The Federal Child Support Guidelines are intended to establish fair and objective amounts for support of children after separation.  The Guidelines set out a table of monthly child support based on province of residence, number of children, and annual income of the payor.   

A parent with less than 40% of the parenting time over the course of a year is required to pay child support to the parent that parents 60% of the time or more.  I practise law in Ottawa, so here are some specific Ontario examples:

Income of the Paying Parent Number of Children Monthly Table Amount for Child Support
$75,000 1 $700
$100,000 2 $1,471
$150,000 3 $2,698

The Department of Justice for the Government of Canada has an online calculator that parents can use to calculate table support:

In cases of shared parenting (defined to include situations where each parent is parenting the children at least 40% of the time), the incomes of both parents become relevant.   Sometimes a “straight set-off” is done.  If the table amount based on Parent A’s income is $1,471, and the table amount based on Parent B’s income is $1,600, the net result might be that Parent B pays Parent A $129 per month ($1,600 – $1,471) in respect of table support.¹   Sometimes the “straight set-off” is adjusted because of the increased costs of the shared custody arrangements, or the conditions, means, needs and other circumstances of each spouse and the children.   

The Guidelines recognize that childcare, some health expenses, private school, expensive sports and hobbies, and post-secondary education are big-ticket items for most parents.  In addition to table support, parents can be required to share special and extraordinary expenses proportionately according to income.  If Parent A has a gross income of $150,000 per year and Parent B has a gross income of $100,000 per year, Parent A would pay for 3/5ths of special and extraordinary expenses, and parent B would pay for 2/5ths.  Special expenses include:

  • Childcare expenses ²
  • Medical and dental insurance premiums for the child
  • Health-related expenses that exceed insurance reimbursement by at least $100 annually
  • Extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school education or for any other educational programs that meet the child’s particular needs
  • Expenses for post-secondary education
  • Extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities.

Not every educational and extracurricular expense is an “extraordinary expense” under the Guidelines.  A court would consider what the custodial spouse can reasonable cover, taking into account that spouse’s income, and will generally weigh the amount of the expense against the income of the custodial spouse, in determining that an expense is “extraordinary”.  

¹ There can be tax consequences that flow from how this is implemented: consider consulting a lawyer.
² Where the childcare is required due to the custodial parent’s employment, illness, disability, education, or training for employment.