Taking Children Off Welfare
Chapter 4 examines how Canadian policymakers’ renewed promise to tackle child poverty translated into the Child Tax Benefit, the nonrefundable Child Tax Credit, and the Working Income Tax Benefit. Whereas the logic of tax relief served as the springboard for fiscalization in the US, the logic of income supplementation drove the process in Canada. This difference had important implications for the shape and scope of Canadian tax credits, enabling them to significantly reduce child poverty relative to the much weaker outcomes in the US. Family allowances offered policymakers an alternative to welfare as the primary method of delivering cash benefits to children. Canadian policymakers, including conservative policymakers and profamily groups, saw expanding child tax credits as a way to “take children off welfare” by redirecting benefits through a nonstigmatizing program. The initial change occurred under the Progressive Conservatives in 1992 and was consolidated under the Liberals in 1997.
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