National Campaign 2000 Report Card, 2012
This year marks 23 years since the unanimous House of Commons’ resolution to end child poverty in Canada by 2000 and three years since the unanimous House of Commons resolution “to develop an immediate plan to end poverty for all in Canada”.
Campaign 2000 urges Ottawa to eliminate child tax credits and use money to fight poverty
November 21, 2012
Ottawa should streamline the “hodgepodge” of federal child tax credits and use the money to lift more children out of poverty, says Campaign 2000.
On the 23rd anniversary of a unanimous House of Commons pledge to eradicate child poverty by the year 2000, the national coalition is once again calling for a federal plan with goals and timelines to get the job done.
With one in seven Canadian children — including one in four in First Nations communities — still living in poverty, this year’s progress report goes after Ottawa’s “inefficient” tax system.
It takes aim at the “misnamed” Universal Child Care Benefit that provides $100-per-month for children under age 6; the “regressive” Child Tax Credit that reduces federal income taxes by about $300; and the Child Fitness Credit, worth a maximum of $75 per child.
All three should be eliminated and the resources redirected to boost the National Child Benefit to a maximum of $5,400 a year, up from the current maximum of $3,485, the coalition says.
At $5,400, a single parent with one child who is working full-time at $11 an hour would be able to escape poverty.
More broadly, it would cut Canada’s child poverty rate by 15 per cent and lift 174,000 children out of poverty.
Ottawa would only have to contribute an additional $174 million, the report says. This would drop to just $74 million, if the recently announced Child Arts Tax Credit is also redirected to the child benefit.
Since more than 90 per cent of Canadian families receive the child benefit on a sliding scale based on income, the move would allow Ottawa to use its valuable resources in a more efficient and effective way to reduce child poverty, the coalition says in its report released Wednesday. On average, those families above the median family income ($68,860) would pay more taxes or lose benefits, while those below the median would be better off.
“Right now the federal government oversees a hodgepodge of family tax credits meant to help low- and middle-income families,” said Dr. Sid Frankel, associate professor of social work at the University of Manitoba.
“Applying for these tax credits can be complicated and require upfront expenditures that low income families don’t have,” he said. “As a result, those who need the credits most go without.”….
Campaign 2000 also calls on Ottawa to invest in a national child-care system, introduce a national housing strategy, restore and expand eligibility for Employment Insurance, address employment equity for “racialized communities” and improve funding for post-secondary education.
“Child poverty impairs our long-term national interests because it leads to higher heath-care costs and spending on social support services, lost productivity and limited opportunities,” the report said.
Government of Canada MIA on Child Poverty: Report
Campaign 2000/Canada Newswire
Nov 21 2012
Twenty-three years after the House of Commons unanimously voted to work together to eliminate child poverty the crisis is worse. Today, one in seven Canadian children live in poverty – one in four in First Nation’s communities – a reality that threatens our country’s future through higher healthcare costs, lost productivity and limited opportunities.
“Many of the provinces and a few municipalities have recognized the critical need to take action and have developed their own poverty reduction strategies. Thanks to their efforts we’re beginning to see some improvements in those jurisdictions,” says Rothman. “But they can’t do it alone. Without a coordinated federal action plan that sets out clear goals and provides the necessary resources the crisis of child poverty will continue.”
With the release of their annual report card entitled Needed: A Federal Action Plan to Eradicate Child and Family Poverty, Campaign 2000 sets out practical actions the Canadian government can take now that would reduce our child poverty rate by fifteen percent.
“Right now the federal government oversees a hodgepodge of family tax credits meant to help low and middle income families,” says Dr. Sid Frankel, associate professor of social work at the University of Manitoba. “Applying for these tax credits can be complicated and require up front expenditures that low income families don’t have, as a result those that need the credits most go without. The current credits also require multiple layers of administration, increasing costs for the government. If the federal government streamlined all current family and child tax credits into one, dispersed on a sliding scale based on income to a maximum of $5,400 per year, 174,000 children would be lifted out of poverty.”
The report also highlights the need for a national strategy on good jobs and affordable housing, as well as greater investment in regulated, not-for-profit childcare as critical to building a strong future for all Canadian families….