08/28/2015 16:57 EDT | Updated 08/28/2016 01:12 EDT

Department mum on results of hunt for 'missing' child care benefit families

OTTAWA — The federal department in charge of the monthly universal child care benefit is refusing to say how many families who hadn't signed up for the benefit did so after a nationwide push earlier this year.

The Conservatives launched a frantic campaign in the early part of the summer to have an estimated 200,000 families sign up for the payments, warning them that they risked missing out on the cash.

Employment and Social Development Canada won't say how many of those families signed up in time for the increased payments, which started on July 20.

A department spokeswoman only said that the figure will be reported some time in the next few months, meaning the number won't be available until after election day on Oct. 19.

The department didn't explain why it wasn't releasing the number, even though Employment Minister Pierre Poilievre had said they would be available by now.

The decision to not release the numbers appears to be linked to a practice during election campaigns where federal departments decline to put out information, lest they be considered to be acting in for or against the electoral interests of any party.

The Canadian Press

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