CRA apologizes to single moms fighting for child benefits

December 20, 2017

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has moved to end its battles with five single mothers after they were profiled in a number of CBC News stories.

Four out of five parents featured in articles and broadcasts since November said they received calls from CRA officials last Friday, while the fifth was contacted by CRA today. The women, who don't know each other, had similar accounts of officials apologizing for their experience with the agency and offering to help fix the problems in an expeditious manner.

"The woman I spoke to, right off the bat, she apologized," said Kim Roberts, a single mom in Toronto. "I was completely shocked, because that is not what I was expecting."

Roberts has been trying to prove to the CRA that she has custody of her son and can claim him as a dependent. She sent in a court order outlining the custody arrangements she has with her ex-husband, but the agency said that was insufficient and ordered her to pay more than $2,300 for past benefits and tax credits it said she should not have received.

In her call, Roberts says, the CRA official asked for one additional document, told her specifically how to write it and then expedited her case with a promise that she would get a letter telling her no money was owed.

CBC News received more than 100 emails from people complaining about their struggles with the CRA, particularly about proving their marital status or custodial arrangements. If the CRA doesn't believe a parent is on their own, or that they are solely responsible for the care of their children, it will count both parents' income together, which reduces the amount of child benefits or tax credits a parent might be eligible for.

Read more: CRA apologizes to single moms fighting for child benefits