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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Measuring child benefits: Measuring child poverty

Report by Michael Mendelson

Michael Mendelson studies the child benefits provided by the federal government to Canadian families. Specifically, he assesses whether or not the benefits are sufficient. He also considers whether an optimal level exists in terms of achieving child benefits and how such a level could be calculated. Mendelson traces the history of the Government of Canada’s child benefits.

This study is primarily conceptual and its goal is to “define a valid methodology to derive an estimate of an adequate level for child benefits.” Mendelson discusses the core objectives of child-related benefits, including addressing poverty. He evaluates the two primary methodologies used to measure poverty. The federal, provincial, and territorial governments developed the newest measure, called the Market Basket Measure; the author explores using this measure to derive an estimate of adequacy levels for child benefits.

In his discussion, Mendelson explores the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB). Estimates in the study suggest the CCTB needs to be substantially higher. Mendelson also suggests that determining an “adequate level” requires a clear definition of what is meant by poverty. Mendelson contends that the Canadian government needs to “get serious about developing a better measure of poverty.”

The author summarizes the policy implications and provides recommendations for developing better poverty measures in Canada. Doing so, he concludes, provides a means of assessing the adequacy of child benefits.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Michael Mendelson;
Publisher: Caledon Institute of Social Policy [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2005; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: National;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Children & Family / Poverty
Policy Articles / Fiscal & Budgetary / Tax Policy
Policy Articles / Children & Family / Poverty / 2005
Policy Articles / Fiscal & Budgetary / Tax Policy / 2005
Policy Articles / Children & Family
Policy Articles / Fiscal & Budgetary
Policy Articles / Welfare & Social Issues
Policy Articles / Welfare & Social Issues / Poverty
Policy Articles / Welfare & Social Issues / Poverty / 2005

Keywords / Tags:

child benefit; poverty; federal government; Canada Child Tax Benefit; poverty measures; standard of living;