First Call Ranks Child Poverty in BC’s Federal Ridings and Calls for Urgent Action

First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition ranked child poverty in BC’s federal electoral ridings based on new research from the national Campaign 2000: End Child and Family Poverty in Canada. The national data finds that child and family poverty persists in every riding from coast to coast to coast.

In BC, four ridings appear within the ‘top ten’ list calculated both by percentage of population and actual number of children living in poverty. Those ridings are Surrey Centre, Skeena-Bulkley Valley, Nanaimo-Ladysmith and Surrey-Newton.

“Once again the data demonstrates an urgent need for both federal and provincial action to lift children and youth out of poverty,” commented Adrienne Montani, First Call’s Provincial Co-ordinator. “As a Campaign 2000 partner we are anticipating the roll-out of the National Poverty Reduction Strategy and will be looking for significant action. In BC, we will also be looking for the details in BC’s own legislated Poverty Reduction Plan slated for release by the end of the year.”

On average, across Canada, the child poverty rate is 17.4%. In BC, the following ten federal ridings with the highest percentage of children living in poverty are:

  1. Surrey Centre (27.2)
  2. Skeena-Bulkley Valley (27.1)
  3. Vancouver East (24.5)
  4. Richmond Centre (23.9)
  5. Courtenay-Alberni (23.8)
  6. Nanaimo-Ladysmith (22.1)
  7. Vancouver Centre (22)
  8. Surrey-Newton (21.7)
  9. Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola (21.5)
  10. North Island-Powell River (21.2)

The time has come for federal politicians to exercise leadership and commit to concrete action to eliminate child poverty. While many municipal, regional, provincial and territorial governments have prioritized poverty reduction across the country, national leadership and significant investments are essential.

First Call supports Campaign 2000 recommended targets and timelines that will help eradicate child and family poverty:

  • Reduce child and family poverty by 50% by 2020, using 2015 as the base year.
  • Reduce Canada’s poverty rate by 50% in 5 years, and by 75% in 10 years.
  • Reduce deep poverty by 50% within four years, and by 75% within a decade (LIM-40). Ensure the poverty rate for children and youth under 18, female lone-parent households, single senior women, Indigenous people, people with disabilities, recent immigrants, and racialized people also declines by 50% in 4 years and by 75% by in 10 years in recognition that poverty is concentrated within these populations.
  • Ensure every person has an income that reaches at least 75% of the poverty line in 2 years.
  • Ensure there is sufficient stock of quality, supported, and affordable housing for all in 10 years.
  • In 4 years, reduce by half the number of households who report food insecurity.
  • Reduce income inequality by lowering the share of after tax income held by the wealthiest 10% of Canadians in four years.