Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB)

The controversial Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) takes effect after much controversy from Opposition MPs who supported the Liberals proposal previously negotiated with the provinces to build a national child-care program. The $3.7-billion, two-year child-care allowance will provide families with $1,200 in pre-tax funds for every child under six.

The Conservatives also plan to commit $250 million in annual tax credits starting in 2007 to fund a program to create 25,000 new child-care spaces. The government will also raise the maximum annual Child Disability Benefit from $2,044 to $2,300. The benefit will be made available to middle and higher-income families.

It will also raise the maximum amount of the refundable medical expense supplement from $767 to $1,000 for the 2006 tax year. The government says 95 per cent of Canadian families eligible for the UCCB will automatically receive the money.

Others will have to apply for it. You can apply online on the Canada Revenue Agency website or call 1-800-959-2221.

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