The Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development visited Kingston’s The Grocery Basket on Thursday, Jul. 18, 2019.
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos spoke about the ways the Government of Canada has changed the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) and how it will affect families and communities like Kingston.
The CCB is “designed not exclusively, but targeted towards younger middle class families,” according to Duclos, “especially those with younger children. They have not a lot of time, and typically lower wages and job security.”
The CCB was increased proportionally to rising costs of living in July 2018. At today’s event, Duclos announced that the CCB will be raised starting immediately to continue to keep up with living costs.
In 2019 to 2020, the maximum benefit will now be $6,639 tax-free per child under age six and $5,602 tax-free per child six to 17.
According to Duclos, the increased CCB influenced the reduction in child poverty rates, with 278,000 fewer children living in poverty in 2017 than in 2015.
Duclos described Kingston as “very tightly knit and a growing community,” stating that he anticipated the CCB to “help draw younger families to the area” who would spend locally and contribute to the City’s economy.
“We have now demonstrated that (the CCB) increases economic growth and also increases confidence in communities all across Canada,” he said.
In addition to being increased, the CCB application process has undergone changes intended to make it easier and more accessible. Duclos cited three problems with the earlier system: recipients had to wait until the end of the fiscal year to receive benefits, the benefits were often taxable, and the difficulty of issuing and receiving “five or 10 different benefits, where you need to keep all sorts of receipts.”
Duclos mentioned The Grocery Basket owners Ben and Michelle Pilon while closing his remarks.
“What Ben and Michelle and everyone else here in your community do is demonstrate that when you build stronger families, we also build a stronger Canada,” he said.