Marketing the Child Tax Benefit – Accentuating the Positive…
Changes to the Child Tax Benefit between 1985 and 2002 and have included increases in support designed to excluded families on social assistance.
The presentation will review the catch phrases, jingles and slogans used in government press releases that overstate the anti-poverty reach of the Child Tax Benefit and to understate or ignore its impact on those children whose parents are on social assistance.
In the extreme case, one branch of HRDC incredibly argues that single-parents disproportionately benefit from the Child Tax Benefit while another branch argues that virtually all low-income single parents are clawed-back.
The Child Tax Benefit has become a very complex system. There is now the National Child Tax Benefit and the Canada Child Tax Benefit. The Child Tax Benefit Supplement which is clawed-back in whole or in part by both provincial and municipal jurisdiction. The claw-back varies from province to province and with-in some provinces by municipality.
Such complexity provides for a wide choice of terms, time points and dollar values which can be used in press releases and evaluation studies to create the impression that low-income children are generally benefiting from the Child Tax Benefit.
Press releases repeatedly stated that the Child Tax Benefit left social assistance children no worse off. Those working most closely with low-income families report a different experience. Welfare parents, mostly single mothers, feel deeply offended about being actively excluded from the benefits of a system whereby they are used as fiscal sherpas to transfer funds from the federal to provincial governments.
Richard Shillington has post-graduate degrees in statistics from the University of Waterloo. He has been engaged in the quantitative analysis of health, social and economic policy for the past 30 years. His research has covered several policy fields; health manpower planning, program evaluation, income security, poverty, tax policy and human rights. He has worked for several provincial and federal departments as well as commissions studying the economy, unemployment insurance, human rights and tax policy.
Richard appears regularly before committees of the House of Commons and the Senate. He also provides commentaries regularly for television, radio and newspapers on issues of taxation, human rights and social policy.
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