For each province and territory in Canada, the federal Child Support Guidelines provide a Child Support Table, which indicates a base amount of support to be paid. Each province’s Child Support Table is different, though the payment amount is based on the payor parent’s gross income and the number of children to be supported.
In many cases, the Table determines an appropriate amount of support. However, the Table does not cover “special” and “extraordinary” expenses, and calculation of these may result in a payment amount that is higher than the one shown on the Child Support Table.
Examples of special or extraordinary expenses include various medical and dental expenses for the child, such as therapy, prescription drugs and disability-related costs. Expenses related to the child’s education and extracurricular activities may also be special and extraordinary and thus increase the appropriate support amount.
Another kind of special expense is the cost of child care needed for the receiving parent to go to school or work.
When deciding whether a special or extraordinary expense is necessary, the court will consider whether the expense is reasonable and in the child’s best interests. If the expense is found to be reasonable and necessary, then typically the parents share the cost to the extent that they can, according to their respective gross incomes.
Because each Canadian province and territory has a different Child Support Table, it is important for parents in Ontario to know which Table applies. The Ontario Table applies in these situations:
- Both parents live in Ontario
- The receiving parent lives in Ontario, but the payor parent does not live in Canada
If the payor parent lives in a Canadian province or territory other than Ontario, then the Table for the other province or territory applies.