Child poverty in Canada: 1.3 million children affected in 2019
BARRIE – Nearly one in five children in Canada lived in poverty in 2019, a new report finds.
The report, released Wednesday by Campaign 200, a nonpartisan, Canada-wide network of 120 national, provincial and community partner organizations working to end child and family poverty family – shows that in 2019, 1.3 million children, or 17.7%, were living below the Census Family Low Income Tax Measure (CFLIM-AT).
Furthermore, the study found that the rate of child poverty was even higher among children across Canada under the age of 6 at 18.5%.
“Higher poverty rates for children at this critical developmental age are of serious concern given the effects of lifelong poverty on educational and occupational levels,” the report titled ‘No one is left behind: Inclusive recovery strategies’, writes .
According to the report, the percentage of children in poverty decreased by only half a percentage point between 2018 and 2019.
“Our annual analysis shows that only 24,000 children were lifted out of poverty in 2019,” Leila Sarangi, country director of Campaign 2000, said in a press release. “At this rate, it will take another 54 years to end child poverty.”
Children are also living in greater poverty today than in Canada.
The report shows that the average family of two children living on low incomes is $13,262 away from CFLIM-AT in 2019. This marks a significant increase from $9,612 in 2015.
“This highlights a worrying trend,” the report said. “Families and children that are still poor will be further away from the poverty line than in previous years.”
The report found that a parent earning $15 an hour living below the poverty line would need to work full-time for another 5.5 months, with no taxes or reductions, to reach it.
While child poverty remains a problem across Canada, the rate is highest in Nunavut at 34.4%.
Meanwhile, Manitoba recorded the highest rate of child poverty among the country’s provinces, at 28.4 percent.
According to the report, only Quebec, Alberta, Ontario and Yukon recorded rates of child poverty below the national average.
THE SYSTEM’S INEQUALITY
Shalini Konanur is an attorney and Executive Director of the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario and Member of the Steering Committee on Color Poverty – Color of Change.
Konanur said the report “highlights the plight of low-income immigrants, refugees and those without status, the majority of whom suffer from racial discrimination.”
“These communities have been hit hard by the impact of COVID-19 with higher rates of unemployment, poverty, gender-based violence and poor health outcomes,” Konanur said in a press release. .
The report says 2016 census data shows that child poverty rates are much higher than the national average among ethnic and immigrant communities.
According to the report, 25.5% of racial children and 35% of immigrant children live in poverty.
Konanur said priority must be given to “reducing barriers due to racism and discrimination to universalize access to income support for all in Canada, addressing barriers.” to achieve better labor market outcomes for people experiencing racism and specifically address the growing racist poverty situation in Canada.”
Rabia Khedr, National Director for Non-Poverty Disabled Persons, says more than 41 per cent of people living in poverty are disabled.
Khedr, who is also the Founder of DEEN Support Services and Race and Disability Canada, said in the press release: “People with disabilities have faced financial hardship before the pandemic and now. faces even more disadvantages.
“They are wondering if they will even be included in any recovery plans. Some people with disabilities are considering ending their lives because they cannot afford to live,” continued Khedr.
WHAT ABOUT CANADA’S BENEFITS OF CHILDREN?
The Canada Child Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment sent to families to help cover certain costs related to parenting.
However, the report said poverty reduction from this benefit would “continue to stall” as it failed to help move families living in “deep poverty” out of it.
The report says the maximum CCB allocation is $6,639 per child under six years of age. That number drops to $5,602 for children ages 6 to 17.
The authors call on the federal government to increase allocations to CCBs in the 2022 budget so that “all low-income families below the CFLIM-AT can access the amount of CCB pandemic assistance, regardless of What age are their children?
They also say that investments should be made “substantial” into the CCB’s base amount, to “ensure that it supports the interim goal of reducing child poverty by 50% by 2025” CFLIM-AT is calculated using taxpayer data. ”
In her speech from her throne on Tuesday, Governor-General of Canada Mary Simon advertised the Canada Child Benefit, saying it has “helped lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty,” adding that it would “continue to continues to increase to keep up with the cost of living.”
The report contains a series of recommendations that the authors say will help reduce poverty across the country.
The 60 recommendations cover a variety of topics such as housing, income security, child care, health care and workers’ wages, and include strategies to address systemic inequality.
The report recommends that plans be developed to prevent, reduce and eliminate poverty in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis governments, and organizations, including women’s organizations and 2SLGBQQIA +.
The authors also call for “immediate action” on the government’s commitment to ending homelessness under Canada’s international human rights obligations. They also call for a re-evaluation of the definition of “chronic homelessness”.
The report notes that workers’ wages should be commensurate and must be at least CFLIM-AT, where the authors call for equal pay and benefits for all workers to be legislated.
Furthermore, the report found the need to work with provinces and territories to implement “operating funding” for childcare programs based on a sliding scale of $0 to $10 daily.
In the press release, Sarangi said “there are many opportunities right now with the beginning of the new mandate of a minority government.”
“We have been reflecting on what we have learned through the pandemic, and we need to apply those lessons and begin to close the gap on inequality,” said Sarangi.
“The potential for a connected, sustainable future where everyone thrives is within our reach,” she continued. “Now we need political will and action.”
The report’s authors say they are urging the government to take “immediate and bold action to eradicate child poverty”.