Dec 06, 2019 | Jennifer Balon


For the last 13 years, every school day has involved me driving north on Highway 11 to Saskatoon with at least one of my four kids.  Over the years we have talked about many things, which I refer to as my ‘Truck Talks.’  I thought it would be fund to share some of the best discussions with you. 

Just How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Child?

As I drove, we listened to the host of a local morning show discuss the costs of raising a child from birth to the age of 18.  Every parent is familiar with those costs: diapers, food, clothes, housing, child care, books, toys, school supplies, sports, hobbies, birthday parties…the list seems endless. 

“How much do you two think it costs to raise a child to age 18?” I asked my two kids.

First Up: Jessie, then age 13

“Hmm.  I don’t know,” said Jessie.

“Guess,” I said.

“$20,000?” She said.

After I had stopped laughing and regained control of the truck, I asked child two the same question.  Although younger, child two had a better grasp of all things financial.

Second Up: Jason, then age 10

“$79,000,”  he said with conviction.

Not a bad guess, I thought, and in fairness to Jessie, Jason did know that $20,000 was absurdly low.  So, what is the real cost? 

The Canadian government does not calculate an annual figure on how much it costs to raise a child to age 18, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture does, and in 2015, this number was a whopping $233,610

In 2015, the Canadian magazine Money Sense estimated that the yearly average was $13,366, or an even more whopping $240,588.

So, is there anything that help with the cost of raising a child?  Here are a few ways the Government helps reduce the burden:

  • A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) is an investment account that allows saving for a child’s post-secondary education.  Like the RRSP and TFSA, investments inside an RESP grow tax-free.  The even bigger benefit is that the government pays you to save by contributing a grant of up to $7,200 over the life of the plan. 
  • The Canada Child Tax Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age.
  • Child Care is a deduction from gross income, with annual limits depending on the child’s age.  Child care includes nursery school, babysitters, nannies, day camps, day sports schools, overnight camps, and even private schools.