Still in Denial: BC’s Reluctance to Act Boldly to Reduce Child Poverty
The 2015 BC Child Poverty Report Card released by First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition shows BC’s continued failure to develop a comprehensive poverty reduction plan with targets and timelines has left the provinces child poverty rate unacceptably high.
At 20.4% (1 in 5 children), BC’s child poverty rate is higher than the Canadian average of 19% and represents 167,810 children — enough children to fill the entire Disneyland theme park four times. Just over half, or 85,450 of these children, lived in Metro Vancouver. The report uses statistics from 2013, the most recent data available.
More than half (50.3%) of all children living in lone-parent families, the vast majority of them single mother families, were living in poverty in 2013, compared to 13% for children in couple families.
“The data in this report is evidence of a continuing child poverty crisis that reaches into every corner of the province. With a new federal government intent on developing a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy that is to be aligned with provincial strategies, it’s time for BC to join the other provinces and develop a provincial poverty reduction plan,” said Cheryl Mixon, chairperson of the First Call coalition.
The report card makes 21 public policy recommendations that would help reduce the child poverty rate to 7% or less by 2020.
First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition is part of Campaign 2000, a national network that marks the anniversary every November of the 1989 pledge by the House of Commons to work to end child poverty by the year 2000.
The 2015 BC Child Poverty Report Card was prepared by the First Call Coalition with the help of the Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC BC).