Data in the First Call 2017 BC Child Poverty Report Card, released November 21, highlights how growing income inequality among BC families has one in five, or 18.3%, of our children living in poverty. Other key findings from the 2015 data include:
- This represents 153,300 children under age 18, a decrease of 9,960 from 2014.
- BC’s child poverty rate was higher than Canada’s child poverty rate of 17.4%.
- One in every two BC children of single parents were poor, and 36% of children living with grandparents, other relatives or non-parental family types were poor.
- The report card highlights the disproportionate rates of poverty among Indigenous, new immigrant, and racialized children, as well as children affected by disability.
- The majority of poor children live with parents in paid work.
- 85% of poor children in BC live in urban areas, but children living outside urban areas had an aggregate poverty rate of 23.3%.
- Inequality is highlighted by the range of poverty levels between regional districts and within city neighbourhoods (see maps).
First Call’s leading recommendation is for the provincial government to adopt a comprehensive poverty reduction plan with legislated targets and timelines, with a goal to reduce BC’s child poverty rate to 7% or lower by 2020. Our new provincial government has promised to introduce a legislated plan. Some of the other 21 recommendations directed to the BC government include:
- Redesigning the BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit into a BC Child Benefit covering children under 18 and doubling the maximum benefit to $1320 per child per year;
- Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, raising and indexing social assistance rates, paying living wages;
- Implementing the $10aDay Child care Plan and investing in affordable rental housing;
- Ensuring K-12 public education funding is sufficient to mitigate inequalities and to ensure appropriate inclusion of students with diverse learning needs.
- Reduced post-secondary tuition fees, interest-free student loans and more non-repayable grants for low- and middle-income students.
- Providing free public transit for minors (ages 0-18) and free or reduced-fee transit for low income families.
The report contains recommendations directed to the federal and local governments as well.
Find more info at still1in5.ca
Read the full report card and the media release
Read the stories of parents and families impacted by poverty
Read the full 21 recommendations
Take action: Email the premier