3 Principles for an Antiracist, Equitable State Response to COVID-19 — and a Stronger Recovery

COVID-19’s effects have underscored the ways that racism, bias, and discrimination are embedded in health, social, and economic systems. Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people are experiencing higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, and people of color are also overrepresented in jobs that are at higher infection risk and hardest hit economically. Shaping these outcomes are structural barriers like wealth and income disparities, inadequate access to health care, and racial discrimination built into the health system and labor market.

This article discusses three recommended principles for guiding policymakers in making equity efforts.



Yukon Poverty Report Card 2020

This report was released as part of public education movement Campaign 2000's annual assessment of child and family poverty in Canada, providing an overview of the following key issues relating to poverty in Yukon:

  • the housing crisis and the challenge of food insecurity with a focus of the disproportionate impact on children and youth, Indigenous peoples, and others.
  • an overview of previous initiatives and ongoing work that can be leveraged to support a comprehensive approach to reducing poverty in the Yukon.
  • a description of some successful community-driven initiatives that are supporting improvements in the health and wellness of Yukoners.
  • ten recommendations including several policy proposals to improve the health and wellness of children, youth, and families specifically.



2021 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada to the Parliament of Canada – Report 4 – Canada Child Benefit

A report from Auditor General Karen Hogan concludes that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) managed the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) program so that millions of eligible families received accurate and timely payments. The audit also reviewed the one-time additional payment of up to $300 per child issued in May 2020 to help eligible families during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

The audit noted areas where the agency could improve the administration of the program by changing how it manages information it uses to assess eligibility to the CCB. For example, better use of information received from other federal organizations would help ensure that the agency is informed when a beneficiary has left the country. This would avoid cases where payments are issued on the basis of outdated information. To enhance the integrity of the program, the agency should request that all applicants provide a valid proof of birth when they apply for the benefit.

The audit also raised the concept of female presumption and noted that given the diversity of families in Canada today, this presumption has had an impact on the administration of the Canada Child Benefit program.



Economic Security Programs Reduce Overall Poverty, Racial and Ethnic Inequities

Economic security programs such as Social Security, food assistance, tax credits, and housing assistance can help provide opportunity by ameliorating short-term poverty and hardship and, by doing so, improving children’s long-term outcomes. Over the last half-century, these assistance programs have reduced poverty for millions of people in the United States — including children, who are highly susceptible to poverty’s ill effects.

At the same time, barriers to opportunity, including discrimination and disparities in access to employment, education, and health care, remain enormous and keep poverty rates much higher for some racial and ethnic groups than others. While government programs have done much to narrow these disparities in poverty, further progress will require stronger government efforts to reduce poverty and discrimination and build opportunity for all.



Building household financial security during COVID-19 and beyond

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many Canadians were having difficulty making ends meet, and the pandemic has further impacted the financial well-being of financially vulnerable Canadians. 

In this webinar, we present research on how COVID-19 has impacted the financial security of Canadians and how additional financial challenges are likely to arise over the next year. The research was conducted in partnership with Prosper Canada by BCG’s Social Impact Ambassador program. The speakers are Common Good Founder Steven Ayer, BCG interns Abhijit Bhamidipati, Ada Kwong, and Brian Page, and Prosper Canada CEO Liz Mulholland.

This one-hour webinar is relevant for practitioners across all sectors who want to learn how Canadians are being financially impacted by COVID-19, and to share and learn what can be done in response. 

Click 'Get it' below to access the video link, and scroll down to access handouts, slides, and video timestamps for this webinar.

 



Read the presentation slides for this webinar.

Time-stamps for the video recording:
3:26 – Agenda and introductions
6:18 – Audience polls
10:39 – Research presentation begins (BCG and Steven Ayer)
36:18 – What Prosper Canada is doing (Liz Mulholland)
42:31 – Q&A


A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada: Making the Economy Work for Everyone

This report offers an intersectional perspective on how Canada can recover from the COVID-19 crisis and weather difficult times in the future, while ensuring the needs of all people in Canada are considered in the formation of policy.
YWCA Canada and the University of Toronto’s Institute for Gender and the Economy (GATE) offer this joint assessment to highlight the important principles that all levels of government should consider as they develop and implement policies to spur post-pandemic recovery.



Measuring financial health: What policymakers need to know

This report provides an overview of financial health and the policy responses around the world. Based on this, and the key questions of whether financial health measure more than income and if financial inclusion supports financial health, the report offers recommendations to policy makers on strategies for measuring the financial health of their population.



Locked down, not locked out: An eviction prevention plan for Ontario

Ontario tenants who have fallen behind on their rent because of COVID-19 will need provincial help to stay housed when the current eviction ban is lifted. A new analysis calls for targeted rent relief, a gradual easing of the eviction ban, and a reintroduction of rent controls.



Basic Income: Some Policy Options for Canada

As the need for basic income grows, the Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) is often asked how Canada could best design and pay for it. To answer that in a detailed way, BICN asked a team to model some options that are fair, effective and feasible in Canada. The three options in this report do just that. The three options demonstrate that it is indeed possible for Canada to have a basic income that is progressively structured and progressively funded. BICN wants governments, especially the federal government, to take this seriously—and to act.



State of homelessness in Canada 2016

Ending homelessness in Canada requires partnerships across public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. Preventative measures, and providing safe, appropriate, and affordable housing with supports for those experiencing homelessness is needed. 

This paper provides a series of joint recommendations – drafted by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Canadian Alliance to end Homelessness – for the National Housing Strategy.



Comparison of Provincial and Territorial Child Benefits and Recommendations for British Columbia

First Call BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition has been tracking child and family poverty rates in BC for more than two decades. Every November, with the support of the Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC BC), a report card is released with the latest statistics on child and family poverty in BC and recommendations for policy changes that would reduce these poverty levels.

This report presents data from the latest report card released by First Call on a cross-Canada comparison of child benefits.



Working Without a Net: Rethinking Canada’s social policy in the new age of work

This report explores the implications of new technologies on Canada’s economy and labour market and the adequacy of current social programs and policies supporting workers.



Canada’s Colour Coded Income Inequality

Canada’s population is increasingly racialized. The 2016 census counted 7.7 million racialized individuals in Canada. That number represented 22% of the population, up sharply from 16% just a decade earlier. Unfortunately, the rapid growth in the racialized population is not being matched by a corresponding increase in economic equality. This paper uses 2016 census data to paint a portrait of income inequality between racialized and non-racialized Canadians. It also looks at the labour market discrimination faced by racialized workers in 2006 and 2016. 

These data provide a glimpse of the likely differences in wealth between racialized and non-racialized Canadians. This paper also explores the relationship between race, immigration and employment incomes.

Taken together, the data point to an unequivocal pattern of racialized economic inequality in Canada. In the absence of bold policies to combat racism, this economic inequality shows no signs of disappearing.



System transformation in Ontario Works: Considerations for Ontario

This paper focuses on proposed system transformation in Ontario Works, and explores the possibilities and limitations associated with the proposed changes in 2018. First, it looks at the broader context within which the government’s social assistance reforms are taking place. Second, it provides an overview of what is known about some of the structural changes in social assistance to date, as well as an overview of experiences in other jurisdictions that have undertaken similar reforms. In conclusion, the paper outlines some key considerations and unresolved questions that the government will need to address before it can move forward with a plan for reform.



Helping Families Save to Withstand Emergencies

This brief identifies policy solutions to help American families build savings to withstand emergencies that threaten their financial stability.



Removing Savings Penalties for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

This brief discusses the savings penalties in public assistance programs in the United States, also known as asset limits, and that actions that can be taken to eliminate these limits and the barriers towards building savings for families living on low income.



2019 First Annual Report of the Disability Advisory Committee: Enabling access to disability tax measures

The mandate of the Committee is to provide advice to the minister of national revenue and the commissioner of the Agency on:

  • the administration and interpretation of the laws and programs related to disability tax measures;
  • ways in which the needs and expectations of the disability community can be better taken into consideration;
  • increasing the awareness and take-up of measures for persons with disabilities;
  • how to better inform persons with disabilities and various stakeholders about tax measures and important administrative changes; and
  • current administrative practices and how to enhance the quality of services for persons with disabilities

This report makes recommendations on support for persons with disabilities based on surveys and responses from individual Canadians, organizations, tax preparers, health providers, and policy experts. The recommendations seek to ensure clarity and fairness in Disability Tax Credit eligibility criteria and administration,  reduction of barriers in accessing the DTC, and more attention to the costs of disability-related assistance.

 



Debt and mental health: A statistical update

Financial problems can be a significant source of distress, putting pressure on people's mental health, particularly if they are treated insensitively by creditors. Some people in financial difficulty cut back on essentials, such as heating and eating, or social activities that support their well being, to try and balance their budget. In many cases this has a negative impact on people's mental health. 

This policy note from  draws on nationally representative data to update key statistics on the relationship between debt and mental health problems, and sets out implications for policymakers, service providers and essential services firms.



Policy and research symposium: Income volatility

The research and policy symposium on income volatility was held on March 9, 2018, in Toronto, Ontario. Speakers from Canada and the United States present on key research findings on the nature of income and expense volatility in the early 21st Century. Speakers also suggest policy solutions to address the challenges of increasingly volatile household income. 



Household Financial Stability and Income Volatility, Ray Boshara, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Income volatility: What banking data can tell us, if we ask, Fiona Greig, JP Morgan Chase Institute
Up Close and Personal: Findings from the U.S. Financial Diaries, Rob Levy, CFSI

Canada’s household balance sheets, Andrew Heisz, Statistics Canada

A Realist Analysis of Nonprofit Tax Filing Services

In this presentation, Kevin Schachter, Graduate Student at University of Manitoba and Information Manager at SEED Winnipeg, presents a realist analysis of nonprofit tax filing services. 

This presentation is from the session 'Closing the tax-filing gap: Challenges and opportunities', at the tax research symposium hosted by Prosper Canada and Intuit, February 7, 2019, in Ottawa.

View all presentations from this event here.



Supporting Organizations in the CVITP

In this presentation, Aaron Kozak, ESDC and Melissa Valencia, CRA, present findings from their research on the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP). This includes recommendations for structural changes to the program, review of CVITP training, changes to registration, and more. 

This presentation is from the session 'Closing the tax-filing gap: Challenges and opportunities', at the tax research symposium hosted by Prosper Canada and Intuit, February 7, 2019, in Ottawa.

View all presentations from this event here.



Complaints Related to Service from the CRA: Lessons Learned and Working Towards Better Service

Operating at arm’s length from the Canada Revenue Agency, the Office of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman (OTO) works to enhance the Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) accountability in its service to, and treatment of, taxpayers through independent and impartial reviews of service-related complaints and systemic issues. OTO receives complaints and concerns from members of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

In this conference presentation, the Taxpayers’ Ombudsman provides examples of the types of issues her Office receives in order to provide community leaders with her insights in helping Indigenous people get better service from the CRA. 

In support of the AFOA Canada 2018 National Conference theme of Human Capital – Balancing Indigenous Culture and Creativity with Modern Workplaces, this presentation will provide participants with information on the types of issues and trends her office sees from members of the Indigenous communities and on better ways of serving these populations.



High-Cost Alternative Financial Services: Policy Options

Many Canadians turn to high-cost alternative financial services when they need a short-term fix for a budgetary issue. Though these banking and credit alternatives are a convenient choice for individuals in search of fast cash, particularly those who face barriers to obtaining credit at a bank or credit union, access comes at a steep price and with a high degree of risk. On its own, one high-cost loan has the potential to trap a borrower in a cycle of debt, not only amplifying their short-term problem, but also limiting their ability to secure the income and assets needed to thrive in the long term.

The policy recommendations presented in this brief, and summarized in the chart on page two,  are inspired by the regulatory initiatives across the country, and reflect ways in which all three levels of government can contribute to better consumer protection for all Canadians.

 



Breaking down barriers: A critical analysis of the Disability Tax Credit and the Registered Disability Savings Plan

The Disability Tax Credit helps Canadians by reducing the amount of income tax they are required to pay. The Registered Disability Savings Plan helps people with a disability or their caregiver save for the future by putting money into a fund that grows tax free until the beneficiary makes a withdrawal.

This report, released by the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, makes 16 recommendations aimed at improving both programs. They are divided into short-term objective to make the process for the two programs simpler and clearer, and a long-term philosophical shift in the way Canada deals with people who are in financial distress but cannot advocate for themselves.  Recommendations include removing barriers that prevent people from taking advantage of the Disability Tax Credit and making enrolment in the Registered Disability Savings Plan automatic for eligible people under 60 years of age.



Redesigning Social Policy for the 21st Century

In this video presentation Sunil Johal from the Mowat Centre explains how social policy in the 21st century could be redesigned to accommodate the changing nature of work and income in Canada.  

This presentation was given at the Prosper Canada Policy Research Symposium on March 9, 2018.

Read the slide deck that accompanies this presentation.

Pour lire les diapositives de la présentation, cliquez ici.

View the full video playlist of all presentations from this symposium.



Enhancing access to the Canada Learning Bond


This discussion paper responds to a request from ESDC to develop options for reforms to the Canada Education Savings Program and, more specifically to improve access to the Canada Learning Bond. It reviews individual and institutional challenges to participation in the current system and consider three approaches for reform. It presents a case study of the United Kingdom’s Child Trust Fund, which included an auto-enrolment default mechanism. It concludes that the model used in the UK is not suitable for Canada and instead make a series of recommendations for both incremental and more ambitious reforms to fulfill the Government’s commitment to improve access to the Bond.




Child Welfare and Youth Homelessness in Canada: A Proposal for Action


Without a Home, conducted by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness in partnership with A Way Home Canada, surveyed 1,103 youth experiencing homelessness across Canada. Youth in 42 different communities and nine of the 10 Canadian provinces, as well as Nunavut Territory, completed the self-report survey. The results provide the first national picture of youth homelessness in Canada.



Policy Brief – Why is Uptake of the Disability Tax Credit Low in Canada?


Disability supports should be designed to provide benefit and not burdens to eligible recipients. Unfortunately, this is not a reality when it comes to one of the main benefits open to Canadians with disability: the federal Disability Tax Credit (DTC). Designed to recognize some of the higher costs faced by people with severe disabilities and their caregivers, the DTC appears to be more of a burden for many, with estimated utilisation unacceptably low at around 40 per cent of working-aged adults with qualifying disabilities.

Low uptake is a concern not only because people are missing out on the credit itself but also because eligibility to the DTC – which is not automatic – is a gateway to other important and more valuable benefits such as the Child Disability Benefit and Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP).




Zambia Financial Diaries – Interim Report

Transforming the Financial Lives of a Generation of Young Americans

Families of Color in the Quest to Build Wealth – A Special Report from CFED

Job Polarization and the Great Recession

Equitable Investments in the Next Generation: Designing Policies to Close the Racial Wealth Gap

A Road Map to Eradicate Child & Family Poverty: 2016 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada

The Canadian student financial aid system: the case for modernization

How are we doing on social policy? Is the recession paralyzing or transformative?

Out of the Shadows: Shining a light on Canada’s unequal distribution of federal tax expenditures

A Policymaker’s Guide to Basic Income

Precarious Positions: Policy Options to Mitigate Risks in Non-standard Employment

Divided City: Life in Canada’s Child Poverty Capital. 2016 Toronto Child and Family Poverty Report Card

2016 BC Child Poverty Report Card

The statistics and stories in this report tell a painful truth about British Columbia
We like to think of ourselves as a caring, civilized society, but in fact we have
been tolerating and sustaining shameful levels of child and family poverty for
decade



Pilot Lessons. How to design a basic income pilot project for Ontario

Building blocks to help youth achieve financial capability: A new model and recommendations

Building blocks to help youth achieve financial capability: Report brief

Community Action to End Poverty

Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts

Ending homelessness in Canada: A Study of 10-Year Plans in 4 Canadian Cities

Closing the gap in a generation. Health equity through action on the social determinants of health

Evidence and Ideology in Assessing the Effectiveness of Financial Literacy Education

Financial Literacy around the World: An Overview of the Evidence with Practical Suggestions for the Way Forward

Break the Barriers: Millions in Canada still struggle to get by

A Game-changer Approach to Poverty Reduction Strategy and Evaluation

Geographies of Inequality

Short-Term Gain, Long-Term Pain: Examining the Growing Payday Loan Industry in B.C.

Inclusive Employment for Canadians with Disabilities: Toward a New Policy Framework and Agenda

An Advocacy Roadmap for Enacting Statewide Policies to Encourage Retirement Savings

Report on Equality Rights of People with Disabilities

An Evaluation of the Impacts and Implementation Approaches of Financial Coaching Programs

Encouraging Savings for Public Benefit Recipients, a Win for Families and States

Resource Guide: Lifting Asset Limits in Public Benefit Programs

Lifting Asset Limits Helps Families Save

The Unequal City 2015: Income and Health Inequities in Toronto

The Unequal City 2015: Income and Health Inequities in Toronto – Technical Report

Beyond Housing First: Essential Elements of a System-Planning Approach to Ending Homelessness

Financial Empowerment: Proven Strategies for Reducing Poverty in Ontario

Financial Literacy: Strategies to Meet the Needs of Low Income Albertans

Towards a National Policy/Program on Financial Literacy

The Registered Disability Savings Plan Program: Why Isn’t It Helping More People?

Public Policy and Food Insecurity

The Role of Emergency Savings in Family Financial Security: Barriers to Saving and Policy Opportunities

Payday Loan Facts and the CFPB’s Impact

Building an Equitable Tax Code: A Primer for Advocates

Exploring the Promise of Asset-Based Social Policies: Reviewing Evidence from Research and Practice

Income Volatility and Food Assistance Programs

Umbrellas Don’t Make it Rain: Why Studying and Working Hard isn’t Enough for Black Americans

Financial Literacy and Economic Outcomes: Evidence and Policy Implications

Hidden in Plain Sight: Homeless Students in America’s Public Schools

Weathering Volatility: Big Data on the Financial Ups and Downs of U.S. Individuals

Let’s Do This. Let’s End Child Poverty For Good. 2015 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada

National Strategy for Financial Literacy. Phase 1: Strengthening Seniors’ Financial Literacy

The Color of Wealth in Boston: A Joint Publication with Duke University and The New School

The Color of Wealth in Los Angeles

Addressing Income Volatility of Low Income Populations

Monthly household income volatility in the U.S., 1991/92 vs. 2002/03

End Poverty in a Generation: A Road Map to Guide Our Journey

The burden of Poverty: A snapshot of poverty across Canada

Financial Literacy: Lessons from International Experience

Small-Dollar Children’s Savings Accounts, Income, and College Outcomes

Poverty Reduction Strategy Summary, New Brunswick

Trends in Income-Related Health Inequalities in Canada

How the CFPB is Proposing to Regulate the Small Dollar Lending Industry. Understanding and Supporting the Payday Lending Rules.

Empowering low income and economically vulnerable consumers

Income Volatility: Managing the Swings

Hidden in Plain Sight: A look at the $335 Billion Federal Asset-Building Budget

The Steep Climb to Economic Opportunity for Vulnerable Families

From Upside Down to Right-Side Up: Redeploying $540 Billion in Federal Spending to Help all Families Save, Invest, and Build Wealth

Poverty or Prosperity: Indigenous Children in Canada

Practical Evaluation Strategies for Building a Body of Proven-Effective Social Programs – Suggestions for Research and Program Funders

The Ever-Growing Gap: Without Change, African-American and Latino Families Won’t Match White Wealth for Centuries

Asset-Based Social Policies – A “New Idea” Whose Time Has Come?

Some thoughts on a National Housing Strategy

Social Policy That Works: An Agenda

The Potential for Savings Accounts to Protect Young Adult Households from Unsecured Debt in Periods of Macroeconomic Stability and Decline

Does Community Access to Alternative Financial Services Relate to Individuals’ Use of These Services? Beyond Individual Explanations