How the CRA Changes Help Those Facing Domestic Violence
Individuals who live in fear of domestic violence, or who are already survivors of it, are among the most vulnerable in our society.
But under a change announced just the other day, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has taken steps to make it easier and safer for eligible claimants of the Canada child benefit (CCB) to obtain funds they need to provide food, clothing, and shelter for their children.
On December 9, 2021, the CRA formally accepted the suggestions/requests by the Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson for Canada on how to improve the information and access provided to these recipients, and to help them get their CCB more safely. (The Ombudsperson works independently from the CRA, and is mandated to investigate service issues affecting parts of the population, and to uphold eight of the 16 rights outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.)
Until now, the CRA website portal for making CCB claims has required applicants to supply certain documents, and obtain the signature of the other parent or partner, when making their applications online. If the other person is abusive, this might put the CCB applicant in danger.
The Ombudsperson accordingly made a “service improvement request” to the CRA to have some of these pre-requisites on the portal eliminated. The corresponding CCB application form (Form RC66) will also be changed accordingly.
It might seem like a minor tweak, but it helps avoid putting domestic abuse victims in danger while they get financial aid and preserve their autonomy through the CCB payments to which they are entitled. According to a April 2020 report by Statistics Canada titled, The Daily — Canadian Perspectives Survey Series 1: Impacts of COVID-19 the challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic has left at least one in 10 women “very” or “extremely” concerned about the possibility of violence in the home.
These improvements, which can already be seen on the Child and family benefits page of the CRA website, will benefit some of those in society who need help most. The Government of Canada website also has a webpage titled “Help for spouses or partners who are victims of abuse” which also points to some useful resources.