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 This would avoid cases where payments are issued on the basis of outdated information.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.



Tax Time: An opportunity to Start Small and Save Up

This paper provides a description of how having liquid savings contributes to people’s financial stability and resiliency, and the unique opportunity that tax time offers to begin saving for the short and longer term. Starting to save or continuing to save when receiving a tax refund may lead to longer term financial well-being. 

This paper also provides a few examples of how Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs creatively used Bureau tools, resources and technical assistance to encourage savings as well as some of the results they reported. It provides insights from a subgroup of the programs in the cohort that collected additional information from consumers on their intent to save, the various types of accounts into which they saved, and the goals they were striving for by saving. Finally, this paper offers recommendations on some strategies that can be employed to increase people’s interest and commitment to saving during the tax preparation process. 



Planning for tax-time savings

This report presents the results of a large-scale field experiment that the tax preparation company H&R Block (the Company) conducted in collaboration with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the CFPB). The field experiment investigated whether customers could be encouraged, through consumer communications with and without the offer of a small financial incentive, to use a savings feature on a prepaid card to save a portion of their tax refunds from all sources, including state and federal refunds. The CFPB was particularly interested in whether consumers who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would be receptive to messages about saving. 



Helping financial empowerment champions deliver critical services to low-income Canadians

Service design consultancy Bridgeable provides an overview of the project partnership with Prosper Canada in April 2020 to take a design sprint approach in providing remote tax-filing and benefits application service solution.

Over the course of four consecutive days, Bridgeable worked with eighteen financial empowerment champion (FEC) partners to generate solutions to four key aspects for remote service delivery:

  1. Communicating with clients
  2. Verifying client ID
  3. Obtaining consent or signatures
  4. Obtaining or accessing client information



COVID-19 financial literacy resources

CPA Canada has put together resources to help manage your finances and provide you with the tools you need during this crisis – and beyond.