In our 2017 child poverty report card, we made a recommendation to enhance BC’s current early childhood benefit to more effectively reach poor, children-supporting households. We know, from international data that, on average, social transfers in high-income countries reduce child poverty rates by about one third. Of the provinces offering a child benefit, BC is the only one that cuts off the benefit for parents with children over the age of six.
The majority of poor children in BC live with parents in paid work, either full or part time. Low wages and precarious work are important causes of family poverty.
In light of the BC government’s commitment to reducing poverty, we revised our cross-Canada comparison of child benefits included in our child poverty report card to reflect 2018 information and we enhanced our recommendations. Our submission to the government’s BC Poverty Reduction Strategy Consultation this spring includes these recommendations on how to better target this benefit to improve the lives of families and children living in poverty.