Increasing education savings for families living on low incomes: An outcome harvest evaluation

Momentum is a changing-making organization located in Calgary, Alberta that works with people living on low incomes and partners in the community to create a thriving local economy for all. In 2008, Momentum launched the StartSmart program to support families living on low incomes to open Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) to access free government education savings incentives such as the Canada Learning Bond (CLB). Momentum subsequently partnered with community agencies and advocated for systems level change in order to reach more families and scale up CLB uptake. 

This report captures the collective efforts and outcomes of Momentum and community partners regarding increasing the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) uptake in Canada, as well as lessons learned.

The report highlights include:

  • Momentum and community partners efforts contributed to more than doubling the CLB uptake rate in Calgary (from 20% to 52%)
  • Through Aspire, Momentum trained over 350 community staff and volunteers from over 80 community agencies to deliver the StartSmart program
  • Policy successes (such as changing social housing rules to accommodate RESP savings) were achieved and some failures (cancellation of the provincial ACES grant) were experienced
  • Policy changes are still required to see significant uptake of the CLB. See Momentum's recent publication Public Policy Options to Better Enable Education Savings by Families on Low Incomes



Food Insecurity amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: Food Charity, Government Assistance, and Employment

To mitigate the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the federal government has implemented several financial assistance programs, including unprecedented funding to food charities. Using the Canadian Perspectives Survey Series 2, the demographic, employment, and behavioural characteristics associated with food insecurity in April–May 2020 was examined. One-quarter of job-insecure individuals experienced food insecurity that was strongly associated with pandemic-related disruptions to employment income, major financial hardship, and use of food charity was found, yet the vast majority of food-insecure households did not report receiving any charitable food assistance. Increased financial support for low-income households would reduce food insecurity and mitigate negative repercussions of the pandemic.



Guaranteed Income Community of Practice resources

The Guaranteed Income Community of Practice (GICP) convenes guaranteed income stakeholders, including policy experts, researchers, community and program leaders, funders, and elected officials to learn and collaborate on guaranteed income pilots, programs and policy.

The GICP website includes resources on:

  • GICP fact sheets and briefs
  • video curriculum
  • program design resources
  • task force reports and agendas
  • program evaluations and income research
  • literature reviews
  • policy, books, articles, films

 



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.



GFLEC – Finlit Talks

This video series offers concise summaries of in-depth academic and practitioner presentations, in plain English, for dissemination to a worldwide audience. For convenient viewing, most videos are between three and six minutes long.



Homeless Shelter Flows in Calgary and the Potential Impact of COVID-19

Social distancing and self-isolation are two of the key responses asked of citizens during a pandemic. For people without a home, this advice is rather more difficult to follow. This article uses daily data describing the movements of 36,855 unique individuals who used emergency homeless shelters in Calgary over the period 1 January 2014–31 December 2019. The use of emergency shelters is characterized by large flows from and into the broader community and smaller flows between individual shelters. Between admissions of new people into the shelter system and multiple re-admissions of current clients, there were an average of 43,613 movements between the community and between shelters each month. The size of these flows provide a measure of the extent to which people reliant on homeless shelters are exposed to the risk of transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 



Report on the Charities Program 2018 to 2020

The charitable sector is a major social and economic force, offering vital services to Canadians and people around the world. The Canada Revenue Agency's Charities Directorate employs an education-first approach and client-centric philosophy. It aims to promote compliance with the charity-related income tax legislation and regulations in order to support charitable giving and development of the sector, while protecting charities and the public from abuse.

This report provides an update on the Directorate’s activities over the past two years, including the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.



Debt Relief Options in Canada – Long Term Outcome Comparison

This research report compares the long-term financial outcomes of Canadians, based on a study comparing consumers who used a debt management program (DMP), bankruptcy (BK), or a consumer proposal (CP) to obtain relief from debt.



Behavioural insights: key concepts, applications and regulatory considerations

There are numerous factors that influence the decisions that people make. Behavioural insights (BI) recognizes this and, through a combination of psychology, economic and more recently other behavioural research, examines how people are often neither deliberate nor rational in their decisions in the way that traditional models, strategies and policies assume.

Behavioural insights recognize how people actually behave versus traditional economic and market theory of people as rational actors. This report discusses how leading practitioners and regulators around the world are using behavioural insights to address issues in capital markets and improve outcomes for investors and market participants.



Creating Communities Where We Live – A Good Practices Guide

Creating Communities Where We Live - A Good Practices Guide is a locally-driven community-based researched project conducted in Edmonton, Alberta, by e4c and the University of Alberta Community Service-Learning program. The project seeks to add to the knowledge and practice of community care around supporting people to achieve a safe, secure, and affordable housing experience.

The 10 good practices in this guide describe structures, roles, and relationships which promote community and wellbeing for tenants who live in affordable housing. The practices are informed, in part, by research into tenant and staff experiences at affordable housing complexes run by four Edmonton housing providers.



The Impact of COVID-19 on Women living with Disabilities in Canada

DisAbled Women’s Network (DAWNRAFH) Canada is a national, feminist, cross-disability organization whose mission is to end the poverty, isolation, discrimination and violence experienced
by Canadian women with disabilities and Deaf women.

People with disabilities, specifically women with disabilities face unique barriers related to Covid-19. This includes both the increased risk oftransmission and death from COVID-19, as well as the unique ways policies targeting COVID-19 impact this group. Prior to COVID-19 more than 50% of human rights complaints at the Federal, Provincial and Territorial levels in Canada for the last four years have been disability related, which speaks to systemic failures that have been exacerbated under COVID-19. In this brief, DAWN Canada highlights these unique considerations, as well as significant and existing policy gaps facing this group.



National Strategies for Financial Education: OECD/INFE Policy Handbook

Financial education has become an important complement to market conduct and prudential regulation and improving individual financial behaviours a long-term policy priority in many countries. The OECD and its International Network on Financial Education (INFE) conducts research and develops tools to support policy makers and public authorities to design and implement national strategies for financial education.

This handbook provides an overview of the status of national strategies worldwide,  an analysis of relevant practices and case studies and identifies key lessons learnt. The policy handbook also includes a checklist for action, intended as a self-assessment tool for governments and public authorities.