Child poverty growing: report states

Nov 22, 2012 | News

By Andrew Millichamp

More Canadian children live in poverty today than in 1989 suggests a report from Campaign 2000, a national anti-poverty coalition.

The findings come 23 years after the  Canadian Government first resolved to end child poverty, and 12 years after the deadline for achieving that goal.

“The reality is, child poverty is persistent even among families where both parents work full time,” said Anita Khanna, Ontario co-ordinator for Campaign 2000, in a press release. “Thirty-eight per cent of food bank users are now children.”

Campaign 2000’s report stresses the need for the federal government to take action.

“We need a federal action plan that is accountable to the public,” Khanna told Humber News. “The provinces are taking action and doing their part, what we need now is the federal government to step up.”

Seven provinces, including Ontario, have instituted poverty reduction strategies.

Khanna said that Ontario plans to lift 25 per cent of impoverished children out of poverty within five years.

A number of Ontario regions, including Peel, have also answered the call and instituted their own poverty reduction strategies.

According to the Campaign’s report released Wednesday, one in seven Canadian children and one in four First Nation’s children live in poverty.

This is up from 1989 when less than one in 10 children in Canada lived in poverty.

“Without a co-ordinated federal action plan that sets out clear goals and provides the necessary resources, the crisis of child poverty will continue,” said Laurel Rothman, national co-ordinator for Campaign 2000 in a press release.

Campaign 2000’s annual report card set out action it  says will reduce child poverty in Canada by a rate of 15 per cent.

“If the federal government streamlined all current family and child tax credits into one, 174,000 children would be lifted out of poverty,” said Dr. Sid Frankel, associate professor of social work at the University of Manitoba in a press release.

Amalgamating the tax credits would eliminate up front expenditures that low income families don’t have, resulting in more families receiving the help they need.

Campaign 2000’s action plan calls for a sliding scale based on a maximum of $5,400 a year for each child.

The report also targets a greater need for non-profit childcare to assist low income families.