KENORA – POLITICS – We all remember Canadian actor, Michael J. Fox. Here is what he once said: “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” Family is where everything begins, it’s the foundation – the starting blocks of life. With a strong family, children get a better start in life and a better chance at success. But raising a family is not always an easy thing to do, nor is it inexpensive. Helping hard-working families in the North provide the best start in life for their children is a top priority for our government. That is why, three years ago, we created the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) to help families with the high cost of raising kids.
When we first introduced the new Canada Child Benefit in 2016, we wanted to make it simpler, tax-free, and more generous than previous child benefit programs, and we did just that. Simply put, it puts more money each month into the pockets of 9 out of 10 families. It also stopped the Conservative government’s practice of sending cheques to millionaires who don’t need it. Then in July 2018, and a full two years ahead of schedule, we increased the benefit to keep up with the cost of living.
Starting this July 20, 2019—on the third anniversary—the Canada Child Benefit will be increased once again, so it can continue to support parents as the cost of living keeps going up. We are doing this because the Canada Child Benefit is making a real and significant difference in people’s lives. In fact, almost 300,000 children have been lifted out of poverty between 2015 and 2017. In addition, the International Monetary Fund, the Bank of Canada and other experts have even recognized it as a key contributor to helping strengthen Canada’s middle class. Across Canada, payments worth $23.7 billion benefits nearly 3.7 million Canadian families.
Now let’s look at the impact that the CCB has had in the Kenora riding. From 2016 to 2018, families raising children in the riding have received $147,533,000 from the Canada Child Benefit – that’s more than $70 million per year that has gone directly to these families. To put this more into perspective, we expect that once we receive total payment information for this benefit year, over $200 million will have been paid directly to families in the Kenora riding. And thanks to the CCB, in 2017-18, 7,970, families with children received an average yearly payment of $9,270. This has helped 16,270 children.
Whether parents are using it for things such as signing up their children for summer camp, helping cover the family grocery bills, or buying warm coats for the winter, the Canada Child Benefit helps parents with the high costs of raising their kids. With this additional tax-free income, it helps address the everyday stress of paying the monthly bills and allows parents to focus on their children without the constant worry of meeting their monthly financial obligations. This added security, helps build strong healthy families while allowing parents the opportunity to plan ahead. It also helps parents and caregivers the quality time that their children need to have a good start in life, so they have a better chance of success.
As a parent with two children, I believe that the Canada Child Benefit has been an outstanding success. At the end of the day, parents spend their entire life worrying about how they can help their children succeed. After all, family is everything.