Archived - The National Child Benefit Progress Report 2004

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Executive Summary

The National Child Benefit (NCB) is a joint initiative of Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments2, which includes a First Nations component.

The NCB initiative has three goals:

  • to help prevent and reduce the depth of child poverty;
  • to promote attachment to the labour market by ensuring that families will always be better off as a result of working; and
  • to reduce overlap and duplication by harmonizing program objectives and benefits, and through simplified administration.

This report, The National Child Benefit Progress Report: 2004, is the sixth in a series of reports to Canadians since the NCB was introduced in July 1998. The report is a key element of the National Child Benefit Governance and Accountability Framework as it fulfils the commitment of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Social Services to report annually to Canadians on progress made under this initiative.

The Government of Canada provides benefits directly to low-income families with children through the NCB Supplement component of the Canada Child Tax Benefit. Provinces, territories and First Nations provide programs and services to low-income families with children in their communities.

For the program year ended June 2004, the Government of Canada provided $2.7 billion through the NCB Supplement. During that period, 1.5 million families with 2.7 million children received the NCB Supplement.

Total reinvestments and investments in programs and services for children and their families are estimated to be $879.4 million for 2003-2004, and $919.0 million for 2004-2005. Provinces and territories reinvested and invested an estimated $824.4 million in 2003-2004, and $864.6 million in 2004-2005. Citizenship and Immigration Canada reinvested an estimated $1.9 million in 2003-2004, and $1.9 million in 2004-2005. First Nations investments and reinvestments in programs and services are estimated to be $53.2 million in 2003-2004, and $52.5 million in 2004-2005. With respect to First Nations and the NCB, the Government of Canada and some 500 First Nations are cooperatively addressing the needs of low-income families with children on reserve through the NCB initiative.

The report also provides information on societal level indicators, which track socio-economic trends that relate to the NCB, including measures of low income. Low-Income Cut-Offs (LICOs), the Low-Income Measure (LIM), as well as the Market Basket Measure (MBM) are included. Using post-tax LICOs, the report shows that between 1996 and 2002, the number of low-income families with children declined significantly, although the number increased slightly between 2001 and 2002. The depth of low income, or low-income gap, also declined slightly between 1996 and 2002.

Finally, an analysis of the direct impact of the NCB in preventing and reducing low income among families with children is included. Using Statistics Canada’s post-tax LICOs, the analysis estimates that, in 2002, as a direct result of the NCB, 106,000 children in 45,900 families were prevented from living in low income, a 9.7 percent reduction. These families saw their average disposable income increase by an estimated $2,400, or 9.8 percent. The analysis also estimates that the depth of low income, or low-income gap, for families with children was reduced by $540 million, a decline of 14.9 percent.

All jurisdictions remain committed to working toward improving the situation of families with children in Canada, and informing Canadians about progress made.

2The Government of Quebec has stated that it agrees with the basic principles of the NCB. Quebec chose not to participate in the NCB because it wanted to assume control over income support for children in Quebec; however, it has adopted a similar approach to the NCB. Throughout this report, references to joint federal/provincial/territorial positions do not include Quebec.

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