TORONTO, Nov. 23, 2011 /CNW/ - The Canadian government keeps failing to
help children and families living on low-income, according to Campaign
2000's 20th Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada. Over two decades after the unanimous resolution in the House of Commons
to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2000, Canadian families are
still waiting to see sustained action from the federal government on
its commitment to ensure economic security for all children across
The 2011 Report Card, Revisiting Family Security in Insecure Times, explores child poverty, the conditions it creates, and the issues faced
by families living on low-income. The report finds that the number of
children living in poverty has only decreased by 20% in 20 years. With
639,000 children still living in poverty, proactive social policies
will need to be introduced and implemented immediately if Canada is to
avoid an increase in the depth and rate of poverty.
"This is the moment for our government leaders to demonstrate their
commitment to working together to eradicate poverty. Thousands of
children in Canada live in poverty because their families are unable to
find a good job, earn a decent wage and meet even the most basic
expenses like housing and food. Every year I am shocked by the lack of
progress made in poverty eradication. How has our government let 1 in
10 children continue to live in poverty? It is heartbreaking that 38%
of food bank users in Canada are children under 18 yet children are
only about 22% of the population. How can our government allow
thousands of children to go hungry?
"We may be subject to the effects of the 2008 recession just now - but
the reality is that Canada's economy has more than doubled in size
since the 1989 resolution in the House of Commons to end child poverty,
yet the incomes of families at the bottom have virtually remained
unchanged. The gap between rich and poor families has continued to
widen, and low-income and average-income families are left struggling
to keep up.
"We have the evidence, we have the united voices of people who have
experienced poverty and we have even come up with the policies that
will help families thrive - we've done all the work. All we're asking
from the federal government is to take action and implement change"
says Campaign 2000's National Coordinator, Laurel Rothman.
According to Adrienne Montani of First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy
Coalition and Campaign 2000 Steering Committee member, "There is a
growing recognition within Canada and internationally that persistent
poverty is a serious health issue that costs all of us. This year as
the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child conducts its third review
of Canada's implementation of children's rights, the gaps in honouring
the rights of children and in the weak or non-existent policies to help
children thrive are even more apparent. It's shameful that Canada
ranks poorly on child poverty among OECD nations. Poverty erodes the
social fabric of communities and is a moral blight on the democratic
integrity of nations."
"It is encouraging to see that all but three provinces have or will
adopt a poverty reduction strategy. The results from Newfoundland
Labrador and Québec who were the first to set targets and implement
changes have been positive. We need the federal government to adopt a
federal poverty reduction plan in conjunction with provinces,
territories, First Nations governments, the community sector, the
private sector and in consultation with people who have lived
experience of poverty. Such a plan would ensure that no one is better
off in one province compared to another and that all Canadians can live
with dignity" adds Sid Frankel, board member of the Social Planning
Council of Winnipeg.
"All Canadians will benefit from poverty reduction and eventual
eradication," says Margaret Hancock of Family Service Toronto. "By
sharing responsibility as a society to prevent child and family
poverty, we can reduce costs for health, education and criminal justice
services," she added.
The report card's key findings, available at www.campaign2000.ca, show Canada has a long way to go to prevent and reduce poverty:
One in 10 children still lives in poverty in Canada. It's worse for
children living in First Nations communities: 1 in 4 grow up in
Employment is not always an assured pathway out of poverty: 1 in 3
low-income children lives in families where at least one parent works
full-time year round and 1 in 4 workers is in a low-wage job earning
less than $13.32 per hour.
Public investments make a difference: without the income transfers in
2009, 1 in 4 children would have lived in poverty. Canada's public
programs brought the child poverty rate down to 14% (LICO Before-Tax).
Although the rapid rise in the number of working mothers is one of the
key social changes of the last century, Canada still has no societal
response to the need for child care. Less than 1 in 5 children (0 -12
years) has access to a regulated child care space.
Housing is the single largest expense for low- and modest-income
families. One in 4 households pays more than 30% of their income on
housing. And 750,000 children (under 15 years) live in housing that is
either unaffordable, substandard, overcrowded or all three.
Provincial Report Cards on Child and Family Poverty were also released
today in BC, Alberta, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Manitoba released its report card in September. The Ontario report will be released in early 2012. All reports are
available at www.campaign2000.ca.
Campaign 2000 is a non-partisan, cross-Canada network of 120 national,
provincial and community partner organizations committed to working to
end child and family poverty in Canada. www.campaign2000.ca
SOURCE Campaign 2000
For further information:
Laurel Rothman, (by cell 416-575-9230 or 416 595-9230, ext. 228) or Liyu Guo (by cell 416 624-1885 or 416-595-9230, ext. 244).
For further comment please contact:
Laurel Rothman or Liyu Guo (see phone numbers above)
Gunnar Sewell cell 416 859-0792 or 416 429-3696 porte parole francophone
B.C. - First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition - Adrienne Montani 604-873-8437
Alberta -Edmonton Social Planning Council - John Kolkman 780.423-2031 ext 350
Manitoba - Social Planning Council of Winnipeg - Sid Frankel 204 474 9706 or 204 295 3749
New Brunswick - Human Development Council - Randy Hatfield or Kathryn Asher 506-634-1673
Nova Scotia -Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Nova Scotia Office - Lesley Frank, 902-582-2483 or 902-698-3653