Two years ago our Government launched the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) to help families with the cost of raising kids. Simpler, tax free and more generous than previous child benefit programs, the CCB has resulted in an overall reduction of the cost of living for the average Canadian family and has played a vital role in reducing child poverty across Canada.
In Kelowna-Lake Country, as of January 2018, more than 17,000 children were being supported by the CCB.
The good news for local families is that, as of July 20th, the CCB will be increased to keep up with the cost of living, a change that comes two years ahead of scheduled indexing by the government.
This means that the CCB will now have a maximum annual benefit of $6,496 per child under age 6 and $5,481 per child age 6 through 17.
For a single parent earning $35,000 with two children, the accelerated indexation of the CCB will mean an additional $560 in the 2019–20 benefit year.
In fact, the CCB provides significant financial support to lower and middle income families without discriminating between single-parent or dual-parent families.
As noted by Carleton University professor Andrew Jackson, family income splitting for income tax purposes, introduced in 2014 by the last government, was designed to provide the maximum benefit to traditional families with a stay at home spouse despite the fact that the majority of families with children have both parents working.
The more progressive Canada Child Benefit, which has been credited as being “highly stimulative” to the economy by Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, ensures the majority of families with children receive a benefit with the maximum going to those who need it the most.
As the economy continues to fire on all cylinders, with record job creation, income growth and stock markets at an all-time high, it’s important that as many Canadians as possible have the ability to participate.
Programs like CCB, and our government’s willingness to work with First Nations, Provincial, Territorial and Municipal partners to address affordable housing, education, healthcare and an improved Canada Pension Plan, reflect our commitment to social and economic policies that are focused on areas where they are needed most.
More information on the Canada Child Benefit, including a benefit calculator, can be found at www.canada.ca/canada-child-benefit .
Stephen Fuhr is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country