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Caledon

Child Benefit Reform in Canada: An Evaluative Framework and Future Directions

Published on 01/11/1997

This report offers governments advice on how to build and evaluate the National Child Benefit System announced in the 1997 federal Budget.  The study traces the development of the concept of an “integrated child benefit” which inspires the current reform and analyzes the evolution of child benefits since their beginning in World War One.

Based on the authors’ vision of a mature integrated child benefit system, the report proposes an evaluative framework for the emerging National Child Benefit System.  After providing a critical assessment of the three objectives announced by governments – preventing and reducing the depth of child poverty, promoting attachment to the workforce, and reducing overlap and duplication of child benefits – the report argues that the National Child Benefit must pursue additional objectives: adequacy, fairness, promoting dignity and independence, and economic stabilization.

The report raises several key issues – differential treatment of the welfare and working poor, indexation, net versus gross definition of income, family definition, and benefit targets – that must be addressed if the National Child Benefit System is to grow into an effective social policy.

ISBN – 1-895796-89-X

Summary

This report offers governments advice on how to build and evaluate the National Child Benefit System announced in the 1997 federal Budget.

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