BC ties Manitoba for highest child poverty

Katie Hyslop, The Tyee

British Columbia has once again taken the title of province with the highest number of poor families with children. The latest numbers released today by First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition show poverty for families with children rose from 10.5 per cent in 2010 to 11.3 per cent — or 93,000 children — in 2011.

Numbers from Statistics Canada show B.C. has tied with Manitoba for the child poverty highest rate in the country. This is the ninth year in the last decade that B.C. has achieved first place in poorest families.

The worst hit families were female-led single parent families, where poverty rates jumped from 16.4 per cent in 2010 to 24.6 per cent — or 27,000 kids — in 2011. Poverty in two parent families also increased from 7.7 per cent to 9.2 per cent — or 61,000 children — in 2011.

First Call places the blame for the rising poverty levels on a perfect storm of a high cost of living combined with inadequate wages in the province. Regardless of B.C.’s economic performance over the years, the advocacy organization says government has failed to adequately address the government’s child poverty problem.

“The 2013 provincial budget contains no policy measures or significant investments that will help families struggling with inadequate incomes now,” said Adrienne Montani, provincial coordinator of First Call, in a news release issued this morning.

“The number one priority in the premier’s directives to even the child-oriented ministries is to contain costs, rather than meet needs.”…

“Enough is enough. It’s time for the B.C. government to invest effort and money in a bringing this number down through a comprehensive action plan. It’s not rocket science — we know what will help.”

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