The following statement was issued by Julie Bettney, Minister of Human Resouces and Employment. It was also read in the House of Assembly:
Newfoundland and Labrador Child Benefit
I am very happy to tell everyone today about two related initiatives to help low income families in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Earlier today, I announced the details of the Newfoundland and Labrador Child Benefit, the province's 1999 National Child Benefit provincial reinvestment, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Family Benefits which are both part of the redesign of the Department of Human Resources and Employment's income support program.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is dedicated to developing and maintaining supports and programs that directly respond to the serious issue of child poverty. Over the past year we have implemented a number of initiatives that ensure children and families of the province have access to resources that will help provide a healthy and productive lifestyle for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Initiatives such as the Strategic Social Plan and other components of our income support program have directly influenced the well-being of children and families within the province. The Newfoundland and Labrador Child and Family Benefits continue the mandate set out by government and will significantly improve the lives of approximately 42,000 children in the province.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Child Benefit ensures low income families, whether on social assistance or not, receive ongoing stable support for their children. The NLCB will be provided to all low income families with a net income below $20,921 based on the previous tax year. Families are eligible if they have at least one dependent child under the age of 18. The amount of support provided by the benefit will correspond with the number of dependent children in a family. The NLCB will be combined with the Canada Child Tax Benefit, in one monthly federal/provincial payment, beginning in July.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Family Benefit is designed to provide benefits to various types of families eligible for social assistance, including single parent families, two parent families and families without children. Beginning in August, the redesigned Family Benefits, which consist of four new rates, will replace the existing basic social assistance allowances. The Family Benefit will be based on the number of adults within a family and their living arrangements. These changes in social assistance allowances will not have an effect on other income support components such as allowances for single persons, rent, mortgage and drug cards.
Details of specific rates under the Child and Family Benefits have been provided to House Members to review at their convenience.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Child and Family Benefit directly respond to the needs and concerns of the children and families of Newfoundland and Labrador. These new initiatives provide incentives to join or rejoin the labour market while continuing to support families while they make this transition.
I hope the House will share in my enthusiasm over these programs and agree these initiatives are a wonderful step forward in supporting low income families and in ensuring our children grow up in a safe and stable environment.
1999 05 25 2:00 p.m.