April 25, 2016
Campaign 2000 sees Budget 2016 as a historic step forward in Canada’s battle against child poverty. Investments targeting children and families in poverty lay the ground work to turn the tide against Canada’s child poverty epidemic which plagues nearly 1 in 5 children overall and over 40% of Indigenous children.
Budget 2016 boosts incomes through the Canada Child Benefit, which is projected to lift 300,000 children out of poverty. Other positive first steps include investments in First Nations child welfare, education, housing and clean water on reserve; improvements to Employment Insurance; funding for affordable housing and a commitment to developing a National Housing Strategy.
Unfortunately, the budget delays indexation of the Child Benefit to Inflation until 2020, as well as much needed funding for childcare until 2017-18. It also fails to allocate funds for the development of the promised Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy and the implementation of the 94 Calls to Action from Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The new Canada Child Benefit (CCB) will be delivered to low and moderate income families starting in July. “It is very positive that the needs of the over 1.34 million children living in poverty in Canada were not eclipsed by recent, fevered discussions of reducing the deficit. Investing in families and children in low and modest income makes smart economic sense. Boosting local economies while building more equitable futures for children is a win-win, says Anita Khanna, Campaign 2000’s National Coordinator. “We are now looking for the Federal Government to initiate agreements with the provinces and territories to ensure no portion of the CCB is deducted or clawed back from families on social assistance, who live on some of the lowest incomes in the country.
This can be achieved through adding a condition to the Canada Social Transfer that prohibits claw backs. Government should also plan for long term increases in the CCB to such a level that it reduces child poverty by 50% in 5 years as part of a strong Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy.