Government of Canada welcomes the occasion to respond to the Final Report of
the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and
the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) entitled, Federal Poverty
Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada,
tabled in November 2010.
is a multi-faceted challenge. Addressing this challenge effectively requires
sustainable solutions involving all levels of government, as well as community
and not-for-profit organizations. Provincial and territorial governments have a shared
responsibility with the Government of Canada in addressing poverty and have
jurisdiction over some key mechanisms in supporting low-income Canadians.
Government of Canada’s approach to reducing poverty emphasizes giving Canadians
skills and opportunities to achieve self-sufficiency, while providing targeted
supports for those facing particular barriers. This approach – labour market
participation, ensuring economic security, and housing – was articulated in the
Government Response to the report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social
Affairs, Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Cities, tabled in September
are important themes in HUMA’s recommendations, and the Government of Canada’s
investments in these areas are helping to ensure that every Canadian has a
solid foundation from which to succeed.
Government’s approach is built upon key principles. Our actions to encourage labour
market attachment are rooted in the principle that sustained participation in
the labour market is the most effective way to ensure the economic security of
Canadian families. The Government of Canada has put in place measures to make
work pay, and ensure that individuals are in a better financial position when
they secure employment. The Government also invests in skills and training programs
and makes significant annual transfers to provinces and territories to design
and deliver programs and services that meet local labour market needs.
targeted supports are founded on the principle that some individuals may face
barriers to participation and require additional support to help them reach
their full potential. This Government has taken unprecedented
action to support Canadians with disabilities. For example,
persons with disabilities are supported in a variety of ways, tailored to meet
the requirements of their situation, through investments to encourage labour
market attachment, support economic security, and contribute to the
accessibility of housing.
housing supports recognize that assistance for housing needs must cover a broad
continuum. From shelter and supports for those in greatest need, to
transitional and supportive housing to help people live more independently,
taken together with initiatives for renters, homeowners and the housing sector,
this broad range of activities provides support for Canadians in all parts of
all of our investments is the principle that strong economic stewardship is
essential to our success as a country as a whole, and in turn, to the success
of families and individuals. This government is taking measures to ensure the
economic and fiscal fundamentals are in place to support a strong economy and
robust labour market. We have been active throughout the recent global
recession to ensure that Canada continues to have a stable foundation for
growth and prosperity.
Government of Canada’s ongoing and recent investments reflect these
principles. Canada’s Economic Action Plan, introduced in 2009, included
timely, time-limited, and targeted investments, to address immediate and
temporary needs during the economic recession, as well as ongoing investments
to build on and enhance existing initiatives. These investments have had a
strong positive impact on the Canadian economy both during the global recession
and through the recovery. The Government is committed to winding down the
stimulus as the economy recovers and returning to budgetary balance over the
Government has demonstrated flexibility in responding to the needs of
Canadians. Canada has weathered the global recession better than most other
industrialized countries. Indeed, the recession in Canada was less pronounced
than any other G-7 economy.
Government continues to make advancements in supporting the overall well-being
of Canadians, and our ongoing investments in key programs continue to help
Canadians of all ages from coast to coast to coast. For example, in 2009-2010
alone, the Old Age Security (OAS) program provided benefits through the basic
pension to 4.7 million seniors aged 65 and over and Guaranteed Income
Supplement (GIS) payments to 1.6 million low-income OAS pensioners. In the
same year, approximately 3.3 million families with 5.8 million children
received the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB), including over 1.5 million
families with 2.7 million children who received the National Child Benefit
Government of Canada is building on our existing successes through ongoing
investments to support Canadians at all stages in their lives. The Government
continues to work to improve the lives of Canadians today and tomorrow. While
work remains to be done, the Government’s approach to reducing poverty is
providing a solid foundation from which to advance a strong position for Canada in an evolving global economy and to secure the social and economic well-being of
market participation is the key to economic prosperity. It benefits individual
Canadians and their families, and contributes to Canada’s economic advantage
now and in the future. Ultimately, sustained employment is the
best source of income security for individuals and families. HUMA notes that employment-oriented policies play an important role in lowering poverty rates
among working-age Canadians, and that knowledge and skills acquired through
education and training play a key role in helping Canadians access and retain
wide variety of federal measures and initiatives have been put in place to
encourage the labour force participation of diverse groups of Canadian men and
women and to ensure that they are able to provide for themselves and their
families. The Government of Canada is also working to ensure that the
conditions are in place for employers to create jobs, and that Canadians have
the training and skills required to meet the demands of the labour market both
today and tomorrow.
The Government of
Canada has made unprecedented investments in training and skills development to
help Canadians develop and upgrade necessary skills throughout their lives.
The Government works in conjunction with provincial and territorial governments
to support skills training and labour market programming, recognizing that
provinces and territories are best placed to determine, design and deliver
employment programs and services that respond to local labour market needs.
Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs), the Government provides $1.95
billion in annual funding to the provinces and territories to support training
for unemployed individuals who are eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). The
Government also provides $500 million annually through separate Labour Market
Agreements (LMAs). Through the LMAs, the Government provides
funds for provincial and territorial labour market programs and services that
focus on skills development for unemployed individuals who are not eligible for
EI. This includes, but is not limited to the following groups: Aboriginal
peoples, immigrants, new entrants and re-entrants to the labour market, older
workers, persons with disabilities, social assistance recipients, unemployed
individuals previously self-employed, women, youth, and employed individuals
who do not have a high school diploma or recognized certification, or who have
low levels of literacy and essential skills.
addition to ongoing funding through the LMAs and LMDAs, the Government has made
timely and targeted investments in skills and training to help Canadian men and
women manage the transitions resulting from the recent economic downturn.
Under the Economic Action Plan, LMDA funding provided to provinces and
territories was temporarily increased by $500 million for each of two years
(2009-2010 and 2010-2011), and LMA funding was increased by $250 million
annually through the Strategic Training and Transition Fund (STTF) over the
same period. In 2009-2010, more than 200,000 Canadians benefited from this
combined additional $750 million to the provinces and territories in support of
training and skills development programs.
Government of Canada is also investing to make a career in the trades an
attractive choice and encourage more apprentices to complete their training.
The Government provides support of up to $4,000 to apprentices through the
Apprenticeship Incentive Grant (AIG) and the Apprenticeship Completion Grant
date, the AIG has provided support to over 185,000 men and
women, while the more recent ACG has already been provided to more than 38,000 people.
Finally, in 2010-2011, the Government allocated over $38 million to the Office
of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES), a national centre of expertise
providing information and resources to improve adult literacy and essential
Labour Market Supports
Budget 2007, the Government introduced the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB), a
refundable tax credit that supplements the earnings of low-income workers. The
WITB is a central part of the Government of Canada’s objective of making work
2009, the WITB was enhanced by $580 million, effectively doubling the tax
relief provided by the WITB.
the Government introduced the Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP) to provide
timely payment of wages and vacation pay owing to eligible workers who have
lost their jobs because their employer has gone bankrupt or become subject to
receivership. This program was permanently expanded under the Economic
Action Plan to include coverage of unpaid severance pay and termination pay.
Government of Canada continues to help Canadians navigate temporary periods of
unemployment. EI is an insurance-based program that strives to find a balance
between providing adequate income benefits and encouraging workforce
attachment. Employers and workers both pay premiums so that workers may
collect benefits if they are unable to work, whether they are temporarily unemployed,
sick, pregnant, caring for a newborn or adopted child, or providing care or
support to a gravely ill family member.
families with children can receive up to 80 percent of their insured
earnings through the EI Family Supplement. The program also offers a
premium refund to low‑income workers.
to EI special benefits has been made available to 2.6 million self-employed
workers for the first time in Canadian history. In 2009, the Government passed
legislation that provides EI maternity, parental/adoption, sickness, and
compassionate care benefits to self-employed Canadians on a voluntary basis.
The self-employed have been able to opt into the EI program since January 31, 2010, and as of January 1, 2011 are eligible to start collecting EI special
provision of new EI special benefits to the self-employed is expected to allow
women and men to better balance work and family responsibilities, while
facilitating labour force attachment.
EI measures described above are available to assist Canadians in a number of
different situations throughout their working lives. The recent economic
downturn presented additional challenges for unemployed workers. Canada’s Economic Action Plan responded with timely, temporary and targeted measures,
providing enhanced support through the EI program. Although, these
measures are temporary, they will continue to provide support into 2011,
including extended EI regular benefits for long-tenured workers, and extensions to the
duration of Work-Sharing agreements.
The Government also provided additional support to Canadians through the Career
Transition Assistance (CTA) initiative to extend EI regular benefits for
eligible individuals participating in longer-term training. Claimants who meet
the eligibility criteria may begin their training until May 2011 and can
continue to receive benefits as late as May 2012. More than 14,000
long-tenured unemployed workers have received additional assistance through the
CTA in order to participate in long-term training.
including Aboriginal people, newcomers, persons with disabilities, youth, and
older workers may have difficulty accessing labour market opportunities. The
Government provides targeted supports to several specific groups to facilitate
skills development and training and encourage labour market attachment.
skills development and training of Aboriginal people is supported through
several initiatives. The Government is providing $1.6 billion over
five years (until 2015) for the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training
Strategy (ASETS) to support a continuum of skills development for Aboriginal
women and men. Women are expected to represent almost half of client interventions
under the new ASETS. The Government is also providing $210
million over five years for the Skills and Partnership Fund (SPF), a partnership-based, opportunity-driven fund that encourages innovative projects and will
result in approximately 1,500 to 2,000 additional Aboriginal people employed
Economic Action Plan introduced the Aboriginal Skills and Training Strategic
Investment Fund (ASTSIF) with an investment of $75 million over two years
(2009-2010 and 2010-2011), and extended the Aboriginal Skills and Employment
Partnership (ASEP) with an additional $100 million over three years (2009-2010
to 2011-2012). By 2012, these initiatives will have provided a variety of job
and skills training supports to close to 13,000 Aboriginal Canadians to address
barriers to employment and improve labour market integration.
Newcomers to Canada
the immigration system is crucial to building a competitive and prosperous Canada. The Government has introduced several measures, both when selecting immigrants and
post-arrival, to support Canada’s economic and labour market objectives and to
foster successful labour market integration.
Government uses various tools to contribute to these ends. Recently, the
Government refocused the Federal Skilled Worker Program, which is the primary
federal avenue for selecting economic immigrants, to make it more responsive to
labour market needs. The Government has also expanded the Provincial
Nominee Program, which allows participating provinces and territories to
nominate foreign nationals who meet the labour needs specific to each
Canadian Immigration Integration Project provides detailed labour market
information to economic immigrants before they arrive in Canada so that they can make informed decisions about their future. Additional funding of
$15 million over the next three years has been provided to the Association of
Canadian Community Colleges to expand these services in India, China, and the Philippines.
many newcomers successfully integrate into Canada’s labour market without
additional supports, others have difficulty securing employment that best suits
their education and qualifications. This is in part because their credentials
are not always fully recognized. While the responsibility of
recognizing foreign credentials rests with provinces and territories, the
federal government plays a facilitative and leadership role in strengthening
Canada’s Foreign Credential Recognition system and in providing information,
path-finding and referral services to immigrants in Canada and overseas. This
system helps to remove barriers to their successful labour market integration
in employment commensurate with their skills and experience.
November 2009, the federal, provincial, and territorial governments announced
the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign
Qualifications. In 2010, activities focused on working with
the first set of target occupations identified in the Pan-Canadian Framework,
namely Architects, Engineers, Financial Auditors and Accountants, Medical
Laboratory Technologists, Occupational Therapists, Pharmacists,
Physiotherapists, and Registered Nurses.
processes within all Canadian jurisdictions meet the one-year commitment to
timely service outlined in the Framework for the first eight target
occupations. This means that internationally trained professionals who submit
an application to be licensed or registered to work in these fields will be advised
within one year how their qualifications compare to Canadian standards. In
some cases, they may also be informed of additional requirements, or be
directed to alternative career choices that would benefit from their skills and
Even those newcomers who have successfully settled in
Canadian society with recognized qualifications may face challenges to entering
the labour market. To address these
barriers the Government, through its settlement program, funds activities such
as job search help, skills training, provision of labour market information and
workplace orientation, and other services intended to equip newcomers with the
skills, information, and support they need to enter the labour market. In
addition, in conjunction with partners, the Government has
developed bridge programs, such as the Enhanced Language Training (ELT) Initiative, to facilitate the labour market entry of internationally trained professionals.
Persons with Disabilities
notes that employer awareness is a critical part of an inclusive labour force
and that persons with disabilities should have the opportunity to use their
skills to their fullest capacity and access assistance to prepare for, obtain
and maintain employment. The Government of Canada shares this view, and
supports the active participation of women and men with disabilities in the
well as the supports provided through the LMAs and LMDAs, provinces receive
dedicated funding for programs and services to improve the employment situation
of persons with disabilities through the Labour Market Agreements for Persons
with Disabilities (LMAPDs). Each year, over $218 million is transferred from
the Government of Canada to provinces through the LMAPDs. A wide range of
activities may be supported under LMAPDs, including employment counselling,
career planning, pre-employment preparation, post-secondary education, skills
training, wage subsidies, self-employment assistance, technical aids, and other
of Canada also invests $30 million annually in the Opportunities Fund for
Persons with Disabilities (OF). In response to the changing needs of persons
with disabilities and the critical role that employers can play, the OF program
has been adjusted to increase investments in employer awareness and to ensure
that best practices with return service delivery models are widely shared.
Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPPD) program provides basic earnings replacement
to eligible Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributors who are unable to work because
of a severe and prolonged disability. In
2008-2009, women represented
52 percent of the CPPD caseload (compared to 45 percent in
1997-1998), due to their rising levels of labour market participation. Since
disability can be dynamic, and many CPPD recipients would like to try to return
to work, CPPD encourages clients to work to their potential and offers a range
of return-to-work supports, including those tailored to individual needs.
in skills and employment for Canada's youth contributes to a strong economy now
and in the future. The Government of Canada has many labour market
programs for youth, including programs under the Youth Employment Strategy
(YES), which provides almost $340 million in ongoing support to help young
Canadians enter and stay in the labour market.
the objective is to help young people acquire the skills and work experience
they need to overcome barriers to gaining and maintaining employment. YES is a
horizontal initiative delivered by 11 federal departments and includes three
key programs: Skills Link, Career Focus and Summer Work Experience, which also
includes the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) Initiative. Beginning in 2011, $10
million in additional annual funding was permanently allocated to CSJ which
will result in 3,500 additional jobs for youth each summer.
Government of Canada believes that older workers possess invaluable knowledge
and skills. The Government has a longstanding record of supporting unemployed
older workers who face particular challenges in finding new employment.
Launched in 2006, as a temporary measure, the Targeted Initiative for Older
Workers (TIOW) was designed in order to address their specific needs. TIOW is
a federal-provincial/territorial cost-shared
initiative to provide employment assistance
services and employability improvement activities, such as skills upgrading and work experience, to
improve the employability of unemployed older workers aged 55 to 64 living in
the years, TIOW has received continuous support and has been a key part of the
Government’s response to the economic downturn. The initiative was extended
for three years in Budget 2008, with a $90 million enhancement, and most
recently enriched by $60 million in Budget 2009, Canada’s Economic Action Plan,
for a total investment of $220 million.
targets 'vulnerable' communities - cities and towns with a population of
250,000 or less, where jobs are harder to find as they experience ongoing high
unemployment or rely significantly on an employer or industry that has
experienced downsizing or closure. All provinces and territories participate
in TIOW, making the Initiative national in scope. The Initiative has been
successful in helping close to 14,000 displaced older workers re-enter the
is an essential stepping stone to participation in the labour market and
fundamental to ensuring economic security for individuals and families.
Moreover, a strong economy and labour market depend upon a skilled and educated
workforce. The Government of Canada’s objective is to create the
best-educated, most skilled, and most flexible workforce in the world, particularly
in an economy that increasingly relies on knowledgeable and innovative
workers. The Government supports provinces and territories in ensuring that
Canadians can access post-secondary education. The Government also provides
many direct supports to Canadians to assist with the costs of post-secondary
2010-2011, the Government is providing almost $10.4 billion in federal support
for post-secondary education. Of this, over $3.4 billion is provided to
provinces and territories through the Canada Social Transfer (CST), a block
transfer, and approximately $7 billion is provided through direct support and
tax measures to Canadian students, their families, institutions, and
the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) and Canada Student Grants Program (CSGP), the Government of Canada works to improve access to and completion of post-secondary
education for all Canadians. Through the CSLP and CSGP, the Government
provides both loans and grants to assist students with the cost of
the 2009-2010 school year, federal loans and grants were provided to over
400,000 post-secondary students across Canada.
Government introduced the new CSGP in 2009 which, last year alone, provided
non-repayable grants to approximately 290,000 students from low- and
middle-income families, students with permanent disabilities, and low-income
students with children. Students from low-income families accounted for
approximately 190,000 recipients of the grant.
2009, the Government also introduced a new support for students experiencing
difficulty in repaying their loans. Under the new Repayment Assistance Plan
(RAP) and Repayment Assistance Plan for Borrowers with Permanent Disabilities
(RAP-PD), borrowers who are having difficulty paying back their student loan
debt are expected to pay back only what they can reasonably afford based on
their family income and family size, with monthly payments limited to no more
than 20 percent of family income.
In addition to these direct supports, the Government also encourages
early savings for post-secondary
education through the Canada Education Savings Program. The program offers a
grant, the Canada Learning Bond (CLB), specifically targeted to help parents, friends, and
family members save early for the post-secondary education of children in
Government of Canada is committed to strengthening the economic security of
Canadian individuals and families, enabling them to remain resilient. While
labour force participation fosters economic prosperity, the Government
recognizes that some individuals may face barriers to participation and require
additional support to help them reach their full potential. The Government
works closely with provinces and territories to address the economic security
of diverse groups of Canadian men and women. The Government also provides
targeted investments to specific groups, such as families with children,
working-age Canadians, Aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, and
seniors. HUMA recognizes the barriers facing many of these groups in their
analysis of low-income trends in Canada. The Government of Canada also
understands the challenges confronted by these groups and provides a variety of
measures, such as benefits for families with children or tax supports for
persons with disabilities, to assist vulnerable Canadians in achieving
success. These measures assist Canadians in a variety of circumstances, rather
than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.
of the initiatives that address the economic security and well-being of
Canadians fall under provincial and territorial jurisdiction. The
Government of Canada works closely the provinces and territories in tackling
challenges related to poverty, housing, and homelessness.
Government of Canada provides substantial funding to provinces and territories
through the CST, the Canada Health Transfer (CHT), and the Equalization and the
Territorial Formula Financing (TFF) transfers that may be used to support
poverty reduction initiatives.
the CST, the Government of Canada provides significant, growing
financial support to provincial and territorial governments to assist them in
the provision of social assistance and social services.
2007 renewed and strengthened the CST, by extending the funding framework to
2013-2014, legislating an annual 3 percent escalator, and increasing base
funding levels. At the same time, the transfer was moved to an equal per
capita cash basis and new investments were made to facilitate this move to
equal cash support for all Canadians. The Government also increased the
transparency of the support provided through the CST by providing information
on the notional allocation of support among the three priority areas
(post-secondary education, social assistance and social programs, and programs
a result, in 2011-2012, total CST cash support will total $11.5 billion, with
billion notionally allocated to social assistance and programs for children.
Total CST support will reach $12.2 billion in 2013-2014 as a result of the
annual escalator. Provinces and territories have the flexibility to allocate
this growing funding to the supported areas according to their own needs and
priorities, which may include measures relating to poverty reduction.
Government of Canada also provides significant unconditional annual funding to
provinces and territories through the Equalization and the TFF transfers. This
funding supports provincial and territorial governments in the provision of
programs and services to their residents according to their needs and
priorities, which may also include poverty reduction measures. In 2011-2012,
the Equalization and TFF transfers will amount to $14.7 billion and $2.9
Government recognizes the linkages between economic security and the health of
Canadians, while respecting provincial/territorial jurisdiction. Although
health care is but one aspect among many determinants of health, the Government
of Canada makes significant contributions to
provinces and territories in support of health care delivery. This
includes over $25 billion in cash support provided through the CHT in
2010-2011 alone. As a result of the annual escalator of six
percent, the CHT cash transfer will reach $27 billion in
2011-2012 and over $30 billion by 2013-2014.
The Government also provided $8.2 billion in 2010-2011 in tax credits
and direct spending initiatives in areas of federal responsibility. This $8.2
billion consists of $7 billion in direct support, including First Nations’ and
veterans’ health care, health protection, disease prevention, and
health-related research, and approximately $1.2 billion in medical and
caregiver tax credits.
Government of Canada also provides support to low- and modest-income Canadians
through the tax system. Actions taken by the Government since 2006 will reduce
taxes on individuals and families by about $160 billion over 2008-09 and the
following five fiscal years, with low- and middle-income Canadians being the
principal beneficiaries. In 2011, about 30 percent of the personal income tax
relief provided by the Government since 2006 will go to Canadians with incomes
under $41,544. As a result of the tax relief measures the Government has
introduced, more than one million low-income Canadians have been removed from
the tax rolls altogether.
personal income tax measures that benefit low- and modest-income Canadians
include increasing the Age Credit amount for low- and modest-income seniors,
introducing and enhancing the Working Income Tax Benefit and increasing the
basic personal amount and related amounts for low-income spouses and eligible
dependants. Even Canadians who do not earn enough to pay personal income tax
can benefit from the two-percentage-point reduction in the Goods and Services
Tax (GST) rate. Maintaining the GST credit level, while reducing the GST by
two percentage points, translates into more than $1.1 billion in benefits
annually for low- and modest-income Canadians.
are the building block of Canadian society and the Government of Canada is
strengthening their economic security.
Government provides significant income support to Canadian families with children to help
them with the costs of raising their children. The majority of
these benefits go to low- and middle-income families. The CCTB, including the
NCB Supplement, provides a tax-free monthly benefit of up to $3,436 per year
for the first eligible child under the age of 18 ($6,632 for two children).
Government believes that parents know best when it comes to determining the
type of child care that best suits their family’s needs. In order to help them
with their choice, the Government introduced the Universal Child Care Benefit
(UCCB), which provides families with up to $1,200 per year for each child under
the age of six.
improved the taxation of the UCCB to ensure that single-parent families receive
tax treatment comparable to that of two-parent families. Budget 2010 also
improved the allocation of child benefits, including the UCCB, for
shared-custody parents. Parents who share custody of a child more or less
equally may each receive one half of the UCCB amount on a monthly basis.
federal personal income tax system also provides significant tax relief for
families with children. The Child Tax Credit (CTC), introduced in Budget 2007,
provides tax relief of up to $320 per child in 2011. The GST Credit child component
provides up to $131 per child per year (higher for single parents) in the
2010-11 benefit year. The Eligible Dependant Credit (EDC), increased in Budget
2007 and again in Budget 2009, provides single parents with up to $1,579 of tax
relief in 2011. As a result of actions taken by the Government since 2006, the
average Canadian family of four will pay almost $3,000 less in tax in 2011.
are key to addressing economic security challenges for Canadian families with
children. F-P/T governments work in partnership on the F-P/T NCB initiative to help prevent and reduce the
depth of child poverty, to promote attachment to the labour force by ensuring
that families will always be better off as a result of working, and to reduce
overlap and duplication by harmonizing program objectives and benefits through
NCB has been successful in reducing the incidence of families with children
living in low income and in reducing the severity of low income for those
families who continue to live below the low-income threshold.
and territories have primary responsibility for the design and delivery of
social and educational services for families and children including early
learning and child care services. In 2010-2011, almost
$6 billion is being provided by the Government for children through transfers
to provinces and territories, direct spending, and tax measures for families. To date,
this is the largest investment in this area of any federal government in Canada’s history. The
CST provides funding in support of the 2000 F-P/T Early Childhood
Development (ECD) initiative and the 2003 F-P/T Multilateral Framework on Early
Learning and Child Care (ELCC). Since 2007, the Government has transferred
an additional $250 million each year to support the creation of new child care
spaces across the country. Altogether, the Government of Canada is transferring
approximately $1.2 billion in 2010-2011 to provinces and territories in support
of families with young children through the CST, which will grow to almost $1.3
billion by 2013–2014.
Government of Canada invests in targeted measures to help support the economic
security of particular groups, including persons with disabilities, and
seniors. This approach allows the Government to focus on meeting the specific
needs of particularly vulnerable segments of Canada’s population, rather than
using a one-size-fits-all approach.
Persons with Disabilities
Government makes significant investments annually in targeted benefits and
services to Canadians with disabilities and those who care for them, as well as
those with above-average medical expenses.
March 2010 ratification of the United Nations Convention on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities demonstrates the Government of Canada’s
commitment to removing obstacles and creating opportunities for persons with
disabilities. It is the culmination of collaboration over many years by all
levels of government working together with members of the disability
community. The Government is taking action to build on this momentum and
continues efforts towards building an inclusive society for all.
Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), introduced in Budget 2007, helps
parents and grandparents of children with severe disabilities to better provide
for their child’s long-term financial security, with additional provisions for
low- and modest-income families. The Government has also worked with provinces
and territories to ensure that RDSP assets and income do not affect eligibility
for provincial/territorial income support programs. Over 40,000 RDSPs have
been opened since its inception.
Disability Tax Credit (DTC) recognizes that persons with disabilities and those
who care for them face extra disability-related expenses that reduce their
ability to pay tax.
measures that recognize the needs of persons with disabilities include the
Child Disability Benefit (CDB), the Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC), the
Disability Supplement of the WITB, the Caregiver Credit, the Infirm Dependant
Credit, CPP Disability Benefits, Veterans’ Disability Benefits, and EI Sickness
addition to these targeted benefits and services, the Enabling Accessibility
Fund (EAF) supports community-based projects across Canada that improve
accessibility, remove barriers, and enable Canadians with disabilities to
participate in and contribute to their community. To date, the EAF has
supported over 300 projects in communities all across the country. Budget 2010
builds on the success of the EAF by extending the program and providing an
additional $45 million over the next three years.
Canada has a
diversified retirement income system based on a mix of public and private
pensions including tax assistance to private retirement savings. This system
supports the economic security of all seniors and has contributed to the
dramatic reduction in low income among seniors over the past three decades.
The low-income rate among seniors in Canada has declined significantly, from
21.4 percent in 1980 to 5.8 percent in 2008, according to Statistics Canada’s post-tax
Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOs). The low-income rate among seniors in Canada is now one of the lowest rates among member countries of the Organisation for
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Canada has had significant
success in reducing low income among seniors, and the Government remains
committed to helping the most vulnerable seniors across the country.
retirement income system is part of our success. The OAS pension provides a
basis upon which Canada’s seniors, 65 years of age or over, may build
additional income from other sources, such as the Canada and Quebec Pension
Plans (CPP/QPP), Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), and other
personal savings, regardless of pre-retirement earnings. Additional support
for low-income seniors with little or no income apart from the OAS pension is
provided through the income-tested GIS. Together, the OAS pension and the GIS provide low-income seniors with a minimum income guarantee. Eligibility for OAS benefits is
not based on pre-retirement earnings, which is an important feature for older
women, who may have had frequent interruptions in labour market participation
or may have worked at home.
Government of Canada has taken steps to allow seniors to keep more of their
earnings. For GIS recipients, Budget 2008 increased the amount that can be
earned before GIS benefits are reduced from $500 to $3,500. Since 2006, the GIS benefit has been increased by 7 percent, above indexation. The Government of Canada also
introduced the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) and ensured that neither income
earned in a TFSA nor withdrawals from it affect eligibility for federal
income-tested benefits and credits, including GIS. As well, the amount that
seniors can earn before having to pay income tax has increased as a result of
the Government’s actions since 2006, including increases to the Age Credit and
Pension Income Credit amounts.
Government has also significantly simplified the application process for the GIS. In
2007, the Government introduced automatic renewal of the GIS so eligible seniors who file a tax return no longer have to reapply each year, once an
initial application is made. In 2009-2010, 95.8 percent of GIS recipients had their benefit automatically renewed, based on tax returns. The Government
continues to improve services to help ensure that eligible seniors receive the
benefits to which they are entitled.
build on this record, the Government has engaged in a public
discussion with Canadians on retirement-income adequacy and security. Following
public consultations last spring, at the December 2010 Finance Ministers
Meeting, F-P/T Finance Ministers agreed on a framework for defined contribution
Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs). These plans will assist Canadians,
including the self-employed, in meeting their retirement objectives by
providing access to a new, low-cost pension option.
governments will work collaboratively over the coming months to implement
PRPPs, taking into account the perspectives of employers, employees and those
that may offer PRPPs in developing legislation to implement these plans. The
federal government will also develop modifications to the tax rules to
Government also remains committed to fostering better financial literacy for
Canadians. To that end, the Government will review the Task Force on Financial
Literacy report to be released in early 2011 and will respond to the
recommendations coming out of the report.
Ministers also reviewed work done on a range of options for the CPP and agreed
officials should continue work. Given the long-term nature of pension
arrangements, it is important to ensure that any expansion to the CPP is
Government of Canada values the important role played by communities and
community-based organizations and understands that solutions to social
challenges are often identified and addressed locally through community
efforts. HUMA draws attention to community organizations as key players in
addressing needs in neighbourhoods across Canada. HUMA also emphasizes the
importance of support from and partnerships with various levels of government.
The Government provides various initiatives to support community-based
solutions and continues to improve these initiatives to ensure that local
organizations have the supports needed to carry out their work and effect
Government recognizes the significant and innovative contributions of the not-for-profit
(NFP)/voluntary sector in developing community-based initiatives across Canada. To assist these organizations, the Government is committed to establishing social
partnerships that support multi-sectoral initiatives to address complex social
issues in communities.
Social Development Partnerships Program (SDPP) is a grant and contribution
program that supports investments in NFP organizations to help improve life
outcomes for persons with disabilities, children and families and other vulnerable
populations. The SDPP consists of two primary components: Children and
Families / Social Partnerships ($8.3 million annually) and People with
Disabilities ($11 million annually).
January 2009, following a positive evaluation, the SDPP was extended to March
2012 contingent on program transformation. To ensure the SDPP continues to be
relevant and effective, the Government is now reflecting on SDPP’s design,
keeping in mind that many social problems persist overtime, are interrelated
and are best addressed by community actions that are connected and
mutually-reinforcing. As such, the stakeholders will be engaged on program
design to ensure the views of all are well understood.
new Treasury Board Policy and Directive on Transfer Payments provide
departments with increased flexibility for the management and delivery of
grants and contributions. The focus is on improving access to and awareness of
government programs for Canadians, and reducing administrative burden for
applicants and recipients. Work is underway at Human Resources and Skills
Development Canada (HRSDC) - the department that manages the majority of grants
and contributions for the NFP and voluntary sector, to pool resources for
multiple projects under one agreement. This "single window" approach
is being designed to address and support, in a more comprehensive way, the
complex social challenges that communities currently face. As well, in
November 2010, a new website was launched by HRSDC that provides clear and
easy-to-find information about funding opportunities and how to apply in order
to facilitate fair access by all partners, including smaller NFP and voluntary
organizations. Work is underway in 2011 to enhance this website and eventually
provide on-line services for application, funding agreements, payment and
January 2011, the Prime Minister announced the creation of a new volunteer
awards program to recognize the outstanding contributions of Canadians who
volunteer their time, energy and talents to helping others, as well as local
business leaders and individuals from not-for-profit organizations that make a
difference in their communities.
Government of Canada recognizes that accessing housing remains a challenge for
some Canadians. The Government is working in partnership with provinces and
territories, municipalities, Aboriginals, the not-for-profit and voluntary
sectors, the private sector, local organizations, and communities to address
housing and homelessness challenges.
2008, the Government of Canada approved funding for housing and homelessness
initiatives at $387.9 million per year for five years to 2014, for total
billion. This included a two-year program renewal of the Affordable Housing
Initiative (AHI), the Government’s housing renovation programs, including the
Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Programs (RRAP), and the Homelessness
Partnering Strategy (HPS). The overall five-year funding renewal provided an
opportunity to consider how best to move forward in order to continue to
respond effectively to the needs of Canadians. In the fall of 2009, the
Government consulted with provinces and territories, community partners, the
private sector, and national and Aboriginal stakeholders to consider how best
to use investments for the remaining three years (2011-2014).
are among the best-housed in the world and 80 percent have their housing needs
met in the private market. The Government continues to work with its partners
to improve housing choice and affordability by providing support and assistance
across a broad continuum, from shelter and supports for those at greatest risk,
to transitional and supportive housing to help people live more independently.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the Government helps Canadians
to access affordable, quality housing. The Government invests in a range of
programs and initiatives to address housing issues.
Government of Canada is continuing housing program funding at current funding
levels of $253.1 million per year for the remaining three years (2011-2014) and
is working with provinces and territories on delivery arrangements to best meet
the diverse housing needs of low-income Canadians. The federal government
understands that housing challenges differ from coast to coast to coast. Local
needs and priorities will be targeted to maximize effective housing solutions.
Government also provides $1.7 billion annually in support of 620,000 households
living in existing social housing units, which supplies these Canadians with
quality housing at affordable rates. Of the $1.7 billion, $151 million is
provided annually by the Government of Canada to support existing housing for
Aboriginal households living off-reserve. The Government also provides an
estimated $277 million per year for the construction and renovation of housing
Affordable Housing Centre provides support for the development of affordable housing
by non-profit and private sector proponents with little or no public subsidy.
Since its inception, the Centre has facilitated the production of over 53,000
affordable housing units for low-income clients, including families with
children, and older women.
Canada’s Economic Action
Canada’s Economic Action Plan announced more than $2 billion over two years to
build new affordable housing and to repair existing social housing, including
housing on-reserve and in the North, and housing for seniors and persons with
disabilities. As reported in the Seventh Report to Canadians on Canada’s Economic Action Plan measures, concrete results are evident. Over
12,200 projects are underway or completed to improve social housing and First
Nations housing across Canada.
particular, over 7,700 construction and renovation projects are underway or
have been completed, including the construction of 350 projects for low-income
seniors and persons with disabilities and the renovation of 7,350 existing
social housing projects nationwide. These projects support some of the most
vulnerable in our communities, such as single-parent families, recent
immigrants, and Aboriginal Canadians living off-reserve. Over 206 projects are
underway or completed in the North to address their housing needs. In
addition, $400 million is being invested over two years in support of housing
for over 3000 projects in close to 500 First Nations communities.
Government of Canada is also investing $150 million in 2009-10 and 2010-11 to
renovate and retrofit federally administered social housing. Currently, there
are over 1,300 projects underway or completed.
Economic Action Plan also provides up to $2 billion over two years in low-cost
loans to municipalities through CMHC to fund housing-related municipal
infrastructure projects. To date, 234 low-cost loans have been approved.
Government also supports housing accessibility for persons with disabilities
and mobility limitations through several measures. For example,
individuals eligible for the DTC purchasing a more accessible or functional
home are eligible for tax support through the First-Time Home Buyers' Tax
Credit and the Home Buyers' Plan, even if they are not first time home buyers.
Renovation and construction expenses incurred to allow an individual who has a
severe and prolonged mobility impairment or lacks normal physical development
to gain access to or be more mobile and functional within a dwelling may be
claimed under the METC. Tax relief is also provided through the METC for a
wide variety of devices which can make a home more accessible (e.g. stair
glides or hand rails).
also undertakes research to improve housing for persons with disabilities. The
results of this research are used to provide advice on home design techniques
that can be incorporated to better accommodate a person with a disability who
would be visiting or living in a new home.
Government of Canada has kept its commitment and renewed the HPS for three
years, until 2014, at the current funding level of $134.8 million per year. The HPS
continue to assist low-income Canadians and those who are homeless or at risk
of homelessness, including low-income seniors, persons with disabilities,
recent immigrants, and Aboriginal people in need of support.
HPS encourages communities to focus on long-term solutions to homelessness.
Sixty-one Designated Communities across Canada, which were selected in 2000
based on consultation and highest need, are required to develop Community Plans
that reflect communities’ unique priorities and facilitate collaboration among
all levels of government, Aboriginal partners, and the private and NFP and
voluntary sectors. Ten-year homelessness plans, housing-first approaches, and
longer-term solutions have also been developed in several cities.
renewed HPS will work to further strengthen relationships with provinces and
territories, building on the successful partnerships to date. Other program
enhancements include: greater support for rural and remote communities;
ensuring culturally relevant programming and services for Aboriginal women and
men who are homeless or at risk of homelessness; developing linkages between
mental health and homelessness; increasing the relevance and dissemination of
research; reinforcing accountability for results; and, improving data sharing
the linkages between homelessness and both physical and mental health, a total
of 16 Community Plans explicitly identify health-related issues among their
in 2008, the Government provided the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC)
with $110 million over five years to support innovative demonstration projects
to develop best practices to help Canadians facing mental health and
homelessness challenges. Demonstration projects based on a housing-first
approach are underway in five cities across Canada. The research projects will
collectively develop a body of evidence to help Canada become a world leader in
providing services to homeless people living with mental illness.
the HPS, the Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative (SFRPHI)
makes surplus federal properties available to community organizations, the NFP
and voluntary sector, and other levels of government to support projects that
help prevent and reduce homelessness. SFRPHI is an effective way of ensuring
that surplus federal properties are put to good use to help vulnerable Canadians.
Government of Canada shares HUMA’s objective of tackling poverty in Canada, and is addressing many of the challenges raised in Federal Poverty Reduction
Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada.
reduction cannot be accomplished without the support of all levels of
government and the NFP and voluntary sectors, the private sector, and
communities. The Government’s approach to poverty reduction includes labour
market participation, ensuring economic security, and investments in housing.
The best long-term strategy to combat poverty is the sustained employment of
Canadians, and the Government is making significant investments toward this
goal. The Government is also making targeted investments to strengthen
the economic security of Canadian individuals and families, with an emphasis on
those who face particular barriers, to ensure their security and stability.
Finally, the Government is investing in programs to improve access to and
quality of housing for Canadians, and to alleviate homelessness.
Government will take the Committee’s recommendations under advisement as it
continues to find ways to help Canadian men and women succeed, and continue to
evaluate the effectiveness of its programs with a focus on results for
Canadians. The Government is constantly making improvements and adjustments to
ensure that our investments are making a positive difference in the lives of
Canadians and their families.
Skills Employment Partnerships
Skills Employment and Training Strategy
Skills and Training Strategic Investment Fund
Canada Health Transfer
Canada Learning Bond
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Canada Pension Plan
Canada Pension Plan Disability
Canada Student Grants Program
Canada Summer Jobs Initiative
Canada Student Loans Program
Canada Social Transfer
Learning and Child Care
Language Training Initiative
and Services Tax
Adaptation for Seniors’ Independence Program
Resources and Skills Development Canada
Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of
Persons with Disabilities
Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities
Market Development Agreements
Expense Tax Credit
Health Commission of Canada
for Economic Cooperation and Development
Fund for Persons with Disabilities
of Literacy and Essential Skills
Quebec Pension Plan
Registered Pension Plans
Assistance Plan for Borrowers with Permanent Disabilities
Disability Savings Plan
Rehabilitation Assistance Program
Rehabilitation Assistance Program for Persons with Disabilities
Retirement Savings Plans
Development Partnerships Program
Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative
and Partnership Fund
Training and Transition Fund
Initiative for Older Workers
Child Care Benefit
Earner Protection Program
Income Tax Benefit