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Liberals’ child benefit lifting children out of poverty, StatCan says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in Feb. 2019.

OTTAWA — The national statistics office says fewer children are living in poverty and it is connecting the drop to the Liberal government’s signature child benefit.

The Liberals introduced the income-tested Canada Child Benefit midway through 2016, replacing a previous system of tax credits and the Conservatives’ universal child care benefit.

READ MORE: Canada child benefit — how your family is affected by the changes

New Statistics Canada figures show 278,000 fewer children living below the poverty line in 2017 — the first full year of the benefit — compared to 2015 when the Liberals took office.

Statistics Canada says an increase in the value of child benefits, coupled with gains in market income, put more money into the pockets of families in 2017.

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Liberal MPs are pointing to the numbers today as a sign that the benefit has done its job as a key tool to reduce child poverty rates.

The statistics office says overall, 9.5 per cent of the population lived below the poverty line in 2017, down from 10.6 per cent in 2016.

LISTEN: University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe joins Rob Breakenridge to discuss the change in child poverty in Alberta and Canada