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Dan-in-Ottawa

CRA picks on single moms

CRA continues a disturbing trend 

The Canada Revenue Agency is picking on single moms.

In last week’s report, I referred to challenges single parents, particularly single moms, were facing with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in receiving their Canada Child Benefit (CCB) support.

Since that report, I have heard of dozens of more cases that illustrate the severity of this problem.
 
This matters because in many cases, the CRA, with often dubious information, will send out an advisory informing a single parent that their marital status has been arbitrarily changed to married or common-law.

Typically, this occurs because an ex-spouse has left the marriage and has not filed a change of address; often to avoid being found as child/spousal support payments are not being made either.
 
I have heard from many single mothers of the great lengths they have gone to to attempt to prove an ex-spouse is no longer living at the same address. Even in cases where a restraining order is present, the CRA may still refuse to change the status of the single parent in question. 
 
The CRA is essentially treating single parents as guilty. The Canada Child Benefits are being withheld, denied or reduced until such time they can prove to the satisfaction of CRA that they are innocent.

Only then do the single parents receive the benefit to which they are entitled.

I would submit nowhere else in Canadian society would we accept a presumption of guilt to deny single parents benefits that help care for children.

Yet, I have witnessed evidence that demonstrates the CRA is doing precisely that, and it is wrong.
 
Keep in mind — in cases where fraud can be proven and established by CRA — the agency has the ability to garnishee wages, bank accounts and other assets.

I mention this as I believe Canada Revenue Agency has sufficient tools to deal with fraud.They do not need to penalize single parents and label them guilty without due process.
 
From a political standpoint, this is all part of a disturbing trend.

In the last few months, the CRA has attempted to go after staff discounts, began denying significant numbers of Type 1 diabetes applicants their Disability Tax Credit and now single parents, most often single mothers, are being targeted.
 
Although the CRA may not give many single parents the benefit of the doubt, I will offer the benefit of the doubt that the Trudeau Liberal government has not sanctioned these actions.

I will also publicly pass on that the minister of National Revenue's office has recently reached out to my office suggesting they are well aware of this problem.

However, the minister of National Revenue must get this agency under control, or the prime minister is going to need to find a new minister who can.
 
My question this week:

  • Do you think it is fair that Canada Revenue Agency can unilaterally change the marital status of a single parent thus potentially penalizing the Canada Child Benefits and essentially say “prove us wrong”?  

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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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