OTTAWA, ONTARIO, November 25, 2005
— Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services are pleased to release to Canadians the sixth report on the progress of the National Child Benefit. The National Child Benefit Progress Report: 2004 shows that the National Child Benefit is improving the economic well-being of families with children.
"We know that our actions are having an impact in reducing child poverty," said Ken Dryden, Minister of Social Development and federal co-chair of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services. "The National Child Benefit is a joint federal, provincial and territorial initiative. It has been directly responsible for reducing the number of children and their families living in low income."
The report shows that the National Child Benefit prevented 106,000 children in 45,900 families from living in low income in 2002.
"We are confident that the National Child Benefit is helping to reduce child poverty and is a good starting point on which to build," said Chester Gillan, Minister of Social Services and Seniors for Prince Edward Island, and provincial co-chair of Canada’s Social Services Ministers. "To that end, at our recent Ministers meeting, we agreed to look more closely at low-income issues and how they affect Canadians."
The report contains an analysis that compares the actual child benefits structure in 2002 to what it would have been without the NCB, based on Statistics Canada’s post-tax low-income cutoffs (post-tax LICOs). The results show that because of the NCB, in 2002, there were 9.7 percent fewer low-income families than there would have been without the NCB. For these families, the average disposable income was higher by an estimated 9.8 percent (about $2,400).
From a broader perspective, the report also provides information on general socio-economic trends affecting families with children. The report indicates that while there has been a slight increase in the percentage of low-income families with children from 11 percent in 2001 to 11.4 percent in 2002, affecting about 5,000 children, this is still well below the level of 17.6 percent in 1996.
In 2003-04, the Government of Canada invested $8.2 billion in low- and middle-income families with children through the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB). This includes $2.7 billion through the NCB Supplement and $3.5 billion through the CCTB base benefit to 1.5 million low-income families with 2.7 million children. By 2007-08, the annual federal support delivered through the CCTB system is projected to reach $10 billion per year.
The report further shows that provincial and territorial governments have increased their expenditures for low-income children and families through the NCB initiative from an estimated $824.4 million in 2003-04 to $864.6 million in 2004-05. First Nations expenditures are estimated to be $53.2 million in 2003-04 and $52.5 million in 2004-05. This funding, combined with reinvestments by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, totals an estimated $879.4 million in 2003-04 and $919 million in 2004-05. This funding supports programs and services, such as child benefits and earned-income supplements, child/day care initiatives, early childhood services and children-at-risk services, youth initiatives and supplementary health benefits.
The goals of the National Child Benefit are to prevent and reduce the depth of child poverty, promote attachment to the labour market by ensuring that families will always be better off as a result of working, and reduce overlap and duplication. The regular release of reports on the National Child Benefit demonstrates the commitment of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services to report to Canadians on progress towards these goals.
The National Child Benefit Progress Report: 2004 is available at www.nationalchildbenefit.ca
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For more information, please contact:
Social Development Canada
Department of Social Services & Seniors
1 In this document, references to joint federal/provincial/territorial reports do not include Quebec. While the Government of Quebec agrees with the basic principles of the National Child Benefit, it chose not to participate in this initiative because it wanted 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.