B.C. leads in child poverty: New figures from Statistics Canada show that B.C. leads the nation in child poverty for the sixth year in a row


First Call Media Release


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New figures from Statistics Canada show that B.C. leads the nation in child poverty for the sixth year in a row
The Province
Jun 4 2009
By: Ian Austin

The StatsCan figures show that 13 per cent of B.C. residents under18 live in poverty — the highest percentage in Canada and well above the national child-poverty average of 9.5 per cent.

On the plus side, the just-released 2007 numbers — the latest available — represent a drop from 2006, when the B.C. rate was 16.5 per cent and the national rate was 11.4 per cent.

“There was some good news in 2007 — the rate was coming down — but B.C. had the highest child-poverty rate for the sixth year in a row,” said Adrienne Montani, principal co-ordinator for First Call, the B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition.

Montani’s biggest worry was the statistic for single-mother families.

In B.C., 37.4 per cent of children in those families were living in poverty, compared with a national average of 26.6 per cent.

“That’s more than one in three,” said Montani. “There seems to be denial here — the government simply says, ‘The best answer to poverty is a job.'”

Steve Kerstetter of the First Call co-ordinating committee …”There is no magic bullet when you talk about poverty,” he said. “We have too many people working at low-wage jobs. Too many people who are working part of the year, not the whole year, and too many people working part-time.”

Kerstetter said B.C. is a magnet for new immigrants, making the child-poverty issue worse here.

First Call is asking for a minimum 25-per-cent reduction in the child poverty rate by 2012, and a minimum 50 per cent by 2017….


– Raise the minimum wage from $10 to $10.76 per hour immediately, with annual increases pegged to increases in the cost of living.

– Abolish the $6 per hour training wage.

– Make the federal government provide universal access to high-quality, accessible child care.


BC still the worst in the country for child poverty
Roughly 13 per cent of BC’s children living in poverty
Andrea Macpherson
June 3rd, 2009

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Once again, B.C. has the most children in the country living in poverty. The latest stats from 2007 show the child poverty rate actually dropped to 13 per cent, from 16.5. But according to Stats Canada that was still well above the national rate of 9.5 per cent. Julie Norton with First Call, the B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition says it’s shameful that B.C. has the highest rate of child poverty for six years in a row.

She wants to see a commitment to cut child poverty rates in half by 2017 and she wants the government to recognize child poverty as a real issue. Norton also says with people losing their jobs in this recession, there’ll be more poor families in the province in the future.


Despite big improvement, B.C. child poverty rate remains Canada’s worst
June 04, 2009

A significant decrease in the number of children living in poverty in 2007 wasn’t enough to keep British Columbia from having the worst childhood poverty rate in the country for the sixth year in a row.

According to Statistics Canada, 13 per cent of children in B.C. lived in poverty in 2007 — a 3.5 per cent improvement over the previous year.

The national average in 2007 was 9.5 per cent.

B.C. NDP Leader Carole James described the numbers as “very worrisome.”

“Those figures are from 2007 when the economy was booming,” James said. “When times are good you should take care of the fundamentals so when times are bad people can take care of their families.”…

James said investments in childcare, affordable housing and stimulus spending, as well a minimum wage increase are needed to pull children and their families out of poverty.