November 23, 2011
Feds urged to tackle child poverty
By Jessica Murphy, Parliamentary Bureau
OTTAWA – Child poverty has dropped 20% in the last 20 years, but remains a persistent problem in Canada, with one in 10 kids in families struggling to make ends meet.
Campaign 2000, a network of Canadian community organizations, published the statistics Wednesday in an annual report that tracks child poverty in this country.
Gunnar Sewell, a spokesman for the group, said the good news was that the child poverty rate fell from 11.9% to 9.5% between 1989 and 2009.
But with 639,000 children currently estimated to be living in poverty in Canada, Sewell said there is still work to do.
“This is a problem that needs continued attention. It requires funding,” he said.
On Nov. 23, 1989, a motion to end child poverty in Canada by 2000 passed unanimously in the House of Commons.
The failure successive government to tackle the issue was raised Wednesday in the House, with opposition parties calling on the government to do more to lift Canadian families and children out of poverty.
NDP MP Don Davies called on the Conservatives to implement a national poverty reduction strategy.
“We cannot, we must not, we should not wait any longer,” he told the House.
Human Resources Minister Diane Finley argued the government had taken steps to reduce poverty, citing new child-care benefits and tax credits for families as examples.
Campaign 2000, meanwhile, is calling for a national hike of minimum wage to $11 an hour, a boost to the child benefit for low income families, a pan-Canadian child-care strategy and more affordable housing, among other recommendations.
In a 2007 report, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development recommended a combination of job strategies and social benefits as the most effective way of reducing poverty rates.