Commentary on the recent federal budget from the National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) is below. Founded in 1893, NCWC is a non-sectarian, non-partisan federation of voluntary organizations, whose goal is to improve the quality of life for women, and society, through education and advocacy.
Ottawa, March 22, 2007
* MEDIA RELEASE*
* NCWC Responds to March 19th
For all of Finance Minister Flaherty’s rhetoric about “hard-working families,” * lower income hard-working families once again fell under the Conservative radar* in a budget which is geared to the middle and upper-middle classes.
* A family who’s income is $30,000. or less does not qualify for any
tax relief for children up to age 18. The non-refundable $320.
tax benefit translates into about $25.00 per month for those who
* The $100. per month for a child under 6 is considered taxable
income, further the Provinces are not impeded from clawing back
the amount as they did for the child tax credit in the past.
* These families *are not* in a position to contribute to an RESP
when they can barely manage to meet their living expenses!
* The government did not lower the income tax rate from 15.5%, which
would have helped lower-income families.
*This budget fails* those many Canadian families raising their children on less than $30,000 a year; worse than that, it gives them no hope.
* No hope and no child care!*
The budget states: “Many older Canadians want to continue working and saving” Clearly the government does not understand that the word is “*need*” not “want.” The majority of those “older” Canadians working minimum wage jobs are women who “need” to work because the pensions (OAS and CPP) are woefully inadequate.
This budget fails to provide funding for the type of specific Aboriginal initiatives that provide programs for Aboriginal women and children. What good is job training if there are no jobs?
No change to eligibility rules for Employment Insurance means that the government continues to amass huge surpluses in their coffers, while:
* *1 in 3* unemployed women qualify to collect benefits, down from
70% in 1990.
* *4 in 10* unemployed workers qualify to collect EI benefits, down
from 80% in 1990.
The *dismantling* by this government *of Status of Women Canada* is of grave concern to women in this country.
* The *closure* of 12 out of 16 regional offices.
* The *removal* from the mandate of the Women’s Program of the words
“*equality*“, “*research*” and “*advocacy*“.
While the government has allotted more money to the program – $20 million over the next two years — this includes the 5 million budget reduction that was later reallocated – the money cannot be accessed for research or advocacy purposes, but *is now accessible to for-profit *corporations.
Qualifying projects appear to have been reduced to service delivery. How can we address systemic inequalities for women when no provisions are made for research to determine the root causes and for advocacy to make the changes that would eliminate the need for “service delivery programs”?
*Once again*, this government *fails to deliver to those who need help the most*: women, children, seniors and Aboriginals. Predictably, it gives more to those who already have more.
For more information please contact *Karen Dempsey, NCWC Vice President Economics,* through our Head Office or at (902)422-8485.
The National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) is a non-sectarian, non-partisan federation of voluntary organizations, whose goal is to improve the quality of life for women, and society, through education and advocacy. NCWC was founded in 1893 and has played a leading role in many of the milestones reached in Canadian social history. Responding to a variety of interests embraced by its affiliates, NCWC has often been a leader in presenting developing issues to the government. From women’s equality to children’s rights, public health reforms to inner-city playgrounds, consumer protection to citizenship work, the concerns of NCWC have been wide ranging and its influence far reaching. For more information, consult our web site at www.ncwc.ca. As an NGO, we hold Consultative Status (II) with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN OF CANADA
205 — 251 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1X3