No Change 18 Years Later - New Report Shows Child Poverty at 1989 Levels



    TORONTO, Nov. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Eighteen years after the 1989 all-party
resolution of the House of Commons to end child poverty in Canada the rate is
exactly the same, says a new report from Campaign 2000. Despite a growing
economy, a soaring dollar and low unemployment, Statistics Canada data shows
the after-tax child poverty rate is 11.7%, exactly where it was when all
federal parties decided action was urgently needed.
    The 2007 National Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada shows
that 788,000 children live in poverty in Canada. A startling 41% of low-income
children live in families with at least one parent working full-time all year
yet do not earn enough to lift their families out of poverty. The risk of
living in poverty is not the same for all children. Poverty hits children in
racialized, First Nations and recent immigrant communities much more often.
    "The report is called It Takes a Nation to Raise a Generation because we
are calling on the federal government to step up to the plate with a
comprehensive Poverty Reduction Strategy," said Ann Decter, National
Coordinator of Campaign 2000, releasing the document in Ottawa today. "The
federal government has the fiscal resources if they don't give them away in
general, across the board tax cuts."
    "Canadians have been polled and they've said clearly: Close the poverty
gap, that's the country we want to live in. That's what we expect of our
federal government. I want to know my daughter's classmates have enough to
eat, every day. I want to know that no child will go homeless in Canada this
winter. I want to see all First Nations children living safely beyond the
entrapping cycle of poverty," said Ms. Decter. "That's what poverty reduction
means."
    Ms. Decter pointed to polling that shows 85% of Canadians believe that if
the government takes concrete action, poverty in Canada could be drastically
reduced.
    "Teachers know what poverty looks like," commented Emily Noble, President
of the Canadian Teachers' Federation, "they see children who are too hungry to
settle down and learn, children who are living in homeless shelters, children
who carry a burden of worry for their families. The Canadian Teachers'
Federation joins the call for political commitment to a national Poverty
Reduction Strategy for Canada. Parents should be able to provide an adequate
living standard for their children - working together, governments can ensure
that is possible."
    "Support for poverty reduction is growing across the country," Ms. Decter
added. "Four provincial governments either have strategies in place or have
committed to develop them. The federal Liberal Party has announced bold
targets. Premiers of different political stripes are committing to
comprehensive, long-term plans. The federal government can play a crucial role
through a national Poverty Reduction Strategy."
    The report provides evidence that federal programs already in place can
reduce poverty, and calls for more to be done. "We're calling on the federal
government to support poverty reduction by increasing the Canada Child Tax
Benefit, increasing federal work tax credits, investing broadly in child care
and affordable housing and supporting a targeted plan to address Aboriginal
poverty," said Dr. Adje Van de Sande of Carleton University.
    "Federal savings from lower debt charges should be invested in poverty
reduction," said Ms. Decter. "Let's not just get Canada out of debt, let's get
poverty out of Canada. That's the vision of a great nation."

    
    Additional highlights from "It Takes a Nation to Raise a Generation":

       - Children live in poverty across Canada. Child poverty rates are at
         double digit levels in all provinces except Alberta, Quebec and PEI.
       - More parents are working, but they're still poor. No matter were you
         live in Canada, full-time work at minimum wage is not an escape from
         poverty.
       - Children in families that face systemic discrimination run a much
         greater risk of growing up in poverty. For children of recent
         immigrants, racialized communities, children with disabilities and
         children of single mothers, before-tax poverty rates range from
         28 to 49%.
       - The First Nations population is young and growing and child poverty
         rates are a formidable barrier. 28% of Aboriginal children living in
         First Nations communities were living in poverty in 2001, as were
         40% living outside First Nation communities.
       - Families still live deeply in poverty. The average low income family
         needs $9,000 to $11,000 more in annual income to move out of
         poverty.
       - Children depend on food banks to have enough to eat.
         280,900 children used food banks in 2006, almost double the number
         in 1989.
       - Government programs make a difference. In 2005, the child poverty
         rate would have been a third higher without public investments.
    

    Provincial Child Poverty Report Cards were also released today in BC,
Manitoba, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and a Living Wage Report was issued in
Alberta. All reports are available at www.campaign2000.ca




For further information:

For further information: National: Ann Decter, National Coordinator,
Campaign 2000, Cell: (416) 706-4686; Emily Noble, President, Canadian
Teachers' Federation, (613) 688-4300; Dr. Adje van de Sande, School of Social
Work, Carleton University (porte parole francophone), (613) 520-2600 ext 6692;
For Regional Contacts: B.C. - Michael Goldberg, First Call, (604) 222-2290;
Adrienne Montani, (604) 875-3629; Alberta - Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Public
Interest Alberta, (780) 420-0471; Manitoba - Sid Frankel, Social Planning
Council of Winnipeg, (204) 474-970, (204) 261-3749; New Brunswick - Randy
Hatfield, Human Development Council, (506) 636-8540; Nova Scotia - Pauline
Raven, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, (902) 542-3085


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