The following statement was issued today by Julie Bettney, Minister of Human Resources and Employment. It was also read in the House of Assembly:
It is my pleasure to speak to members of the House today about the release of a very significant national report.
This past Friday, May 14, I joined the Federal/Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for Social Services in Quebec City to release The National Child Benefit Progress Report: 1999. This report demonstrates that over the past year, the National Child Benefit has helped our country make significant strides in addressing the needs and concerns of our country's children.
As I'm sure members of the House remember, initiatives for Newfoundland and Labrador under the National Child Benefit were announced in the 1998 Budget. The implementation of these initiatives began in July of 1998. With the implementation of the National Child Benefit, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, in partnership with the Government of Canada and the other provincial and territorial governments, promised to regularly report to Canadians on its progress.
As we approach the one year anniversary of the National Child Benefit's introduction, The National Child Benefit Progress Report affirms the positive influence this initiative has had on our social and economic national picture, especially for our children.
The report shows 2.5 million Canadian children in low-income families have received an increase in income. For Newfoundland and Labrador, the monthly average number of children receiving the NCB Supplement is estimated at over 51,000. In addition, parents and children in low-income families have also received added benefits and services from a diverse range of NCB programs, such as family resource centres and youth service networks. These programs have enabled parents who receive income support to move into jobs while keeping important financial supports for their children. Also, parents who are already working in low-income jobs now get the support they need to stay employed.
During our meeting in Quebec City, Ministers responsible for Social Services also discussed plans for the next phase of the National Child Benefit initiative, scheduled to begin in July 1999. I look forward to sharing these initiatives when they are finalized.
In the meantime, I would like to invite everyone present today to take the time to review the National Child Benefit Progress Report. I assure you the information in this report is important. This and future reports will help Canadians decide what types of social programs work best for families and their children.
It gives me, along with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, a feeling of great pride and accomplishment to be able to report to members of the House and the people of the province that initiatives like the National Child Benefit are contributing to improved lives and better futures for our children. As with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador's Strategic Social Plan, we are continuing to confirm through such assessments as the progress report, that important partnerships between orders of government and communities are not only good ideas, but ideas that produce positive results.
1999 05 17 2:40 p.m.