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Down but Not Out: Reforming Social Assistance Rules that Punish the Poor for Saving

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Listed:
  • John Stapleton

    (St. Christopher House)

Abstract

Reform is required for social program rules that prevent the poor from saving in Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), according to this study. The author says that encouraging asset accumulation, even in small amounts, is crucial in helping to lift people out of poverty. Yet most Canadian welfare, disability and social service programs deny or cancel benefits if applicants or recipients place a modest level of savings in an RRSP or TFSA. Barring a province-led effort at reform, says Stapleton, the federal government should take the lead by calling on provinces and territories to exempt meaningful RRSP and TFSA amounts from their welfare asset rules, leaving individual jurisdictions to decide the appropriate levels.

Suggested Citation

  • John Stapleton, 2010. "Down but Not Out: Reforming Social Assistance Rules that Punish the Poor for Saving," e-briefs 93, C.D. Howe Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdh:ebrief:93
    as

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    File URL: https://www.cdhowe.org/public-policy-research/down-not-out-reforming-social-assistance-rules-punish-poor-saving
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Burdekin, Richard C.K. & Siklos, Pierre L., 2008. "What has driven Chinese monetary policy since 1990? Investigating the People's bank's policy rule," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 847-859, September.
    2. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2008. "The Effect of Monetary Policy on Real Commodity Prices," NBER Chapters,in: Asset Prices and Monetary Policy, pages 291-333 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Pierre L. Siklos & Andrew G. Barton, 2001. "Monetary aggregates as indicators of economic activity in Canada: empirical evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(1), pages 1-17, February.
    4. Pierre L. Siklos, 2009. "As Good As It Gets? The International Dimension to Canada's Monetary Policy Strategy Choices," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 292, July.
    5. Scott Hendry & Charleen Adam, 2001. "The M1 Vector-Error-Correction Model: some Extensions and Applications," Money Affairs, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, vol. 0(2), pages 145-175, July-Dece.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social Policy; Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP); Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA); social assistance;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs

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