Ms. Benson invites Minister Duclos to Saskatoon
"Come to Saskatoon to meet some of the families who have been asked to prove and re-prove their eligibility, and to see first-hand how the CCB is NOT working for families."
March 23rd, 2017 - 10:44am
To follow up on her question in the House on Wednesday, Sheri has written the following letter to Minister Duclos inviting him to Saskatoon to see first-hand the problems Saskatoon West residents are having with the Canada Child Benefit:
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
307 Confederation Building
House of Commons
I write to follow up on my question to you in the House today, on the matter of the Canada Child Benefit, and the problems around the administration of this important programme.
I am concerned that many, many eligible parents are not receiving this benefit. In my riding of Saskatoon West, too many families have come to my office for help with receiving CCB payments. And unfortunately, my staff and I have heard horror stories that do not reflect well on the ability of the Canada Revenue Agency to administer this programme fairly and efficiently.
Here are just two examples:
A woman who left her abusive partner is told that her children’s CCB payments are suspended until she can prove her current marital status, and that she is the children’s primary caregiver. Often, this necessitates the woman having to go back to the abusive partner to complete the required paperwork. The welfare of women and children fleeing violence should be paramount. At the very least, the CCB payments should continue pending the review.
Another mother on social assistance has been reviewed by the CRA every year since 2009 for her Canada Child Benefits. Her CCB monthly payments were put on hold until the review was completed. When this case was finally resolved, the mother received a retro-payment of over $20,000. Sadly, this mother will face another CCB review in the coming year, triggered by this large CRA retro-payment.
Minister, I know you will agree with me that the CCB should be getting to the families who need it the most. Clearly, the government needs to do more to ensure that cases such as the ones described above never happen. I have also raised this issue with your colleague, the Minister for National Revenue. I hope that your two departments will be able to collaborate on improving and streamlining the CCB process, especially given your commitment to gender-based analysis and a whole government approach.
I would like to invite you to come to Saskatoon to meet some of the families who have been asked to prove and re-prove their eligibility, and to see first-hand how the CCB is NOT working for families.
As Member of Parliament, it would be my honour to host a public meeting with you, Minister, where the residents of Saskatoon West would be able to share their concerns and frustrations.
I am certain that once you’ve had the opportunity to meet and hear from some of the Canadians who are not being served well, you will be moved to act quickly and decisively to improve the CCB and its administration.
I look forward to welcoming you to Saskatoon at your earliest convenience.
Sheri Benson, MP
Cc: Hon. Diane Bouthillier, Minister for National Revenue
Pierre-Luc Dusseault, MP, NDP Critic for National Revenue