________________________________________________________________________________
WHAT IS WELFARE?
________________________________________________________________________________

Social assistance or welfare is the income program of last resort in Canada. It provides money to individuals and families whose resources are inadequate to meet their needs and who have exhausted other avenues of support.

Until March 31, 1996, welfare was paid under the terms of the Canada Assistance Plan (CAP), an arrangement that allowed the cost to be shared by the federal government and the provinces and territories. On April 1, 1996, the Canada Health and Social Transfer (CHST) replaced CAP. Under the CHST, the federal government reduced its transfer payments to the provinces and territories for health, education and social services. As of July 1, 1998, the Canada Child Tax Benefit has covered some of the cost of welfare for families with children.

Although people talk about welfare as a single entity, there are really 13 welfare systems in Canada: one in each province and territory, including the new territory of Nunavut. Despite the fact that each of the 13 systems is different, they have many common features. They have complex rules which regulate all aspects of the system, including eligibility for assistance, the rates of assistance, the amounts of other income recipients are allowed to keep, and the way in which applicants and recipients may question decisions regarding their cases.

 

ELIGIBILITY

Eligibility for welfare is based on general administrative rules that vary widely throughout the country. For example, applicants must be of a certain age (usually between 18 and 65). Full-time students of post-secondary educational institutions qualify for assistance in some provinces and territories only if they meet stringent conditions. In other provinces and territories, students cannot apply for assistance without leaving their studies. Parents must try to secure any court-ordered maintenance support to which they are entitled. People who are disabled require medical certification of their conditions. Strikers are not eligible in most jurisdictions. Immigrants must try to obtain financial assistance from their sponsors.

Once applicants meet the administrative conditions, they go through a "needs test." The welfare department compares the budgetary needs of an applicant and any dependants with the assets and income of the household. Needs, assets and income are defined in provincial and territorial welfare laws. In general, welfare is granted when a household's non-exempted financial resources are less than the cost of regularly recurring needs that the welfare department considers acceptable, for example, food, shelter, household, personal needs and special needs.

2

 

First, the needs test examines applicants' fixed and liquid assets. In most provinces and territories, fixed assets such as a principal residence, furniture and clothing are considered exempt. Most provinces and territories also exempt the value of a car, although some jurisdictions take into consideration factors such as the need for a private vehicle and the availability of public transportation. Property and equipment required for employment are generally considered exempt. Applicants are usually required to convert any non-exempt fixed assets into liquid assets and to use any non-exempt liquid assets for their ongoing needs before qualifying for welfare.

The limits on liquid assets (that is, cash, bonds and securities that are readily convertible to cash, and the cash value of life insurance in some provinces and territories) appear in Table 1. The amounts vary by household size and employability. Where a household's liquid assets are higher than the amounts in Table 1, that household is not entitled to welfare until the excess is spent on approved needs.

The amounts shown in Table 1 are the liquid asset exemption levels that were in effect in January 1999.

After welfare departments examine the fixed and liquid assets of welfare applicants, they identify all the sources of income for that household. Some types of income, such as the basic federal Child Tax Benefit (but not the supplement) and the federal GST credit, are normally considered exempt in the determination of eligibility for welfare. Welfare departments consider that income from other sources such as employment, pensions and unemployment insurance is fully or partially available for support of the household.

In most provinces and territories, welfare departments consider the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit to be income that is deducted 100 percent from the family welfare cheque. Some provinces have reduced the amount of welfare they provide to families with children instead of treating the federal benefit as income. Only Newfoundland and New Brunswick allow families with children that are on welfare to keep the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit.

Finally, welfare departments subtract all non-exempt income from the total needs of the household. Applicants qualify for welfare if their household's needs are greater than the household's resources or if there is a budget surplus that is insufficient to meet the cost of a special need such as medications or disability-related equipment.

The needs test was the central eligibility criterion required by the assistance provisions of the Canada Assistance Plan. The law authorized the federal government to share with the provinces and territories the costs of welfare only on behalf of households that qualified on the basis of need. Since the Canada Health and Social Transfer replaced the Canada Assistance Plan in April 1996, provinces and territories are no longer required to use a needs test to qualify for federal contributions to their welfare programs. As of the date of this report, however, no province or territory has replaced its needs test.

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TABLE 1, LIQUID ASSET EXEMPTION LEVELS AS OF JANUARY 1999

 

UNEMPLOYABLE

EMPLOYABLE

 

SINGLE
PERSON

SINGLE PARENT,
ONE DEPENDANT

SINGLE PERSON
WITH DISABILITY

SINGLE PERSON

FAMILY

NEWFOUNDLAND1

$1,500

$2,500

$3,000

$40

$100

PRINCE EDWARD
ISLAND

**2

$1,200

$900

$50 to $2003

$504

NOVA SCOTIA

$1,5005

$2,500

$3,000

Province generally requires applicants to
expend liquid assets to meet basic needs.

NEW-BRUNSWICK

$1,000

$2,000

$3,000

$1,000

$2,000

QUEBEC6

$712

$1,037

$712

$712

Couple,two children:
$1,478

ONTARIO7

$5,000

$7,500

$5,000;

Single person: $520
Couple: $901
Couple, one child: $1,530
Adult, one child: $1,457

MANITOBA8

$2,000

$2,000

$2,000

0

0

SASKATCHEWAN

$1,500

$3,000

$1,500

$1,500

$3,0009

ALBERTA

$1,500

$2,500

$1,50010

$50 cash plus the
equivalent of $1,450
in cash assets

$250 cash plus the
equivalent of
$2,250 in cash
assets

BRITISH COLUMBIA11

$500

$5,000

$3,000

$500

$5,000

4

 

TABLE 1, LIQUID ASSET EXEMPTION LEVELS AS OF JANUARY 1999

 

UNEMPLOYABLE

EMPLOYABLE

 

SINGLE
PERSON

SINGLE PARENT,
ONE DEPENDANT

SINGLE PERSON
WITH DISABILITY

SINGLE PERSON

FAMILY

YUKON12

$500

$1,500

$1,500

$500

$1,000 for two
persons + $300 for
each additional
family member to
a maximum of $1,500

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

The director may determine that some assets should not be converted into cash for social or economic
reasons and that they are therefore not considered as a personal resource.

NUNAVUT

The director may determine that some assets (such as those used in traditional activities) should not be
converted into cash for social or economic reasons and that they are therefore not considered as a
personal resource.

1On August 1, 1997, Newfoundland reduced the liquid asset exemptions for a single unemployable person from $2,500 to $1,500 and reduced the exemption for a single unemployable parent with one dependant from $5,000 to $2,500.

2In Prince Edward Island, single applicants were not considered unemployable unless they were disabled.

3 For unemployed applicants who require assistance for less than four months, the exemption is $50 a month. For a single person on assistance for four months or more, the liquid asset exemption level is $200.

4This level applies to unemployed applicants with families who require assistance for less than four months. For persons with dependants who are on welfare for four months or more, liquid asset exemption levels are $1,200 to $2,400, depending on family size.

5This exemption applies to single persons over 60 years of age who are not eligible for the Old Age Security pension. Nova Scotia does not consider single applicants unemployable unless they are disabled. Married persons with a disabled partner may keep assets of $5,500.

5

 

6Quebec revised its test for liquid assets in 1998. Under the system in place from 1996 to 1998, liquid assets had to be below the monthly amount of welfare that a person would have qualified to receive. As of 1998, Quebec set standard maximum liquid asset amounts according to family size. If the applicant's assets – including expected income from other sources during the month of application – falls below the maximum, the welfare cheque for that month is calculated based on the rest of the days left in that month. Employment Insurance payments are exempt from the calculation. Heat and utility costs are subtracted from the total assets. Exemptions are uniform regardless of disability and work expectations.

7The "unemployable" category is the Ontario Disability Support Program; the "employable" category is Ontario Works, which underwent changes in 1998. Ontario may allow households applying for or in receipt of welfare to exceed the maximum exemption level if the savings will be used for an item Ontario deems necessary for the well-being of a member of the household, for example, a specially equipped van or an electric wheelchair.

8The provincial government has taken over the administration of welfare in the City of Winnipeg. The provincial Municipal Assistance Regulation does not allow any liquid asset exemption for applicants. In areas where the municipal government administers the program, it has the discretion to allow an exemption of up to $400 per person to a maximum of $2,000 per household, once a person or family has qualified for assistance.

9The level of $3,000 applies to a person with one dependant. There is an additional $500 liquid asset exemption for each additional dependant.

10This rate refers to people who receive welfare under the Supports for Independence program. Alberta grants an exemption of up to $3,000 if a person is severely and permanently disabled and has high needs because of the costs of personal support services. Most people with severe disabilities receive benefits under the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program, rather than welfare. In October 1999, the asset limit for AISH was $100,000.

11These exemption levels apply to British Columbia welfare recipients under age 55. The liquid asset exemption for single recipients 55 and older is $3,000. There is an additional $500 liquid asset exemption for each additional dependant.

12 The exemption level for employables applies to people on assistance for less than 90 days. Higher levels are permitted for those on assistance for more than

6

 

RATES OF ASSISTANCE

 

Every province and territory uses a different method of calculating basic social assistance, which generally includes food, clothing, shelter, utilities, and an allowance for personal and household needs.

Applicants and recipients may be eligible for extra assistance in most provinces and territories if they have special needs such as medication, prosthetic devices, technical aids and equipment, special clothing or dental care. Welfare departments provide cash or "in kind" support in the form of vouchers, goods or services.

Sometimes applicants require assistance only for a special-needs item such as medication but they are able to provide for other basic needs from their own resources. In such cases, a province or territory may grant the specific amount that the household requires, provided that the applicants are eligible under the needs test.

Every province and territory has a list of special needs for which it will provide extra assistance. In some cases, only a portion of the cost of a particular item is paid. For example, the province may reimburse a certain percentage of dental costs, and the recipient is expected to pay the remaining amount.

Across Canada, welfare officials have some degree of discretion in deciding whether certain households qualify for special assistance under provincial or territorial welfare regulations. Discretion is both a strength and weakness of the welfare system. On one hand, welfare recognizes the fact that individuals may have ongoing or one-time special needs for which they require assistance. On the other hand, a person with special needs may be considered eligible for extra assistance by one welfare worker, but not by another.

Table 2 presents a national picture of estimated welfare incomes for 1999. The incomes shown are for the basic needs of four household types: a single employable person, a single disabled person, a single-parent family with a two-year-old child and a two-parent family with two children ten and 15 years of age. When we calculated the welfare incomes, we assumed that each of the households went on welfare on January 1, 1999 and remained on welfare for the entire calendar year.

The figures in the table must be interpreted with caution. They are estimates of what a particular family or a single person might receive. Welfare is a highly individualized program of income support, so every applicant could be eligible for a different amount of financial assistance because of the circumstances in his or her household.

It is especially important to understand the derivation of the social assistance figures in Column 1. These figures are both maximum and minimum amounts. They are maximum amounts in that they represent the highest level of welfare that a designated province or territory will provide to a given household unit for its basic living needs. These rates can be reduced in all provinces and territories for a number of reasons. For example, legislation in all jurisdictions allows welfare authorities to reduce, cancel or suspend benefits if an employable recipient refuses a reasonable job offer, or quits a job without just cause. In Quebec, the welfare department sometimes considers the financial support of young people to be the responsibility of their parents. In those cases, Quebec will reduce the assistance rate and demand a contribution from the parents of the welfare recipient.

7

 

These figures are also minimum amounts in that they do not generally include special-needs assistance to which a given household may be entitled, such as costs related to a disability or the cost of searching for a job.

BASIC SOCIAL ASSISTANCE

The column called basic social assistance shows the basic welfare that eligible households are entitled to have. Basic assistance generally includes an amount for food, clothing, shelter, utilities, personal and household needs. The figures in the basic social assistance column also reflect the reduction in assistance caused by the clawback of the supplement to Canada Child Tax Benefit that began in July 1998.

To ensure to the greatest extent possible the comparability of the data, we made a number of assumptions in calculating basic assistance. These assumptions concerning recipient households include where people lived, the ages of the children, the employability of the household head, the type of housing and the case history.

A. RESIDENCE

The rates of social assistance shown for each province or territory are for the largest municipal area. This is because maximum shelter allowances vary by region in many jurisdictions. Households living in smaller municipalities often receive lower benefits because their shelter costs are lower than in large urban centres (and most shelter allowances are based on actual shelter costs). Some provinces and territories offer supplements to compensate welfare households living in remote areas for higher living costs.

B. AGES OF CHILDREN

Welfare rates for families with children in this report are based on the assumption that the child in the one-parent family is two years old and the children in the two-parent family are ten and 15 years old. Some provinces and territories vary a family's entitlement with the age of each child in the household.

C. EMPLOYABILITY OF THE HOUSEHOLD HEAD

In Table 2, we assigned short-term rates of assistance (which are generally lower than long-term rates) to single employable individuals and couples with children in all jurisdictions. The rates for single parents are based on the employability classifications in each province and territory.

8

 

In all jurisdictions, we have based our calculations on the assumption that the disabled person received welfare, not payments for special, long-term disability programs. In Alberta, for example, people with severe and permanent disabilities may be eligible for a special program called Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), providing they can supply the province with medical proof of the severity of their disability. In April 2000, 25,000 Albertans received support from AISH, while 8,500 people who were classified as "not expected to work" received support from the regular welfare program.

D. TYPE OF HOUSING

We assumed that the welfare households in this report are tenants in the private rental market rather than homeowners or social housing tenants. We also assumed that they did not share their accommodation. All provinces and territories reduce welfare entitlements when recipient households live in subsidized housing or share their housing.

In Newfoundland, single able-bodied people are granted welfare only under room-and-board arrangements, which are much lower than the payments for renting an apartment. The monthly room-and-board rate is only $93 a month. Three-quarters of single employable people receiving welfare under the room-and-board rate receive extra payments because of extenuating circumstances as determined by the welfare department.

Where shelter allowances do not include the cost of utilities, we added the cost of utilities to the shelter rates. We used maximum shelter rates in all jurisdictions.

Saskatchewan paid welfare recipients the actual cost of their utilities up to a set maximum amount until 1993. After 1993, Saskatchewan paid the actual costs with no limits. In last year's version of this report, the figures showed the actual average amount the province paid to welfare recipients of each family type. In this year's edition, the rate is based on the actual December 1999 payment multiplied by twelve months.

One notable change occurred in the Northwest Territories. Until 1997, there were no maximum rates for shelter. The welfare department covered the cost of actual rents, and these varied widely in the North. As of January 1, 1997, the Northwest Territories created a new welfare program with maximum rents of $450 a month for the single employable and single disabled people, $1,100 for the single parent with one child, and $1,300 for the couple with two children. The Northwest Territories covers the actual cost of utilities, but the territorial government did not provide the National Council of Welfare with the typical amounts paid. The figures for basic assistance from 1997 and 1998 are therefore much lower than those for previous years. Officials from the Territories provided us with the actual average utilities payments for September 1999, so the 1999 figures represent the September payments multiplied by twelve.

9

 

E. CASE HISTORY

In order to "annualize" the rates for this report, we assumed that these four typical households started receiving welfare on January 1, 1999, and remained on assistance until the last day of each calendar year.

We calculated basic social assistance month by month for each category of recipient in each province and territory, taking into account increases or decreases in rates as of their effective dates within each year. We also assumed that welfare households did not have any income from paid work during the time they were on assistance.

F. SPECIAL ASSISTANCE

Welfare departments provide two kinds of assistance for special needs. Some supplementary allowances are paid automatically to recipients in certain groups, such as people with disabilities or parents with school-age children. These are the amounts that appear in the second column in Table 2. Examples of this type of special assistance include extra assistance for people with disabilities, money for school expenses, winter clothing allowances and Christmas allowances. The footnotes explain the special assistance in each jurisdiction.

Welfare departments also provide a second kind of assistance for one-time special needs, including items such as funeral expenses, moving costs or emergency home repairs. We have not included this type of special assistance in this report because the special needs are established on a case-by-case basis by individual welfare workers. In some cases, approval is required from an administrator, director or designated professional such as a doctor.

We have incorporated special assistance in Column 2 of Table 2 only when welfare departments would automatically provide it to certain recipients. If the welfare recipient has to provide special reasons to qualify for this assistance, our figures exclude it.

CHILD TAX BENEFIT

The child tax benefit system changed radically in recent years. Successive federal governments have moved to "target" their financial support to families at the lower end of the income spectrum. The federal child tax benefit column shows the basic Child Tax Benefit and the supplement, including increases on July 1, 1999.

In 1999, the federal government paid a basic annual benefit of $1,020 for each child under age 18 in most parts of Canada. Quebec and Alberta asked the federal government for different calculations of the basic benefits. In Quebec, payments vary according to the ages and number of children in each family. In Alberta, payments vary according to the ages of the children. In all provinces and territories, there was a supplementary annual benefit of up to $213 for each child under age seven.

10

 

As of July 1, 1998, the federal government provided all families with incomes under $20,921 with a supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit. If a family had one child, the supplement was $605 a year or $50.42 a month. Families with two children received a supplement of $1,010 a year or $84.16 a month. As of July 1, 1999, the supplement was $785 a year or $65.42 a month for a family with one child and $1,370 a year or $114.17 a month for a family with two children. Our calculations show the lower rate from January to June 1999 and the increase from July to December 1999.

Only those families on welfare who lived in Newfoundland and New Brunswick saw an increase in their incomes because of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit. The other provinces and territories clawed the money back in different ways. In Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, the welfare departments consider the supplement to be non-exempt income that triggers a cut in the families' welfare cheques. In Quebec, Saskatchewan and Alberta, the provincial governments have actually cut welfare benefits by the amount of the supplement to the Child Tax Benefit. In our calculations, we have shown the basic Canada Child Tax Benefit and the supplement under the column called Federal Child Tax Benefit and we have shown the deductions in the column for social assistance.

As a result of the clawback, the already complex system of welfare programs has become even more complicated. With all the new rules and variations in welfare across the country, it is now almost impossible for welfare recipients to be sure that they are receiving all the benefits to which they are entitled.

The National Council of Welfare is very concerned by the fact that the clawbacks under the Canada Child Tax Benefit discriminate against families on welfare. Our 1998 report, Child Benefits: Kids Are Still Hungry, estimated that only 36 percent of poor families with children would benefit from the Canada Child Tax Benefit. Fifty-nine percent of two-parent poor families but only 17 percent of poor single-parent families would be allowed to keep the benefit. As women head most single-parent families, we believe that this constitutes discrimination on the basis of gender.

PROVINCIAL AND TERRITORIAL CHILD BENEFITS

The Newfoundland and Labrador Child and Family Benefit began in August 1999. The single-parent family with one child receives $17 a month and the two-parent family with two children receives $43 a month.

Nova Scotia uses the money it claws back from the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit to support the Nova Scotia Child Benefit for all families with net annual incomes below $16,000. Beginning in July 1998, families received $250 a year for their first child and $168 for the second child. As of July 1999, families received $324 for the first child and $242 for the second child. Our calculations show the lower amount from January to June 1999 and the higher amount for July to December 1999.

11

 

In October 1997, New Brunswick introduced a provincial Child Tax Benefit worth $21 a child each month, retroactive to April 1997. There have been no increases to the Benefit since then.

Quebec provides a family allowance over and above the federal Child Tax Benefit. This was worth $81.25 a month for each child from January to July 1999, then $66.25 a month for each child from August 1999 on. Quebec also paid a special allowance to families worth $9.77 a month for the first child under six, a single-parent supplement and a supplement to the family allowance.

The Saskatchewan Benefit provided $75 a month for families with one child and $167 a month for families with two children until June 1999. In July 1999, Saskatchewan reduced this amount by the amount of the increase in the federal government's payment under the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit. From July to December, these families received $60 a month and $137 a month respectively. Saskatchewan also provides an allowance of $35 a month to the single-parent family.

In July 1996, British Columbia introduced the BC Family Bonus as part of a package of initiatives known as BC Benefits. The Family Bonus is an income-tested monthly payment to all low-income families with children that have filed income tax returns for the previous year and have applied for the Child Tax Benefit. Families on welfare received $103 a month per child for January to June 1999 and $105 a month from July to December 1999 from the BC Family Bonus. This amount includes the federal government's contribution for the supplement to the Child Tax Benefit. BC reduced its basic welfare payment by the value of the BC Family Bonus.

Northwest Territories uses the money it claws back from the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit to support the NWT Child Benefit for all families with net annual incomes below $20,921. Beginning in July 1998, families receive $330 annually for every child. The amount did not change in 1999.

The new territory of Nunavut adopted most of the welfare policies of the Northwest Territories. Its Nunavut Child Benefit provides $330 a year for each child.

Several provinces and territories also provide incentives to low-income workers with children. We have not included these programs in our calculations because we base our estimates on the welfare incomes of parents with no earned income.

12

 

GST CREDIT

The column for federal GST credit shows the federal refundable credit for the Goods and Services Tax or the federal portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax in the Atlantic provinces. The GST credit is paid quarterly. The four payments received in 1999 were worth a maximum of $199 annually for each adult or the first child in a single-parent family. For other dependent children, the total was a maximum of $105 a year for each child.

Single adults, including single parents, also received an income-tested supplement to a maximum of $105 in 1999 if their 1998 incomes were higher than $6,456.

PROVINCIAL TAX CREDITS

The tax credits in Column 6 are the provincial government refund of the Harmonized Sales Tax in Newfoundland, the Sales and Property Tax Credits in Ontario and the Sales Tax Credit in British Columbia.

 

 

 

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TABLE 2, ESTIMATED 1999 ANNUAL WELFARE INCOME BY TYPE OF HOUSEHOLD

 

BASIC
SOCIAL
ASSISTANCE

ADDITIONAL
BENEFITS

FEDERAL
CHILD TAX
BENEFIT1

PROVINCIAL/
TERRITORIAL
CHILD BENEFITS

FEDERAL
GST
CREDIT2

PROVINCIAL
TERRITORIAL
TAX CREDITS

TOTAL
INCOME

NEWFOUNDLAND3

Single Employable4

1,102

 

 

 

199

40

1,341

Disabled Person5

6,940

1,500

 

 

237

40

8 717

Single Parent, One Child6

11,316

 

1,928

85

495

100

13,924

Couple, Two Children7

12,064

 

3,230

215

608

200

16,317

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND8

Single Employable

5,316

 

 

 

199

 

5,515

Disabled Person9

7,116

1,092

 

 

234

 

8,442

Single Parent, One Child10

9,277

 

1,928

 

465

 

11,670

Couple, Two Children11

13,786

175

3,230

 

608

 

17,799

NOVA SCOTIA

Single Employable12

4,374

 

 

 

199

 

4,573

Disabled Person

8,568

 

 

 

241

 

8,809

Single Parent, One Child13

9,865

 

1,928

287

478

 

12,558

Couple, Two Children14

12,586

 

3,230

209

608

 

16,633

NEW BRUNSWICK

Single Employable

3,168

 

 

 

199

 

3,367

Disabled Person

6,696

 

 

 

203

 

6,899

Single Parent, One Child15

8,772

900

1,928

252

467

 

12,319

Couple, Two Children16

9,828

1,000

3,230

504

608

 

15,170

QUEBEC17

Single Employable18

6,024

 

 

 

199

 

6,223

Disabled Person19

8,712

 

 

 

239

 

8,951

Single Parent, One Child20

8,341

 

1,928

2,200

488

 

12,957

Couple, Two Children21

10,243

139

3,230

1,800

608

 

16,020

14

 

TABLE 2, ESTIMATED 1999 ANNUAL WELFARE INCOME BY TYPE OF HOUSEHOLD

 

BASIC
SOCIAL
ASSISTANCE

ADDITIONAL
BENEFITS

FEDERAL
CHILD TAX
BENEFITS1

PROVINCIAL/
TERRITORIAL
CHILD BENEFITS

FEDERAL
GST
CREDIT2

PROVINCIAL/
TERRITORIAL
TAX CREDITS

TOTAL
INCOME

ONTARIO22

Single Employable

6,240

 

 

 

199

383

6,822

Disabled Person23

11,160

 

 

 

293

306

11,759

Single Parent, One Child24

10,789

105

1,928

 

498

385

13,704

Couple, Two Children25

13,378

407

3,230

 

608

507

18,130

MANITOBA

Single Employable

5,352

 

 

 

199

 

5,551

Disabled Person26

7,157

870

 

 

230

 

8,257

Single Parent, One Child27

8,941

 

1,928

 

459

 

11,328

Couple, Two Children28

12,867

 

3,230

 

608

 

16,705

SASKATCHEWAN29

Single Employable

5,540

 

 

 

199

 

5,739

Disabled Person30

7,140

1,020

 

 

225

 

8,385

Single Parent, One Child31

8,253

 

1,928

1230

466

 

11,877

Couple, Two Children32

11,713

215

3,230

1,824

608

 

17,590

ALBERTA33

Single Employable

4,764

60

 

 

199

 

5,023

Disabled Person34

6,384

474

 

 

203

 

7,061

Single Parent, One Child35

9,019

60

1,843

 

453

 

11,375

Couple, Two Children36

13,774

210

3,327

 

608

 

17,919

COLOMBIE-BRITANNIQUE 37

Single Employable38

6,046

35

 

 

199

50

6,330

Disabled Person39

9,252

35

 

 

256

50

9,593

Single Parent, One Child40

10,548

80

1,928

553

502

50

13,661

Couple, Two Children41

12,396

190

3,230

1,306

608

100

17,830

15

 

TABLE 2, ESTIMATED 1999 ANNUAL WELFARE INCOME BY TYPE OF HOUSEHOLD

 

BASIC
SOCIAL
ASSISTANCE

ADDITIONAL
BENEFITS

FEDERAL
CHILD TAX
BENEFIT1

PROVINCIAL/
TERRITORIAL
CHILD BENEFITS

FEDERAL
GST
CREDIT2

PROVINCIAL/
TERRITORIAL
TAX CREDITS

TOTAL
INCOME

YUKON42

Single Employable43

10,790

155

 

 

228

 

11,173

Disabled Person44

10,790

1,655

 

 

258

 

12,703

Single Parent, One Child45

15,198

572

1,928

 

503

 

18,201

Couple, Two Children46

21,840

685

3,230

 

608

 

26,363

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES47

Single Employable48

8,299

 

 

 

214

 

8,513

Disabled Person49

10,639

 

 

 

261

 

10,900

Single Parent, One Child50

17,791

 

1,928

330

503

 

20,552

Couple, Two Children51

22,152

 

3,230

660

608

 

26,650

NUNAVUT52

Single Employable

10,188

 

 

 

214

 

10,402

Disabled Person53

12,288

 

 

 

261

 

12,549

Single Parent, One Child54

25,381

 

1,928

330

503

 

28,142

Couple, Two Children55

29,746

 

3,230

660

608

 

34,244

1 The Federal Child Tax Benefit column shows $1,020 of the basic benefit and $213 as a supplement for the child under seven in the single-parent family. The two-parent family with two children aged ten and 15 was eligible for $2,040 ($1,020 for each child). As of July 1, 1998, the single-parent with one child received a supplement of $605 a year (or $50.42 monthly) and the couple with two children received a supplement of $1,010 a year ($84.17 monthly). On July 1, 1999, the value of the supplement rose to $785 a year (or $65.42 a month) for the single-parent family and $1,370 a year (or $114.17 monthly) for the couple with two children. All provinces and territories except Newfoundland and New Brunswick deducted the value of the supplement from the welfare payments to families. Further changes to the supplement will appear in future editions of this report. Quebec and Alberta asked the federal government to vary the amount of the Child Tax Benefit, so the child benefit figures for these provinces differ.

2The GST credit is paid in quarterly instalments. The special GST supplement for single persons and single-parent families is included in the totals for the year.

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3 As of 1997, Newfoundland allows all welfare recipients to keep the provincial refund for the Harmonized Sales Tax. Each adult receives $40 and each child receives $60.

4 These rates apply to single able-bodied people under age 50. Rates of assistance to people over 50 are higher. Until June 1996, it was the practice of the Newfoundland welfare department to grant most single employable people welfare at room and board rates. The 1996 provincial budget made room and board the rule for all single employable people on welfare, except in exceptional cases. This rate has been calculated for a single employable person boarding with relatives in St. John's. On August 1, 1999, monthly room and board rates rose by two percent from $91 to $93. Three-quarters of single employable people receiving room and board rates on welfare receive extra payments because of extenuating circumstances.

5 The additional benefits column includes the flat-rate special allowance of $125 a month for a single person with a disability. It is paid only to individuals who are severely disabled and who require supportive services to aid independent living. When rents are greater than $149 monthly, the welfare department can provide a further $61 a month. On August 1, 1999, monthly rates rose two percent from $401 to $409.

6On August 1, 1999, the monthly welfare rate rose from $494 to $539. When rents are greater than $149 monthly, the welfare department can provide a further $61 a month.

7 On August 1, 1999, the monthly welfare rate rose two percent, from $618 to $630. When rents are greater than $149 monthly, the welfare department can provide a further $61 a month.

8As of 1997, Prince Edward Island considered the GST credit exempt income so the amount was not deducted from basic social assistance.

9Additional benefits include the special care allowance of up to $40 a month to help pay for the special needs arising from a disability and the personal comfort allowance of $51 a month for items of personal care.

10Prince Edward Island deducts the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit from basic social assistance.

11Prince Edward Island deducts the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit from basic social assistance. The additional benefits column shows back-to-school benefits of $100 and $75 for the children.

12Under special circumstances, Nova Scotia will allow single people to receive an additional $225 shelter allowance. These calculations do not include the higher rate for special circumstances.

13Nova Scotia deducts the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit from basic social assistance. Nova Scotia then uses the money it claws back to support the Nova Scotia Child Tax Benefit. As of July 1, 1998, families receive $250 a year for their first child and $168 a year for their second child. On July 1, 1999, the payment rose to $324 a year for the first child and $242 for the second child. To qualify for the Nova Scotia Child Tax Benefit, the family net annual income on federal tax returns must be lower than $16,000. Families do not have to have earned income. This amount appears in the provincial child benefits column.

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14Nova Scotia deducts the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit from basic social assistance. Nova Scotia then uses the money it claws back to support the Nova Scotia Child Tax Benefit. As of July 1, 1998, families receive $250 a year for their first child and $168 a year for their second child. On July 1, 1999, the payment rose to $324 a year for the first child and $242 for the second child. To qualify for the Nova Scotia Child Tax Benefit, the family net annual income on federal tax returns must be lower than $16,000. Families do not have to have earned income. This amount appears in the provincial child benefits column.

15New Brunswick allows families to keep the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit.. The additional benefits column shows the Income Supplement Benefit, a shelter subsidy that assists families with children paying high shelter costs. The maximum subsidy for eligible households is $90 per month from November to April and $60 per month from May to October.. The provincial child benefits column shows the New Brunswick Child Tax Benefit of $21 a month.

16New Brunswick allows families to keep the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit.. The additional benefits column shows the combined amount of the Income Supplement Benefit and the School Supplement ($50 a year per child). The provincial child benefits column shows the New Brunswick Child Tax Benefit of $42 a month beginning in April 1997.

17The value of the Quebec Sales Tax Credit is included in basic welfare assistance. The single disabled person was classified under the Financial Support Program. The single-parent family is classified as "unavailable" under the Work and Employment Incentives Program, and the others were classified as "non-participating."

18Basic assistance rates increased to $502 a month in January 1999. The actual assistance could be lower than the rates indicated here if Quebec deemed the recipient eligible for a "parental contribution" as defined by Quebec law.

19Basic social assistance for people with disabilities rose to $726 a month on January 1, 1999.

20Quebec reduces its payments for families with children by an amount equivalent to the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit by reducing the Family Allowance. The basic social assistance column shows the rate for the Work and Employment Incentives program, which Quebec increased on January 1, 1999. The column also includes the payment for young children, for the first child, and for the first child of a single parent. The shelter subsidy for recipients with dependent children rose from $72 a month to $80 a month in October 1999. Quebec asked the federal government to vary the amount of the federal Child Tax Benefit according to the age of the child and the number of children in a family. The provincial child benefits column shows the Quebec family allowance and the Family Allowance Supplement for the first child in a family. Quebec reduced the value of the Family Allowance Supplement on August 1, 1999 by an amount equivalent to the increase in the supplement to the federal Child Tax Benefit.

21Quebec reduces its welfare payments for families with children by an amount equivalent to the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit.. The additional benefits column includes the school expense allowance of $46 for each dependent attending primary school and $93 for each dependent in secondary school. Quebec asked the federal government to vary the amount of the federal Child Tax Benefit according to the age of the child and the number of children in a family. The provincial child benefit column shows the Quebec Family Allowance.

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22The provincial tax credits column shows the combined amount of the Ontario Sales Tax and Property Tax Credits for 1998 based on the recipients' shelter costs.

23Assistance for a single disabled person is based on the Ontario Disability Support Program, formerly known as GAINS-D. Rates were last increased in April 1993.

24Ontario deducts the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit from basic social assistance. Additional benefits are the winter clothing allowance of $105 for each dependent child.

25Ontario deducts the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit from basic social assistance. The additional benefits column shows the combined amount of the back-to-school allowances ($69 for the ten-year-old child and $128 for the 15-year-old) and the winter clothing allowance of $105 per child.

26The additional benefits column shows the disability benefit which was $70 a month until October 1999 when it rose to $80 a month.

27Manitoba deducts the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit from basic social assistance.

28Manitoba deducts the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit from basic social assistance.

29Until 1993, Saskatchewan paid actual utility costs up to a maximum amount. After 1993, Saskatchewan paid actual costs with no limits. Previous editions of this report showed the maximum rates, although few welfare recipients actually received the maximum. In Welfare Incomes 1997 and 1998, the calculation showed the actual average amount paid to welfare recipients of each family type. In Welfare Incomes 1999, the utility rate is based on the actual December 1999 rate multiplied by twelve.

30Additional benefits for people with disabilities in Saskatchewan include an allowance of $40 a month and a special care allowance of $25 a month for tasks they are unable to perform themselves. As of 1996, all disabled people on welfare are entitled to a special transportation allowance of $20 a month.

31 On July 1, 1998, the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit began. Saskatchewan lowered its welfare rates by the amount of the supplement.. The provincial child benefits column shows the Saskatchewan Benefit of $75 a month and the Saskatchewan Child Differential Allowance of $35 a month, both of which began in July 1998.

32 On July 1, 1998, the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit began. Saskatchewan lowered its welfare rates by the amount of the supplement.. The additional benefits column includes education-related expenses: $130 for children aged 14 and over and $85 for children between the ages of six and 13. The provincial child benefits column includes the Saskatchewan Child Benefits of $167 a month beginning on July 1, 1998.

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33The single employable person, the single-parent family and the two-parent family are classified under the Employment and Training Support program, and the single disabled person is classified under the Assured Support program.. The additional benefits column shows a "co-payment allowance" of $5 a month for each adult.

34The additional benefits column shows a monthly supplement of $20 for January to September which was raised to $78 monthly in October 1999 for any person eligible for Assured Support, and a monthly "co-payment allowance" of $5 for each adult.. People with severe and permanent disabilities are eligible for further assistance of $855 a month through the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped program. People with severe and permanent disabilities whose needs exceed the amount provided under the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped program are also eligible for special allowances of up to $3,000 a month to help pay the costs of personal supports as well as a handicap allowance of $175 a month. In April 2000, 25,000 Albertans received support from AISH while 8,500 people who were classified as "not expected to work" received support from the Assured Support program.

35 On August 1, 1998, Alberta reduced its basic social assistance rates for families with children by the amount of the supplement to Canada Child Tax Benefit. Alberta varies the amounts of the federal Child Tax Benefit according to the age of the child.. The additional benefits column shows the monthly "co-payment allowance" of $5 for each adult.

36 On August 1, 1998, Alberta reduced its basic social assistance rates for families with children by the amount of the supplement to Canada Child Tax Benefit. Additional benefits include education-related expenses: $100 for children aged 14 and over and $50 for children between the ages of six and 13. Alberta asked the federal government to vary the amounts of the federal Child Tax Benefit according to the age of the child.

37 Provincial Tax Credits are the B.C. Sales Tax Credit, which is payable to low-income households throughout the income tax system. The amounts shown ($50 per person per year) were paid in 1999 for the 1998 tax year.

38As of January 1996, British Columbia imposed an "employable reduction" on single employable people in their second and subsequent months on welfare. Single employables receive $546 a month in their first month on welfare and $500 a month subsequently. The amount under "Additional Benefits" shows a Christmas allowance of $35 for a single person.

39The amount under "Additional Benefits" shows a Christmas allowance of $35 for a single person.

40On July 1, 1998, British Columbia reduced basic social assistance for families with children by an amount equivalent to the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit. In July 1996, British Columbia introduced the B.C. Family Bonus. The Family Bonus is an income-tested monthly payment to all low-income families with children who have filed income tax returns for the previous year, and have applied for the Child Tax Benefit. Families on welfare receive $103 per child per month, which is deducted from their welfare, resulting in no change to the families' total income. The provincial child benefits column shows the B.C. Family Bonus. Previous editions of Welfare Incomes showed B.C. Family Bonus under the additional benefits column. The amounts under "Additional Benefits" show a Christmas allowance of $70 for the single-parent plus $10 for the child.

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41On July 1, 1998, British Columbia reduced basic social assistance for families with children by an amount equivalent to the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit. In July 1996, British Columbia introduced the B.C. Family Bonus. The Family Bonus is an income-tested monthly payment to all low-income families with children who have filed income tax returns for the previous year, and have applied for the Child Tax Benefit. Families on welfare receive $103 per child per month, which is deducted from their welfare, resulting in no change to the families' total income. The provincial child benefits column shows the B.C. Family Bonus. Previous editions of Welfare Incomes showed B.C. Family Bonus under the additional benefits column. The amounts under "Additional Benefits" show a Christmas allowance of $90, and school start-up fees of $42 for a child between the ages of five and 11 and $58 for a child 12 and older.

42Yukon last raised welfare rates in April 1991. This edition of Welfare Incomes includes the maximum payment for utilities. Previous edition did not include utilities payments.

43Additional benefits include the Christmas allowance of $30 per person and winter clothing allowance of $125 for adults and children 14 and older.

44Additional benefits include the Christmas allowance of $30 per person and winter clothing allowances of $125 for adults and children 14 and older. Disabled welfare recipients also receive a supplementary allowance of $125 a month if Yukon considers them "permanent exclusions from the labour force."

45Yukon deducts the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit from basic social assistance. Additional benefits include $6 a week for babysitting expenses, a $60 Christmas Allowance and a $200 winter clothing allowance.

46Yukon deducts the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit from basic social assistance. Additional benefits include school allowances of $50 for the 10-year-old and $65 for the 15-year-old, $120 for a Christmas Allowance and $450 for winter clothing.

47In January 1997, the Northwest Territories redesigned its welfare system. Until then, Northwest Territories paid actual shelter costs. Rates are now fixed, but the government pays the actual cost of fuel. Welfare recipients may be eligible for additional support if they undertake activities the territory considers "productive choices". "Productive choices" may include activities such as work, training, raising children under the age of three, and voluntary activities.

48 Northwest Territories raised the monthly food allowance for single people from $152 to $162 in August 1998.

49Northwest Territories raised the monthly food allowance for single people from $152 to $162 in August 1998. Under special circumstances, Northwest Territories will pay higher shelter costs for welfare recipients with disabilities. This figure assumes that the person with disabilities did not receive the higher shelter payment.

50Northwest Territories deducts the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit from basic social assistance. Northwest Territories then uses the money it claws back to support the NWT Child Tax Benefit. As of July 1, 1998, families with incomes below $20,921 receive $330 a year for each child. Families do not have to have earned income. The NWT Child Tax Benefit appears in the provincial/territorial child benefits column. Northwest Territories considers that raising a child under three is a "productive choice," so the parent and child each get a clothing allowance. This is included in the basic social assistance column. Northwest Territories raised the monthly food allowance from $273 to $295 in August 1998.

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51Northwest Territories deducts the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit from basic social assistance. Northwest Territories then uses the money it claws back to support the NWT Child Tax Benefit. As of July 1, 1998, families with incomes below $20,921 receive $330 a year for each child. Families do not have to have earned income. This amount appears in the provincial/territorial child benefits column. Northwest Territories raised the monthly food allowance from $485 to $524 in August 1998.

52 Nunavut Territory was created on April 1, 1999. Welfare policies were based on those of the Northwest Territories but with some modifications. Rates for Nunavut are based on the amounts granted to people living in Iqaluit. Under the administration of the Northwest Territories welfare system, rates for Iqaluit were often higher than rates in Yellowknife. Utility rates are based on actual average utility payments for September 1999. The shelter portion of Nunavut welfare can be raised under exceptional circumstances to cover the actual cost of housing. Welfare recipients may be eligible for additional support if they undertake activities the territory considers "productive choices." "Productive choices" may include activities such as work, training, raising children under the age of five, and voluntary activities.

53 People with disabilities receive a monthly disability allowance of $175 if they are over 60 or have a certificate from a doctor.

54 Nunavut deducts the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit from basic social assistance. Nunavut then uses the money it claws back to support the Nunavut Child Tax Benefit (a continuation of the NWT Child Tax Benefit). As of July 1, 1998, families with incomes below $20,921 receive $330 a year for each child. Families do not have to have earned income. This amount appears in the provincial/territorial child benefits column.

55 Nunavut deducts the value of the supplement to the Canada Child Tax Benefit from basic social assistance. Nunavut then uses the money it claws back to support the Nunavut Child Tax Benefit (a continuation of the NWT Child Tax Benefit). As of July 1, 1998, families with incomes below $20,921 receive $330 a year for each child. Families do not have to have earned income. This amount appears in the provincial/territorial child benefits column.

 

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