OTTAWA – The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) is optimistic about several initiatives included in today's federal budget that spell out more investment in families, children and youth.
“The federal budget is a welcome signal of support, providing some relief for low-income Canadian families,” says CTF President Heather Smith.
“The consolidation of various child benefit programs into an enhanced Canada Child Benefit that will see a benefit increase to the neediest of families is certainly one of these positive steps.
“We also welcome increased education funding to Indigenous schools on reserves to bring their levels of funding more in line with other publicly funded schools.
“On other fronts, we acknowledge the announcement of a tax credit for certified educators when they purchase certain educational materials. Teachers consistently spend from their own pockets to enhance the learning environment for children,” adds Smith. “Unfortunately, not all materials purchased by teachers appear to be covered. While this credit does not solve the problem of chronic underfunding of elementary and secondary education, it recognizes some of the contributions made by teachers.”
Smith points to other positive budget announcements:
- A commitment to invest $2.3 billion over two years, starting in 2016–17 in affordable housing;
- Reinstatement of the Court Challenges Program providing financial assistance for individuals and groups who wish to clarify their language and equality rights in Canada’s courts;
- Positive changes to Employment Insurance and an increase in funding to Service Canada.
She adds: “There is more to family policy than income security programs and the taxation system. Families need a wide range of supporting social, health, education and employment services in their respective communities. Child and youth mental health is a major concern for teachers across the country according to our research.
“Teachers have called for more support between the community, health care system and schools to support children and youth overcome challenges related to mental health.
“Many children and youth are denied the opportunity to develop their full potential because their families are not receiving the range of supportive services they need and schools are often expected to pick up the slack,” explains Smith.
“We hope the health consultations referred to in the budget will result in increased access to mental health services for Canadian children,” concludes Heather Smith.
Founded in 1920, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation is a national alliance of provincial and territorial teacher organizations that represent over 200,000 elementary and secondary school teachers across Canada. CTF is also a member of Education International.
Francine Filion, Director of Communications, 613-688-4314 (office) or 613-899-4247 (cell)
Bob McGahey, Director of Advocacy and Labour Rights, 613-688-4317 (office) or 613-899-4241 (cell)
CTF President Heather Smith