2020 BC Child Poverty Report Card
When one child lives in poverty it’s a tragedy. However, when one in every five children in BC are poor it’s a crisis.
Research has long demonstrated that poverty is toxic to children’s health and development. From poor nutrition to family stress to exclusion from social participation, there are many ways poverty is known to raise the risk of lifelong ill effects on health and reduce opportunities for children and youth to realize their full potential.
Despite consistently high rates of child poverty in BC, there has been little concrete action taken by provincial and federal governments.
Every November, First Call, with the support of the Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC BC), releases a report card with the latest statistics on child and family poverty in BC. It also includes recommendations for policy changes that would reduce these poverty levels. This is done in conjunction with the release of a national child poverty report card by Campaign 2000.
The data and recommendations in our annual report cards are highly respected and are widely used by our members and allies, the media, and the government.
Our report cards serve as an educational tool to make all British Columbians aware of the extent of child poverty in BC, but they are also a call to action. They include public policy recommendations directed at all three levels of government.
First Call’s overarching recommendation has long been for the provincial government to adopt a comprehensive poverty reduction plan with legislated targets and timelines. We are encouraged to see this is now in progress, and that a cabinet minister has been given the authority and responsibility to ensure government achieves its targets on time. Therefore, we recommend the plan contains a goal to reduce BC’s child poverty rate to 7% or lower by 2020.
1. Email the premier
Send an email to Premier Horgan asking him to act on the Provincial Recommendations in the report card, which would make a real difference to the size and depth of BC’s child and family poverty crisis.
2.Talk to your local provincial and federal government representative
3. Spread the word
4. Write a letter to the editor
Got a bit more time? Write a letter to the editor of your local paper about the state of child poverty in BC and highlight the need to take action.
You can find a list of letters to the editor contact information for local papers across BC here, and tips for getting your letter picked up here. Mention the key child poverty facts highlighted in our press release.
5. Ask everyone you know to take action!
Finally, community pressure works to convince governments to take action, so please encourage others to learn about child poverty and support the recommendations in the BC Child Poverty Report Card.
We need a lot of pressure to push our elected representatives to take bold steps. Please ask your colleagues, friends, family and even strangers to take the five action steps!
First Call has been tracking child and family poverty rates in BC for nearly two decades as the BC representative of Campaign 2000. Our first provincial report card was published in 1996 and contained data from 1994.
Campaign 2000 is a cross-Canada public education movement to build Canadian awareness and support for the 1989 all-party House of Commons resolution to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2000. They began in 1991 out of concern about the lack of government progress in addressing child poverty. Campaign 2000 is non-partisan in urging all Canadian elected officials to keep their promise to Canada’s children.
It publishes a national Child Poverty Report Card every year, and report cards are also published for other provinces including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
This House “seek(s) to achieve the goal of eliminating poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000”
– House of Commons, unanimous all-party resolution, November 24, 1989
Previous BC Child Poverty Report Cards
For earlier report cards please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to our funders – the Vancouver Foundation, Vancity and Vancity Community Foundation.
“We depend on several reports, including First Call’s annual Child Poverty Report to provide accurate, up-to-date information to our congregation. Thank you First Call, for 20 years of hard, dedicated work advocating for BC children and their families.”
– Joanna Rainer, Vernon (May 2017)