First Call Monthly Updates

November 2015 Monthly Update

Welcome to the November monthly update about First Call’s advocacy work and key actions you can take to support children and youth in BC. Our November monthly update is a special 2015 BC Child Poverty Report Card release.

This morning we released our annual report card on child poverty in BC, which found that one in five British Columbian children are living in poverty, the same rate as when First Call started tracking child poverty in BC nearly two decades ago.

You can download a copy of the report card, find additional materials and take action on our special report card website:

This year we are encouraging people to use our email action tool to email the premier and tell her that you support our recommendations to end child poverty – you can send an email using our form here. And please help us spread the word on social media.

Also a friendly reminder about our webinar tomorrow Wednesday November 25th. The webinar will equip you with an in-depth understanding of the report card data so you can incorporate it into your own work and advocacy. You can register for the webinar here.

And finally, thank you for your support. Together we are making a positive difference in the lives of BC’s children and youth!

Yours for children and youth,
Adrienne, Sarena, Julie and Deanna



At 20.4% (1 in 5 children), BC’s child poverty rate is higher than the Canadian average of 19% and represents 167,810 children, using the most recent data from 2013. More than half (50.3%) of all children living in lone-parent families, the vast majority of them single mother families, are living in poverty, compared to 13% for children in couple families.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Between 2012 and 2013, BC’s child poverty rate decreased very slightly from 20.6% to 20.4%. However, since the passage of the 1989 House of Commons all-party resolution to eliminate child poverty in Canada by the year 2000, BC’s child poverty rate has risen from 15.5% to 20.4% in 2013.
  • Poor families in BC are very poor, with all poor family types living on average over $10,000 below the poverty line.
  • One third of BC’s single parent families are in core housing need (housing that is in poor repair, unaffordable or crowded) and nearly a quarter of these parents experience moderate to severe food insecurity.
  • 23 out of BC’s 29 regional districts had at least 1,000 children living in poverty. The highest rate was found in the Central Coast Regional District, with a 50.6% child poverty rate.
  • 78% of all Metro Vancouver census tracts had at least 100 poor children living in them, and half of all Metro Vancouver municipalities had census tracts with child poverty rates of 20% or higher.
  • Poverty rates for young children under 6 were higher than overall child poverty rates in 22 out of 24 urban areas outside of Metro Vancouver, some as high as 37% (Port Alberni and Duncan).
  • Income inequality has continued to grow in BC, with a 78.3% increase in median income for the top 0.1% vs. a 0.3% increase for the bottom 99% between 1982 and 2012.

The report proposes a range of solutions that fall within the scope of both provincial and federal government policies. These are all proposals that have strong support within our broad, cross-sectoral coalition and among the general public. Chief among them is the call for BC to adopt a comprehensive poverty reduction plan with specific targets and timelines for their achievement.



  • Email the Premier: Send an email to BC’s Premier (and Opposition Leader) asking her to act on the recommendations in the report card to reduce child poverty in BC!
  • Spread the word: Share and re-tweet First Call’s Report Card graphics and posts through Facebook and Twitter today! Use the prepared posts and tweets in our Report Card Social Media Kit to spread the findings of the Report Card through your own social media. You can also download these Infographics (in a zip file) to share. 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. Find tools to help you here.
  • Talk to your government representatives: Find your MLA and find your MP and then email, call or visit them. Tell them you are concerned about child poverty in BC and want them to act on the recommendations in the Report Card. The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition has prepared some great provincial resources, including specific guides for talking to NDP or Liberal MLAs about poverty, which you can find on their Meet Your MLA page.