The Canadian Press, March 2, 2016
Millions of dollars for parents of missing or murdered children unspent
OTTAWA – A federal fund that helps families whose children were murdered or have gone missing has left millions of dollars in the federal treasury in each of the last two years.
Federal spending documents show $166,320 has actually gone to families — less than one per cent of the $20 million budgeted over the last two fiscal years.
Briefing material provided to Families Minister Jean-Yves Duclos after his appointment suggests officials overestimated the number of families that would need the program.
The briefing materials obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act show officials are reviewing how much they budget for the program.
The program provides $350 a week for up to 35 weeks to parents with children under the age of 18 who have been killed or gone missing as a result of a criminal act. Parents can only receive the money within one year of the incident taking place.
Victims groups say the scope of the program excludes families with older children who are murdered, for instance, and who could use the financial help.
$10 million — Amount budgeted annually for the program
$70,490 — Amount spent on the program in the 2013-14 fiscal year.
$95,830 — Amount spent on the program in the 2014-15 fiscal year.
$350 — Amount before taxes parents can receive weekly through the program.
35 — Maximum number of weeks parents can receive the benefit.
$12,250 — Maximum, before tax, parents can receive under the program.
51 — The number of children under 18 who were victims of homicide, on average, between 2010 and 2014, according to Statistics Canada.
609 — Children under age 18 who went missing in 2014, according to the RCMP.
Source: The Canadian Press