CCSD Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance: Growing Together: Priorities for the 2001 Federal Budget

October 5, 2000

The CCSD believes it is critical that we invest the fast-growing federal fiscal surplus in Canada's social programs and infrastructure if we are to grow together and build a more inclusive foundation for future human development and well-being. The size of the surplus and the healthy prospects for continued growth and job creation provide Canada with a major opportunity to move forward in this area.

Social investment, in combination with an improving job market, has enormous potential to reverse some of our more dismal trends - including rising inequality and exclusion, and falling real incomes and security for many middle- and lower-income families. There is ample opportunity now to finance significant social investment and targeted tax relief towards social objectives, without compromising the continued decline of federal debt as a share of GDP, and without compromising future growth and job creation.

To this end, the CCSD recommends the following program initiatives, building on priorities set out in previous federal budgets:

A National Children's Agenda

  • Additional federal funding should be set aside in Budget 2001 to support the National Children's Agenda.

  • Ongoing federal funding should be designated for the National Children's Agenda in order to sustain the Year One commitments and finance much-needed programs for school-aged children and youth in subsequent years.

  • The federal government should advance its timetable for increases to the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) and phase out benefits more slowly as family income rises.

  • The federal government should consider the plight of the very poorest children in Canada and prohibit the clawback of the National Child Benefit Supplement from families on social assistance.

A National Disability Agenda

  • The federal government should move forward, with the provinces, to create a national network of supports and services to assist persons with disabilities in their daily activities.

  • The federal government should move immediately to offset the extra costs related to living with a disability by substantially improving the existing disability credits as an interim step, then work towards a new refundable disability tax credit.

A Fair Tax Agenda

  • The federal government should immediately increase the basic tax exemption to $8,000 and maintain full indexing to inflation.

  • The federal government should increase the GST Tax Credit by $70 per adult and by $30 per child.

  • The federal government should work towards a universal child tax credit program which would recognize the costs that all families face when raising children.

  • The progressivity of the personal income tax system should be retained and improved.

An Affordable Housing Agenda

  • The federal government should take a leadership role in developing a national housing strategy in conjunction with the provinces, municipalities and non-government housing associations, under the auspices of the Social Union Framework Agreement.

  • The federal government should develop financial instruments - including tax measures and capital pools - to assist with the construction, financing and maintenance of affordable housing stocks. These efforts should be done in partnership with community and private sector partners, and build upon the many constructive proposals being advanced by municipal, voluntary and academic housing advocates.

Measuring and Monitoring Social Progress

    • The federal government should devote $50 million in Budget 2001 for the development and implementation of a national strategy to chart social progress and monitor the health and well-being of Canadians, in consultation with federal, provincial, and non-governmental organizations.


  • The federal government should bring together the expertise of the government, academics and the voluntary sector to further develop and implement the concept of social monitoring. $15 million annually should be administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), in partnership with the voluntary sector and the federal government's Policy Research Secretariat.



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