TORONTO, Oct. 13, 2015 /CNW/ - A new report from Toronto agencies shows that, of the 14 largest Canadian cities, Toronto continues to have the highest percentage of children and youth living in poverty.
"It is shameful that our leaders have allowed widespread poverty of young people to continue," said Michael Polanyi of the Children's Aid Society of Toronto. "Until all levels of government make poverty reduction a priority, the success of tens of thousands of young people will remain at risk."
Key findings from the report, which is based on recently released Statistics Canada Tax filer data for 2013 (and is available online at socialplanningtoronto.org), include:
- Child poverty in Toronto in 2013 remained virtually unchanged from the previous year, with more than 1 in 4 children (29%), or 144,000 in total, living in low-income households in 2013 (as measured by Low Income Measure After Tax).
- Children in some Toronto neighbourhoods are up to 10 times more likely to live in poverty (the child poverty rate is over 50% in Regent Park, Moss Park, Oakridge and Thorncliffe Park, while it is less than 5% in Lawrence Park North and Kingsway South).
- Child poverty rates in Toronto's ten most "linguistically diverse" neighbourhoods are about 4 times higher than rates in the least linguistically diverse neighbourhoods.
- Children are the age-group most at risk of poverty: 29% of Toronto children live in poverty, compared to 24% of working age adults and 10% of seniors.
- As reported in last year's "Hidden Epidemic" report, children of colour, Indigenous children, children from single-parent and/or newcomer families, and children with disabilities are more likely to experience poverty in Toronto.
"The large and persistent neighbourhood and racial gap in children's economic conditions and opportunities is alarming," said Anita Khanna of Family Service Toronto and Campaign 2000. "Mayor Tory and City Council can do something about this disparity - by adopting a comprehensive and bold poverty reduction strategy this fall and making action a priority in the city's 2016 Budget."
In June, Toronto City Council voted 40-2 to adopt an interim poverty reduction strategy. Executive Committee will vote on the city's final strategy on October 20, with City Council is expected to debate it in early November.
SOURCE Children's Aid Society of Toronto
For further information: Michael Polanyi at (416) 712-6573