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National Child Benefit Reduces Child Poverty

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OTTAWA, ONTARIO, July 4, 2003—The National Child Benefit Progress Report: 2002 confirms that the incidence of low-income families with children is steadily declining, dropping from a high of 15.8 percent in 1996 to a low of 11.4 percent in 2000. This is just one of the highlights of the report, released today by federal, provincial and territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services.*

“We are very pleased to see that the National Child Benefit (NCB) continues to make a difference in improving the lives of low-income working families,” said Jane Stewart, Minister of Human Resources Development and federal co-chair of Canada’s Social Services Ministers. “The National Child Benefit Progress Report: 2002 clearly shows that the joint federal, provincial and territorial NCB initiative is also successful towards its goals of preventing and reducing child poverty and supporting parents as they move into the labour market.”

“The National Child Benefit supports the efforts of families to ensure a brighter future for their children” noted J. Michael Miltenberger, Minister of Health and Social Services, Northwest Territories, and provincial/territorial co-chair of Ministers Responsible for Social Services. “Collaboration among federal, provincial and territorial governments on the NCB initiative has improved the way children’s benefits are provided to low-income families, reducing administrative duplication and overlap.”

The National Child Benefit Progress Report: 2002 compared the child benefits structure in the year 2000 with what it would have been without the introduction of the NCB and found that

  • an estimated 55,000 children in 22,900 families were not in a low-income situation—or 5.1 percent fewer low-income families—as a result of the NCB, and
  • for these families with children, the average annual disposable income was higher by almost $1,800 or 7.5 percent than it would have been without the NCB.

The report also highlights that, in general, the NCB has made work financially more attractive for low-income families, which reduces dependency on social assistance.

In Budget 2003, the Government of Canada announced a long-term plan of further increases in the NCB Supplement, so that by the year 2007-2008, the annual federal investment to support Canadian families with children through the combined base benefit of the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) and the NCB Supplement is projected to be
$10 billion. This will bring benefit levels for a family of four (with two children) from the current maximum of $4,680 to a projected $6,260 by 2007-2008.

The benefits and services provided by provinces, territories and First Nations under the NCB initiative are equally important. These investments have been expanded since the NCB was established and have benefited from jurisdictions’ shared knowledge and experiences. Federal, provincial and territorial cooperation has been key to the success of the NCB initiative.

In publishing this report, governments are fulfilling their ongoing commitment to accountability to the general public. As in previous reports, the National Child Benefit Progress Report: 2002 includes data on Government of Canada investments made in the Canada Child Tax Benefit, which includes the NCB Supplement. It also includes provincial, territorial and First Nations reinvestments and investments, which are an important component of the Initiative and help achieve the goals of the NCB. Finally, the report also shows results and outcomes achieved.

The National Child Benefit Progress Report: 2002, a pamphlet and a backgrounder can be found at

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For more information, please contact:

Minister Stewart’s office
(819) 953-2353

Northwest Territories Department of Health and Social Services
(867) 920-8927

* While the Government of Quebec agrees with the basic principles of the National Child Benefit (NCB), it chose not to participate in this initiative because it wanted to assume control over income support for children in Quebec. However, Quebec residents benefit from the increased Canada Child Tax Benefit and from important investments made by the Government of Quebec towards family and childhood services as part of Quebec’s Family Policy. In this document, references to joint federal/provincial/territorial positions do not include Quebec.