Access to Identification for Low-income Manitobans

Government-issued identification (ID) is essential to gain access to a wide range of government entitlements, commercial services and financial systems. Lack of ID on the other hand, represents a critical barrier that prevents low-income Manitobans from accessing these services and benefits, and ultimately results in further marginalization and deepening poverty. Other provinces are now recognizing that ID is necessary to navigate the modern world and are doing something to support those who fall through the cracks.

A new study, Access to Identification for Low-Income Manitobans researches what can be done to address these challenges and offers recommendations to reduce barriers to ID for low-income Manitobans.



Mapping the road toward increased accessibility to the child tax credit

Last year, the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) helped to lift nearly four million children out of poverty and provided economic relief to millions of struggling households. However, many first-time and lapsed filers from underserved and vulnerable populations missed out on these critical benefits. Locating and serving eligible low-income youth, formerly incarcerated individuals, people experiencing homelessness, immigrants, survivors of domestic violence, and isolated tribal populations has presented a challenging opportunity to free tax prep service providers across the country. 

This research highlights the key findings and recommendations to increase the accessibility to the CTC. 



Understanding Systems: The 2021 report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty

Canada’s National Advisory Council on Poverty’s second Annual Report, Understanding Systems, is the first report to provide a glimpse into poverty since COVID-19.

Based on community engagements with Canadians and provinces/territories over the last year, the Council has recommended five broad strategies to reduce poverty in Canada.

The pillars of the strategy are as follows:

  1. Indigenous prosperity
  2. Equity
  3. Dignity
  4. Prevention and early intervention
  5. Income from employment and government benefits

In a recent webinar, three Council members shared what strategies can make the greatest impact. Read more to learn about the key takeaways from the discussion.



RESPs and education incentives for children in care – toolkit for public primary caregivers

The Canada Education Savings Program (CESP) recently developed a Toolkit for Public Primary Caregivers to help child welfare organizations open Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) and access the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) for children in care.

Most children in care automatically qualify for the CLB, but too many of them are missing out on the CLB. As public primary caregivers in receipt of the Children’s Special Allowance, most child welfare organizations can open RESPs and request the CLB for children in their care.

The Toolkit explains the process for accessing federal education savings incentives from the perspective of a public primary caregiver. It explains how to get Social Insurance Numbers for children in care, how to open and manage an RESP, what to do with the account when a child is adopted or ages out of care, and how to access the money when the youth enrols in post-secondary education. It also includes an infographic for quick reference.



Le Programme canadien pour l'épargne-études (PCEE) a récemment élaboré une Trousse d’outils pour les responsables publics pour aider les organismes de protection de l'enfance à ouvrir des régimes enregistrés d'épargne-études (REEE) et à accéder au Bon d'études canadien (BEC) pour les enfants pris en charge.

La plupart des enfants pris en charge sont automatiquement admissibles au BEC, mais trop d'entre eux ne bénéficient pas du BEC. En tant que responsables publics recevant l'allocation spéciale pour enfants, la plupart des organismes de protection de l'enfance peuvent ouvrir des REEE et demander le BEC pour les enfants dont ils ont la charge.

EDSC_EnfantsPrisEnCharge_REEETroussedoutils.pdf  explique le processus d'accès aux incitatifs fédéraux à l'épargne-études du point de vue d'un responsable public. Elle explique comment obtenir un numéro d'assurance sociale pour les enfants pris en charge, comment ouvrir et gérer un REEE, ce qu'il faut faire avec le compte lorsque l'enfant est adopté ou cesse d'être pris en charge, et comment accéder à l'argent lorsque le jeune s'inscrit à des études postsecondaires. Il comprend également une infographie pour une consultation rapide.



Welfare in Canada, 2020

Maytree released the 2020 edition of the Welfare in Canada report. For each province and territory, this report provides data and analysis on the total welfare income that households receiving social assistance would have qualified for in 2020, including COVID-19 pandemic-related supports.

Welfare in Canada is a series that presents the total incomes of four example households who qualify for social assistance benefits in each of Canada’s provinces and territories in a given year.

Welfare in Canada, 2020 looks at the maximum total amount that a household would have received over the course of the 2020 calendar year, assuming they had no other source of income and no assets. Some households may have received less if they had income from other sources, while some households may have received more if they had special health- or disability-related needs.

The report looks at:

  • Social assistance program eligibility tests for assets and earned income;
  • How welfare incomes vary across Canada;
  • The components of welfare incomes in each province and territory;
  • Long-term changes in welfare incomes in each province and territory; and
  • The adequacy of welfare incomes in each province compared to poverty and low-income thresholds.

In addition, this year the report includes a new section that looks at the adequacy of welfare incomes in each province over time, an analysis that hearkens back to past reports prepared by the National Council of Welfare. Also, please note that this report measures the adequacy of welfare incomes relative to both the Market Basket Measure (MBM) – Canada’s Official Poverty Line – and the Deep Income Poverty threshold (MBM-DIP), which is equivalent to 75 per cent of the MBM. This analysis will replace the low-income threshold comparisons in future reports. We hope these additions will be helpful for those using the report.

In each jurisdiction, the total welfare income for which a household is eligible depends on its specific composition. For illustrative purposes, this resource focuses on the welfare incomes of four example household types:

  1. Unattached single considered employable;
  2. Unattached single with a disability;
  3. Single parent with one child, age two; and
  4. Couple with two children, ages ten and 15.



Early Planning Toolkit

A toolkit for parents/caregivers with a child with a disability ages 2 to 10, containing:

  • An everyday childhood action guide
  • Early planning priorities for parents with a child with a disability (upcoming webcast)
  • Accessing financial resources for a young child with a disability (upcoming webcast)
  • Early planning checklist



Workers receiving payments from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit program in 2020

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit program (CERB) was introduced to provide financial support to employees and self-employed workers in Canada who were directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This article examines the proportion of 2019 workers who received CERB payments in 2020 by various characteristics. CERB take-up rates are presented by industry, earnings group in 2019, sex, age group and province, as well as for population groups designated as visible minorities, immigrants and Indigenous people. Some factors that help explain differences in take-up rates among these groups of workers are also examined.



Employment Insurance, February 2021

February Employment Insurance (EI) statistics reflect labour market conditions as of the week of February 14 to 20.

Ahead of the February reference week, non-essential businesses, cultural and recreation facilities, and in-person dining reopened in many provinces, subject to capacity limits and various other public health requirements. Public health measures were relaxed in Quebec, Alberta, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick on February 8, although a curfew remained in effect in Quebec. Measures were loosened in many regions of Ontario on February 10 and 15, although stay-at-home orders remained in place in the health regions of Toronto, Peel, York and North Bay Parry Sound. In Manitoba, various measures were eased on February 12. In contrast, Newfoundland and Labrador reintroduced a lockdown on February 12, requiring the widespread closure of non-essential businesses and services.



Canadians’ Well-being in Year One of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Given the scope and the diversity of the reports and studies that examined the impacts of the pandemic on well-being, it can be challenging to absorb and understand all the ways in which quality of life has been affected by COVID-19. The well-being literature offers an approach that may help.

This report brings together diverse findings that illuminate changes in quality of life since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and provides valuable insights through examining these results through a well-being lens. Several widely used frameworks exist to describe the dimensions of well-being, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Framework for Measuring Well-Being and Progress.



Financial Relief Navigator

The Financial Relief Navigator is an online tool that can help you find support to raise your income or lower your expenses in these challenging times.

The tool will suggest income benefits or other support programs you may be eligible for in your province/territory in Canada. 

2020 Second Annual Report of the Disability Advisory Committee

In November 2017, the Minister of National Revenue, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, announced the creation of the Disability Advisory Committee to provide advice to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on interpreting and administering tax measures for persons with disabilities in a fair, transparent and accessible manner. The committee’s full mandate is attached as Appendix A. Key disability tax measures are described in Appendix B.

Our first annual report, Enabling access to disability tax measures, was published in May 2019. Since that time, we believe there has been important progress with respect to the administration of and communications about the disability tax credit (DTC). Our second annual report describes in detail the many improvements that the CRA has introduced over the past year in response to the recommendations in our 2019 report. These changes are summarized in “The Client Experience” on the following pages.

Section 1 of this second annual report presents a review of the 42 recommendations made in our first annual report. Each recommendation summarizes the relevant context and associated follow-up actions.

Section 2 covers the new areas of conversation during the second year of our mandate. Selected topics focus, for example, on DTC data, concerns of Indigenous peoples and eligibility for a registered disability savings plan.

Section 3 includes the appendices, which provide details not covered in the text.



Roadblocks and Resilience

This report, Roadblocks and Resilience Insights from the Access to Benefits for Persons with Disabilities project, provides insights on the barriers people with disabilities in British Columbia face in accessing key income benefits. These insights, and the accompanying service principles that participants identified, were obtained by reviewing existing research, directly engaging 16 B.C. residents with disabilities and interviewing 18 researchers and service providers across Canada. We will use these insights to inform development and testing of a pilot service to support people with disabilities to access disability benefits.

The related journey map Common steps to get disability benefits also illustrates the complexities of this benefits application process. 

This journey map illustrates the process of applying for the Disability Tax Credit.

The journey map Persons with Disability (PWD) status illustrates the process of preparing for and applying for and maintaining Persons with Disabilities Status and disability assistance in B.C.



Social Listening: Covid-19, Social Media, and The Path to a Better Safety Net

This brief outlines how beneficiaries are using online platforms to identify breakdowns in public services, celebrate the positive impact of public policy and urge reform. Ways in which government can capitalize on widespread social media feedback and begin to build long-term measures to center people’s experience as an important component of policy design are explored.



Helping Consumers Claim their Economic Impact Payment: A guide for intermediary organizations

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a guide to assist intermediaries in serving individuals to access their Economic Impact Payments (EIPs). The guide, Helping Consumers Claim the Economic Impact Payment: A guide for intermediary organizations , provides step-by-step instructions for frontline staff on how to:

  • Discuss the EIP with their clients
  • Determine if clients need to take action
  • Support clients with what to expect and how to troubleshoot common issues



Indicators for Financial Empowerment: Learnings from the National Financial Empowerment Champions Project

This resource offers a set of common indicators that community organizations can use to measure the reach and impact of their financial empowerment (FE) programming. It is intended for any community organization that works to foster greater financial well-being for economically disadvantaged Canadians.

This resource compiles the key performance indicators (KPIs) and presents them for use by community organizations beyond the National Financial Empowerment Champions (FECs) partners. The KPIs have been refined in response to partners’ feedback and in recognition of developments in the FE field, ensuring that the definitions reflect current and best practices in the field of financial empowerment/financial literacy in Canada and the USA.