Archived - NCB Performance Measures: Approaches to Measuring and Reporting on Results

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NCB Performance Measures: Approaches to Measuring and Reporting on Results

Governments are increasingly being asked to demonstrate results from their investments. They are being asked whether the investment will lead to improvement, whether that improvement has been realized, and how that result can be measured. This holds true for the National Child Benefit (NCB) as well.

The Government of Canada and provincial and territorial governments are committed to accurate and timely reporting on their investments in the National Child Benefit. Through ongoing evaluative research, we are now in the process of identifying the means to measure the success of the NCB in achieving its objectives: preventing and reducing the depth of child poverty, promoting attachment to the workforce, and reducing the overlap and duplication of government programs and services.

While realizing that the NCB is only one of many socio-economic factors that will affect the well-being of children and families, we will remain accountable to the public for the results of this initiative over the long term. As detailed in the Governance and Accountability Framework, the principles of cooperation, openness and transparency are critical to the success of the National Child Benefit.

We are currently exploring approaches to reporting on the NCB. We anticipate that these reports will be made in the context of broad economic and policy trends using two types of measures: those measuring inputs and outputs (program statistics) and those measuring results (outcome indicators). The development and measuring of outcomes is a newly emerging area. We are interested in benefiting from the perspective of many parts of our society to determine how we will measure the NCB. We will be looking at ways of seeking the input of citizens, stakeholders and academics as we move this work forward.

I. NCB Program Statistics

The implementation of the National Child Benefit will be assessed using program statistics that indicate resource inputs and the number of persons who will benefit from these programs and expenditures. These statistics will be readily available and some of them can be reported on as early as the fall of 1998.

Program statistics could include:

  • The number of families who receive the new Canada Child Tax Benefit (i.e., the NCB Supplement being introduced for families with net incomes below $25,921) and the resulting expenditures:

These statistics will show who receives the new benefit and at what levels of funding.

  • The number of families with children on social assistance who receive the NCB Supplement:

One of the operating features of the NCB is that base income support for children gradually shifts from provincial social assistance to the Canada Child Tax Benefit. These statistics will indicate how many families are affected by this shift in income support.

The number of beneficiaries and the types of programs launched by provincial and territorial governments and on First Nations reserves using reinvestment funds and the resulting expenditures:

  • These statistics will account for the various programs and services put in place and funded by the redirected social assistance dollars.

II. NCB Outcome Indicators

The impact of the National Child Benefit on the well-being of low-income families with children will be assessed by looking at a series of outcome indicators. The Government of Canada’s initial contribution to the NCB will take effect in July 1998 to increase income support benefits. Provinces and territories have made and will be making complementary investments in services and benefits for children in low-income families. Governments, however, will only be able to begin measuring and reporting on the outcomes of these investments when data first becomes available in 1999. Significant impacts may only be visible once further stages of the NCB are put in place.

Outcome indicators could include:

  • Changes in the percentage of the total income of low-income families that result from employment

By monitoring this outcome indicator, we would be able to measure the degree to which low-income families with children increase their attachment to the workforce over time.

Changes in the number of families with children on social assistance

This indicator would reflect the degree to which low-income families with children move off social assistance, as compared to being in the workforce and/or receiving income supplements.

Changes in depth of poverty:

The NCB is an important step being taken to reduce the depth of child poverty over time. The depth of poverty indicates the income gap for families with children measured against one or more lines of low-income measurement. Further analysis and public consultation would be helpful in the consideration of the most relevant measures, because the distribution and the depth of low income vary considerably according to the type of measure adopted.

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