In late 2016, the Canadian federal government laid out its plans to give assistance to thousands of families living in difficult economic conditions across all provinces. Escaping poverty has become a priority for many Canadians, but there are doubts about whether the Canada Child Benefit program can deliver its promises.
The first challenge to the program was revealed by the National Post a few days before Christmas 2016. An article by Jordan Press explained that claims made by the government about how much the poverty rate can be reduced are misleading.
Escaping Poverty Through Social Welfare
The most heralded rate announced by the government is that the child poverty rate could be reduced by 40 percent when compared to 2013. The National Post explains that this comparison cannot be realistically made when the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) did not exist in 2013.
The National Post consulted an economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, who believes that the reduction would be closer to 10 percent in 2017; this is based on that actual reductions that took place from 2013 to 2016 without the CCB and through other social programs.
At this time, the government claims that 292,000 children will be escaping poverty in 2017. In reality, that figure would be closer to 73,000; nonetheless, this is still a very positive development. The 292,000 would be a cumulative effect from 2013.
The Bright Side of the CCB
Although non-profit groups are calling for greater transparency from the government in relation to the assistance provided in escaping poverty, the CCB is expected to be welcomed by many families in 2017.
What is more concerning in 2017 is for the federal government to pay closer attention to poverty rates released by cities and provinces. In Edmonton, for example, poverty rates were revised upward from 14,000 to 31,000.
What many Canadians are hoping for is an increase in solutions such as the CCB. According to Food Banks Canada, 860,000 individual are receiving meal assistance each month. This figure is taken from the annual HungerCount report, which has presented constant monthly figures since 2010.
With Canada running about two years behind the global financial crisis in comparison to the United States, activists hope that the CCB and the food banks can help the country remain a global model in terms of helping low-income families.
Escaping poverty should not be shameful endeavor for anyone in Canada. The figure of 860,000 individuals being helped with food each month should be applauded; it takes a noble population to help fellow Canadians who have fallen on hard times due to the complexities of modern economics. Still, if the CCB manages to reduce the number of families showing up at community food banks, the effort has been worth it. You might be interested in learning more at the Christian Blind Mission website.