The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is about “making sure that all parents have the opportunity to give their kids a great childhood,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in an interview on Global’s The Morning Show.
The new benefit, which started rolling out on Wednesday, provides up to $6,400 to families with children under 6 and $5,400 for each child aged 6 to 17 – with families getting less the higher their income is.
The goal of the program, said Trudeau, was to figure out, “How do we help the families who need it by doing less for the families who don’t?”
To that end, he said his government consolidated the various benefits available under the Conservatives, and topped them up. It’s an expensive program: expected to cost an additional $22.4 billion over five years.
Trudeau believes it’s worth the extra cost. “I think people understand that there are a lot of folks in the middle class and working hard to join the middle class who could really use an extra $100 a month tax-free to help with the cost of raising their kids, day camp in the summer, new shoes and back-to-school clothes, back-to-school supplies in the fall,” he said. “These kinds of things really make a difference in people’s lives when you get money coming in every month tax-free.”
The CCB will also help the economy, he said. “When you put money in the pockets of people who really need it, they’re going to spend it. They’re going to make sure they’re contributing.”
While economists believe that the extra money will help low-income families and could stimulate the economy, they suggest that the amount of money isn’t enough to change most people’s thinking around major decisions like employment or whether to have children.
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