First Call wrote to BC Members of Parliament about the findings in our 26th annual BC Child Poverty Report Card. The report found that during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, BC’s child poverty rate dropped significantly largely due to the enhanced income supports from the federal and provincial governments. Unfortunately those gains are mostly wiped out by inflation and increased costs for families in subsequent years.
The report also contains 25 child poverty reduction recommendations for the provincial and federal governments. Some key recommendations for the federal government include:
- Ensure the Canada Child Benefit, in combination with other income measures, raises all families
with children above the CFLIM after tax poverty lines.
- Enhance Employment Insurance to expand access, duration, and level of benefits to reduce
inequity for lower-income workers, including establishing a minimum benefit floor.
- Ensure maternity and parental leave benefits are universally available to all parents (regardless
of work status), increase the duration of leave and ensure the benefit levels are not less than
the CFLIM after-tax poverty lines.
- Collaborate with First Nations, Métis and Inuit governments and Indigenous organizations
to address the factors leading to child and family poverty and comply with the rulings of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to provide adequate funding for child welfare services on reserve and ensure the full application of Jordan’s Principle for First Nations children.
- Scale up funding to build thousands of new social and affordable rental housing units and maintain existing affordable housing stock to reduce the number of families in core housing need.