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The Fiscalization of Social PolicyHow Taxpayers Trumped Children in the Fight Against Child Poverty$
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Joshua T. McCabe

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190841300

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190841300.001.0001

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Taking Children Off Welfare

(p.93) 4 Canada
The Fiscalization of Social Policy

Joshua T. McCabe

Oxford University Press

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.

Keywords:   Child Tax Credit, Child Tax Benefit, Working Income Tax Benefit, child poverty, family caucus, welfare reform, auditor general, Caledon Institute

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