savings Grant provides up to a maximum of $7,200 into an RESP.

Contributions have to be made to the RESP in order to get the CESG because the grant adds a percentage of the contributions made to an RESP.

There is a maximum of $500 from this benefit each year and up to another $100 for eligible families with middle- and low-income until the end of the calendar year the child turns 17.

Canada's federal government offers more benefits to help with the cost of raising kids including the climate action incentive payment and Canada Dental Benefit.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Lisa Belmonte
Senior Creator
Lisa Belmonte is a Senior Creator for Narcity Media focused on jobs and careers and is based in Ontario.