Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Jim Flaherty's form letter quarantined as "spam"

Incredibly, this actually did happen to Jimbo Jones' response to my concerns about the so-called "choice in child care" amount and I didn't even realize it until I cleaned out my spam folder.

I promised any and all letters I received about this from Cabinet officials would be reproduced in this blog ... so with no comment except one (that he really didn't answer my question), I present to you his letter.

Thank you for your correspondence of May 3, 2006 regarding the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). Please excuse the delay in replying.

One of the most important investments our new Government can make is to support families as they raise their children. That is why Budget 2006 announced the kind of investments that will make a real difference to parents, by providing more choice in child care for families with young children.

The UCCB provides all families with $100 per month for each child under age 6, effective July 1, 2006. Through the UCCB, parents are able to choose the child care option that best suits their families' needs ? whether that means formal child care, informal care through neighbours or relatives, or a parent staying at home. Budget 2006 proposes that amounts received under the UCCB will be taxable in the hands of the lower-income spouse. Amounts received under the UCCB will not reduce benefits paid under the Canada Child Tax Benefit and the Goods and Services Tax Credit. Also, the UCCB will not be considered income for the purposes of federal income-tested programs delivered outside of the income tax system, such as the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the Canada Education Savings Grant, the Canada Learning Bond and Employment Insurance.

The UCCB substantially increases federal assistance for children by providing direct federal support to approximately 1.5 million families and more than 2 million children. Direct federal benefits to families with children will be provided through the UCCB and two components of the CCTB: the base benefit, which is targeted to low- and middle-income families, and the National Child Benefit supplement, which provides additional assistance to low-income families. In total, direct federal support to families will be approximately $11.1 billion for the 2006-07 fiscal year, with the vast majority of benefits directed to low- and middle-income families. Additionally, Budget 2006 sets aside $250 million per year, beginning in 2007-08, to support the creation of child care spaces. We will consult to ensure that assistance is effective in creating additional child care spaces, responsive to the needs of parents and administered in an efficient and accountable manner. As child care is the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, the Honourable Diane Finley, I have forwarded a copy of your correspondence to her, for information. Thank you for communicating your concerns.

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