Ending Poverty

Key Message

Canada must fulfill the National Poverty Reduction Strategy to provide all Canadians with an opportunity to achieve their potential.

Why is poverty an issue in Canada?

Child and family poverty is a tragic reality that shamefully continues to prevail in Canada despite our wealth as a nation. Although the child poverty rate has declined since 2004, 1 in 5 Canadian children 17 years of age and under were living in poverty in 2016. According to Statistics Canada data, the child poverty rate, measured according to the after-tax low income status of tax filers and dependents based on the Census Family Low Income Measure for all family units in low income, declined from 24.7% in 2004 to 19.6% in 2016.[i]

What does research tell us about child and family poverty?

According to 2016 Census data reported by Statistics Canada on the after-tax low income status of tax filers and dependents, for all family units in low income:[ii]

  • The poverty rate for Canadians in all family units was 16.8% in 2016. This represents 5.84 million Canadians living in poverty, up 5.9% relative to a decade earlier in 2006;
  • 1 in 5 Canadian children 17 years of age and under (19.6%) were living in poverty in 2016;
  • 1.42 million children 17 years of age and under were living in poverty in 2016, down 12.2% relative to a decade earlier in 2006, and down 20.1% relative to 2004;
  • Children represented approximately one quarter (24.3%) of low-income persons in all family units in low income in Canada in 2016.
References

[i] Statistics Canada, (website) Table 11-10-0018-01, After-tax low income status of tax filers and dependents based on Census Family Low Income Measure (CFLIM-AT), by family type and family type composition. (Accessed June 19, 2018).
https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1110001801

[ii] Ibid.

What needs to happen?

Strategies and policy recommendations that could have a positive impact on inequitable educational opportunities linked to family socio-economic status and ensure that all children are better provided for, should include but not be limited to:

  • Increased minimum wage;
  • Expansion of eligibility for Employment Insurance;
  • Major investment in social housing;
  • Improved accessibility and affordability of post-secondary education and training;
  • Inclusion of child and youth services as part of federal/provincial/territorial agreements concerning immigrants and refugees;
  • Funding for First Nation’s child welfare agencies to deliver in-home support and prevention services to First Nation children and their families;
  • A universal child care system providing dedicated funding for high quality care and early intervention and school-readiness initiatives for all children;
  • A comprehensive federal poverty reduction strategy for Canada that includes realistic measurable targets and timelines developed in broad consultation with provincial and territorial governments, Aboriginal governments and organizations, non-governmental organizations and people living in poverty;
  • Establishing a new federal transfer payment to provinces and territories directed at poverty alleviation. This transfer must be designed to assist provinces and territories to meet the specific poverty reduction targets set in the federal poverty reduction strategy;
  • Prior to 2020, establishing a national school lunch program including subsidies for students in need;
  • Ensuring, at the federal level and prior to 2025, that there is high-quality supported and affordable housing for those in need.

What to ask your political party?

  • What is your party’s plan to fulfill the National Poverty Reduction Strategy?
  • How does your party plan to work with the provinces and territories in order to reach poverty reduction targets?
  • Where does your party stand on developing national daycare and lunch programs?
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