Child Poverty in Ontario on the Increase: Campaign 2000 Calls for Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy



    TORONTO, March 6 /CNW/ - A new report by Ontario Campaign 2000 finds that
Ontario's child poverty rate has been inching up since 2001 and is now at
17.4%. Based on the latest Statistics Canada data, the 2006 Report Card on
Child Poverty in Ontario states that 478,480 children - one in every six
children - in Ontario are living in poverty. The average low income family is
living in deeper poverty now than they were twelve years ago.
    "The benefits of a strong Ontario economy are not trickling down to lift
Ontario's most vulnerable families and children out of poverty," said Jacquie
Maund, Coordinator of Ontario Campaign 2000.
    "Government policies and labour market conditions are partly to blame.
Social assistance payments for parents not able to be in the workforce have
dropped by over 40% in the past twelve years. More low income parents are in
the workforce, but they are working poor - unable to find jobs with sufficient
pay, hours and benefits to lift their families out of poverty."
    The report calls on all Ontario political parties to commit to developing
a Poverty Reduction Strategy for Ontario. Quebec and Newfoundland each have
provincial poverty reduction strategies, and Nova Scotia recently established
an all party commission to develop a strategy.
    "Child and family poverty is not inevitable. 2007 is an election year.
Campaign 2000 calls on all political parties to commit to developing a multi
year Poverty Reduction Strategy for Ontario with targets, timetables and
financial commitments," said Colin Hughes of the Children's Aid Society of
Toronto, and report co-author.
    The spring Ontario budget should be a first step. Campaign 2000 is
calling for the Provincial Government to:

    
    -   Fully end the clawback of the National Child Benefit Supplement;
    -   Index social assistance rates, and increase them to meet the basic
        needs of recipients;
    -   Raise the minimum wage to $10/hour by Canada Day, with indexation;
    -   Invest $600 million in early learning and child care;
    -   Continue investment of provincial funding to meet affordable housing
        commitments.

    The report, entitled "Child Poverty in Ontario - Promises to Keep,"
includes the following findings:

    -   2 in every 5 low income children live in families with a parent
        working full time, full year.
    -   The percentage of children living in working poor families has more
        than doubled from 17% in 1995, to 38% in 2004.
    -   The provincial child poverty rate is 17.4%, but poverty rates for
        children in Aboriginal, immigrant and visible minority families are
        double the average rate.
    -   The average two parent low income family lives $11,000 below the
        poverty line. The average low income lone parent family lives $9,500
        below the poverty line.
    -   Over the past 25 years Ontario's child poverty rate has never dropped
        below 11.6% (280,000 children) in 1989, the year that the House of
        Commons resolved to end child poverty by 2000.
    

    See www.campaign2000.ca for a full copy of the 2006 Ontario Report Card
on Child Poverty.

    Campaign 2000 is a cross-Canada movement of over 120 organizations
monitoring progress on the unanimous House of Commons resolution to eliminate
child poverty in Canada by the year 2000.





For further information:

For further information: Jacquie Maund, Ontario Coordinator, Campaign
2000, Tel: (416) 595-9230 x241 (or x244); Colin Hughes, Community Worker,
Toronto Children's Aid Society, Tel: (416) 924-4640 x3375; Miriam Edelson,
Porte parole francophone, Tel: (416) 443-8888 x8677


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