Time for the Canada Revenue Agency to issue welfare cheques

 

It’s time for the Canada Revenue Agency to issue welfare cheques.  There is no need for welfare offices in every city, in every province, throughout this country.  This is expensive, inefficient, and stigmatizes the poor.    

The federal government does a great job administering GST or HST refunds.  Why can’t potential welfare applicants apply online, attach their identification, receive their payment via direct deposit, and have a notification sent via email?

This would require Canada’s poor to become internet, email, and computer literate.  These new skills will only make them more marketable in the job market.  In addition, it may be a good idea for welfare recipients to learn about online banking.  This may encourage them to learn more about their financial options and track their spending. 

A strong national welfare program backed by the federal treasury is better than thirteen provincial and territorial piecemeal programs.  The shelter and support payments in most jurisdictions is shamefully inadequate.

A federal welfare program will stimulate the economy, increase demand for goods and services, and lead to more job creation. 

It will carry no more stigma than a GST or HST cheque.  It will send a message that all Canadians deserve a basic quality of life that allows them to make the most of their potential. 

It is a crisis situation that thousands of children and families in a country as rich as Canada are living in dire poverty.  

It’s time to re-think ancient social policy.  The modern welfare office evolved out of the old English Poor Laws.  These laws espoused the concept of “less eligibility” which meant that any welfare payment must be less than the wage of the least paid worker.  This, in effect, has created a race to the bottom and put a downward pressure on wages.  Not surprisingly, it turned out great for business but arguably hurt the health and well-being of the poor and society in general. 

Many children and families have been trapped for generations in a cycle of poverty.  It’s time to lift the needy out of impoverishment and put quality of life for Canadians, rich or poor, back at the top of the political agenda. 

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