Opinion: Beefed up child benefits are a poverty game changer
John Kolkman | Edmonton Journal | Published on: June 7, 2016 | Last Updated: June 7, 2016 11:45 PM MDT
Viewed through a social policy lens, the biggest story coming out of the federal and provincial budgets were the enhancements to child benefits.
Starting in July, an Alberta family with two children making $30,000 annually will receive $4,300 more per year from the federal and provincial governments. These improvements are child poverty game changers.
The launch of a new Alberta Child Benefit and increases in federal child benefits, both on July 1, go some distance toward guaranteeing a basic income to all Alberta families with children.
Non-taxable child benefits are the most effective way to reduce poverty because they put money directly into the pockets of low-income families.
Low-income working families receive the same amount as those on government income support at the same level of income. Administrative costs are negligible. Amounts are calculated by the Canadian Revenue Agency from tax returns. This makes it more important than ever for all low-income families to file tax returns regardless of whether they pay tax or not.