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Child Poverty in Canada

Toronto Star logo
Canada's largest daily newspaper

Rich Nation, Poor Children

The Toronto Star, by Vipal Jain, November 20th, 2009 ( Canada's Child Day and the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child)

One in nine Canadian children, more than a million, live below the poverty line according to the 2008 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada. Although this should be a concern every day, it is especially a concern on Nov. 20, National Child Day and the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC).

Fifteen years ago, the Canadian government resolved to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000. Nine years later, nothing has changed. The rate of child poverty has remained at 12 per cent for two decades now, according to Statistics Canada.

“For many families, it’s very difficult to get out of poverty. There isn’t enough money to feed the children, clothe them properly, or even enough money to pay for the bus fare or to look for a job,” says Grant Wilson, President of Canadian Children’s Rights Council. It’s even harder for new Canadian children and aboriginal families as they are at a greater risk of living in poverty, according to the report. More..


Global TV

Rich income, poor income gap widens

Global TV National, Monday, September 04, 2006

Members of the United Steel Workers union march in the Detroit Labor Day Parade September 4, 2006 in Detroit, Michigan. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

VANCOUVER -- Our neighbours to the south may have Canadians to thank when it comes to enjoying a day off in September.

Inspired by Toronto's Annual Worker's Parade in the late 1800s, the American Labour Movement also adopted the first Monday of September to rally for the rights of workers -- but a century later, the state of the workers may not be so rosy.

For nine straight years, the U.S. minimum wage rate has remained unchanged, according to the Ecomonic Policy Institute (EPI), a Washington-based think tank, while the wages of the highest earners in America have continued to soar -- to the degree that the U.S. ranks dead last in worker equality among industrialized nations. More ..


Child Poverty in Canada

In rich Canada, welfare worsens
Recipients get less than 20 years ago
Public is turning a blind eye to issue

The Toronto Star, ( Canada's largest daily newspaper) THOMAS WALKOM, NATIONAL AFFAIRS COLUMNIST, Aug. 25, 2006

Here in Canada, in one of the richest countries of the world, the very poorest are getting poorer. This is not the result of some external or unforeseen crisis. It is happening in the midst of a long-running economic boom and reflects the deliberate decisions of elected governments presumably supported by the Canadian public at large to purge the roughly 1.7 million people consigned to welfare from our collective consciousness.

It is shameful. It is pretty much criminal. And, as the National Council on Welfare, an advisory body to the federal government, warned in a report released yesterday, it is remarkably short-sighted. In particular, it is short-sighted for those of us in the broader middle classes who assume wrongly that we could never end up on the dole.

It's a cruel world out there now. Successive governments have gutted or eliminated much of Canada's vaunted social safety net. For most workers, employment insurance doesn't exist. Increasingly, employers prefer part-time or contract workers who can be fired at will and who are owed neither benefits nor pensions.

If the economy falters and unemployment spikes as it is almost sure to do again there is not much between a comfortable middle-class life and welfare.

So just hope it doesn't happen to you. As the council points out, for the vast majority of those on welfare, things are bad and getting worse.

The figures are depressing and distressing. In Ontario, for example, the incomes of most welfare recipients, after adjustment for inflation, are lower now than they were 20 years ago. More ..


Editorial / Opinion

Welfare programs fail the neediest

The Toronto Star, ( Canada's largest daily newspaper ) Aug. 28, 2006

Do you belong to a typical middle-income family of four in Ontario? Then you took in about $80,000 last year. And you no doubt had to make some difficult lifestyle choices. Maybe between investing in a new car or splurging on a vacation. Or buying a plasma TV or braces for one of the kids.

Now try to imagine what your life would have been like trying to make ends meet on less than a quarter of your income. How would you have housed, fed and clothed your family and provided all the other necessities of life on just $19,302? That's just half the poverty line.

If it sounds next to impossible, it is.

Yet that is what an Ontario couple with two children living on welfare receives in benefits. Social assistance in this province has never been adequate. And it has declined for 13 years, eroded by inflation. More..


Welfare study shows need for guaranteed income

The Toronto Star, ( Canada's largest daily newspaper ), by HUGH SEGAL, SPECIAL TO THE STAR, Sep. 2, 2006

Canada's on-again, off-again relationship with a guaranteed annual income (GAI) has made the rounds for many years. The most renowned recommendation for the GAI came out of the 1985 report of the Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada, chaired by Donald Macdonald, known as the Macdonald Commission.

The report stated unequivocally that a universal income security program is "the essential building block" for social security programs in the 21st century. A guaranteed annual income or basic income is the concept of a floor income provided on a continual basis varying on family size, age, and other sources of income. More..


Where compassion hides its face

The Toronto Star, (Canada's largest daily newspaper) by CAROL GOAR, Sep. 1, 2006

He was a nice kid. He didn't deserve to run into a voter like me.

I live in Parkdale-High Park, the west-end riding where a by-election is being fought to replace Gerard Kennedy, who resigned his seat in the provincial Legislature in May to run for the federal Liberal leadership.

An earnest young canvasser for New Democratic Party candidate Cheri DiNovo knocked on my door the other day.

He asked if I was aware there was a by-election going on. I said I was.

He asked if I had read any of DiNovo's campaign brochures. I said I had.

He tried to gauge whether I was a NDP supporter. I was unhelpful.

Finally, he asked whether I had any questions. I thought about smiling and saying no but couldn't. "Well, yes, as a matter of fact," I said. "I don't see anything in Ms. DiNovo's literature about raising social assistance rates. I'm concerned that politicians at Queen's Park are ignoring the poorest people in the province." More ..


Little money for social programs from Finance Minister

Globe and Mail, by RICHARD BLACKWELL, March 23, 2006

Compared to the billions of dollars being spent on subways, bridges and health care infrastructure, the amount of new money going to help disadvantaged Ontarians in yesterday's provincial budget was decidedly modest.

An extra $218-million will be added to spending on children's and social services in 2006-2007, a 2.2 per cent rise from the $10.1-billion spent in the previous fiscal year.

The new money includes $33-million for a two per cent rise in social assistance payments and shelter allowances for those on welfare meaning a single parent with two children will get a boost of a little over $5 a week this year.

Families on social assistance will get another boost of about $8.50 a week, a result of provincial changes that will trim the amount of money the province claws back from federal child benefits. More ..


Campaign 2000

One Million Too Many:
Implementing solutions to Child Poverty in Canada

2004 Report Card on Child Poverty in Canada

Fifteen years ago the House of Commons unanimously resolved to "seek to achieve the goal of eliminating poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000." In the midst of a growing economy more than one million children, or nearly one child in six, still live in poverty in Canada.

The solutions are well-known. What's lacking is the political will. It's time to end the social deficit.

One million too many: Implementing solutions to child poverty in Canada. 2004 report card on child poverty in Canada. ENGLISH [pdf, 12pp, 186KB] More..

Un million de trop : mettre en oeuvre des solutions pour s'attaquer la pauvret des enfants au Canada. Rapport 2004 sur la pauvret des enfants au Canada. FRANAIS [pdf, 12pp, 193KB]. More..


15 years on and still the children suffer

Opinion

Toronto Star, ( Canada's largest daily newspaper ) by MARY CORKERY AND HARRY J. KITS, Nov. 25, 2004

We promised. It's time for Canadians to keep faith with our children.

More than 1 million children, one in six kids in Canada, live in poverty. Nearly three times more aboriginal, immigrant and visible minority children are poorer than the national average.

As leader of the New Democratic party, Ed Broadbent back in Ottawa as an NDP MP after a 15-year hiatus moved the 1989 parliamentary motion to end child poverty. A generation of children has grown up seeing that vow unfulfilled. More..


Child poverty: setting new goals

EDITORIAL

The Toronto Star, CAROL GOAR, Nov. 24, 2004

Giving up is not an option. But clinging to a faded dream is not a solution.

So today, on the 15th anniversary of his parliamentary resolution to end child poverty by 2000, Ed Broadbent will set a new goal. He will challenge Canadians to reduce the child poverty rate to 5 per cent within 10 years.

His new target lacks the tidy finality of the one he persuaded all MPs to endorse on Nov. 24, 1989, shortly before his retirement as leader of the New Democratic Party. It is less ambitious, less appealing.

But Broadbent, who returned to active politics this year, believes it is realistic and achievable. He calls it "a new agenda for a new time."

The child poverty rate currently stands at 15 per cent. It was 15.2 per cent when Broadbent issued his clarion call 15 years ago. More ..


Call to fight child poverty
Report urges $18 billion boost Also recommends raising taxes

The Toronto Star, LAURIE MONSEBRAATEN, STAFF REPORTER, May 5, 2004.

More..


The Truth About Deadbeat Dads

Reader's Digest Canada, April, 2001, by Gladys Pollack More ..


Enough talk: Homeless must become priority ...

The Toronto Star, THOMAS A. AXWORTHY, Aug. 9, 2004.

More..


Child Poverty, Canada and the Provinces, 1993
  Incidence
(%)
Number
(000)
Canada 21.3 1484
Atlantic Provinces 20.6 121
Newfoundland 21.8 32
Prince Edward Island 11.4 4
Nova Scotia 23.4 52
New Brunswick 18.0 33
Quebec 21.4 360
Ontario 20.8 539
Prairie Provinces 22.7 285
Manitoba 26.1 71
Saskatchewan 24.8 65
Alberta 20.6 149
British Columbia 21.5 179

Source: Prepared by the Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD), using Statistics Canada's Low Income Persons, 1980 to 1995 (Low Income Cut-offs , 1992 base), Catalogue 13-569-XPB, Survey of Consumer Finances.

Note: Poverty is measured using Statistics Canada's Low-income Cut-offs (LICO), 1992 base.
*children under the age of 18.

Reading this table

Example: 1,484,000 Canadian children lived in poverty in 1993, a poverty rate of 21.3%. The child poverty rate was highest in Manitoba, where 26.1% of all children were poor. More than half a million poor children (539,000) lived in Ontario.

http://www.ccsd.ca/factsheets/fs_cpov.htm

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