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178   DAYS OF PREPARATION

$16,875,634.34. In not a few months, payments out of the Fund have exceeded current receipts. Nevertheless the general balance to the good has steadily grown. It was $1,725,804.39, and $6,105,981.19 on March 31st, 1917. Although the statement appears satisfactory, it must be remembered that payments have reached a million a month and over, and are steadily growing; the balance accordingly, though it represents good lee-way, is no incentive to diminished efforts.

The general method of making disbursements may be touched on briefly. When a claim is presented and its validity ensured, the Committee must decide what the needs of the family are. There are wide variations in the cost of living throughout the Dominion, and it has been left therefore to the local committees to decide how much is required for decent maintenance, subject, of course, to a maximum. The lowest rate obtains in the towns and districts in the Eastern Provinces. It can be readily understood that the task of apportioning allowances is one of great difficulty, involving almost every conceivable domestic situation. Nevertheless the Fund has succeeded in establishing a series of rules and principles, the application of which, though not free from friction, has given general satisfaction. It may be added as an index of the complexity of the administration problem that the Fund provides relief to the dependents of British, French, Belgian, and Italian army reservists residing in Canada when the war broke out and who are of course on an entirely different and varying basis as regards separation allowances. By an amendment of the Act in 1916, the dependents of Newfoundlanders serving in the Canadian forces were brought within its purview, and the Fund was also permitted to extend help for a period of six months to incapacitated officers and men on their return to Canada and to the widows and dependents of officers and men dying on active service.

Legislation has been passed by several of the provinces to facilitate the work in its various phases, notably by


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