Liberals look to promote changes to benefit for Canada’s working poor


OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are on a promotions blitz today to tout a key promise in their latest federal budget aimed at one day providing benefits to Canada’s working poor.

The Liberals are promoting the benefit on social media and elsewhere: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will speak about it later today in Toronto, as did Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos earlier in Montreal.

The Liberals latest budget rebranded a Harper-era program as the Canada Workers Benefit, and raised the value and eligibility of the benefit to provide more money to more low-income workers.

Tammy Schirle, an associate professor of economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, says the improvements to the program were much more modest than many experts would like to have seen.

The Liberals are keen to promote the changes and the extra $1 billion in annual funding for the benefit.

Sean Speer, a one-time economic adviser to former prime minister Stephen Harper, says the measure may be the most important in this year’s budget, but the Liberals face an uphill battle to promote it because the benefit is difficult to explain.

The Canadian Press