First Call Monthly Updates

October 2015 Monthly Update

Welcome to the October monthly update about First Call’s advocacy work and key actions you can take to support children and youth in BC.

Taking advantage of the federal election, we worked with Campaign 2000 to map out child poverty rates in Canada and BC – spoiler alert – there is child poverty in ever federal riding. We have updates to share about the momentum of First Call’s Living Wage for Families Campaign. We had a great October Coalition Meeting with a focus on recent cuts to adult education and last but not least Deanna Ogle, campaign organizer for the Living Wage for Families Campaign, will be participating in the Welfare Food Challenge next week.

We are also hard at work on our 2015 Child Poverty Report Card and we invite you to the press conference release on Tuesday, November 24 at 9:30 am at the YWCA Hotel, 733 Beatty Street, Vancouver.

Read on to find out more about these updates.

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



To supplement Campaign 2000’s October 8 media release of maps showing the rate of child poverty in federal ridings across the country, First Call released two charts profiling the child poverty rates in the federal ridings in British Columbia.

The regional maps, available via, present a snapshot of child poverty rates based on the most recent available data from 2013 on child poverty by federal electoral district or federal riding.

The child poverty rates are mapped according to 2013’s 308 riding boundaries. The maps also have the new 338 riding boundaries super-imposed on the 2013 child poverty data and riding boundaries.

In British Columbia 20 of the 36 federal ridings have child poverty rates above 19%, the national average. The BC ridings in Chart 1 are ranked by the percentage of child poverty, highest to lowest. Nanaimo-Cowichan and Surrey North are the ridings with the highest child poverty rates at 28.2% and 27.7% respectively. North Vancouver has the lowest rate at 13.2%.

In Chart 2 (scroll to page 2), the ridings are ranked by the number poor children living there. Two Surrey ridings, Surrey North and Fleetwood-Port Kells, top the list with more than 8,000 poor children in each riding. Vancouver Centre has the smallest number of poor children (2,230), although the riding’s child poverty rate stands at 21.8%.

Read more in First Call’s news release

Related news stories:

Huffington Post: Canada’s Child Poverty Data Aims to Put Issue on Election Agenda

Winnipeg Free Press: Group releases child poverty data in bid to put the issue on election agenda

Toronto Star: Child poverty widespread in Toronto-area ridings



The living wage movement is gathering steam around Metro Vancouver and BC. So far in 2015, the Living Wage for Families Campaign has certified 11 new Living Wage Employers, bringing the total to 49 in BC.

First Call hosts the Living Wage for Families Campaign to raise awareness about the negative impact of low-wage poverty on families and communities. When employers pay a living wage they are contributing to a key solution to the issue of child and family poverty.

This summer, the City of Vancouver committed to paying their direct and contract staff a living wage and created an advisory committee to lead the process to become certified. The Vancouver School Board is also considering the living wage and, in Surrey, living wage campaign organizer Deanna Ogle is working with the Surrey Poverty Reduction Coalition to organize a What Is the Living Wage event.

To stay up to date on living wage news, sign up for the Living Wage for Families Campaign newsletter



We had a great October coalition meeting with First Call members. We got caught up on all of the work that the coalition has been doing this fall and also took some time to discuss in-depth the recent cuts to adult education. The biggest problem is that the most vulnerable part of the population (including youth aging out of care, people struggling with addiction, women coming out of abusive situations) is not accessing the education. We heard presentations about the following campaigns that we encourage you to check out:

  • Don’t Close the Doors –
  • Save Our VCC –
  • BCTF report: Adult Education in BC’s Public Schools –
  • 2015 elections – Let’s get the development of adult education back on track in Canada –



More than 170,000 people in BC struggle to make ends meet on welfare. The 4th Annual Welfare Food Challenge will run from Tuesday, November 3 to Monday, November 9 and during that time participants will only eat the food they can buy with $21 dollars.

Deanna Ogle, campaign organizer for First Call’s Living Wage for Families Campaign, will be exploring the connections between a living wage and welfare while participating in the Welfare Food Challenge next week.

Will you take the challenge?

Learn more at



Vancity Buzz: B.C. Now has 2nd lowest minimum wage in Canada

CIRX FM 94 (Prince George): Child poverty and the federal election – taped interview with Adrienne Montani

Coast FM 91.7 (Nanaimo): Highest percentage of children living in poverty found in Nanaimo-Cowichan

Tyee: How Many Poor Kids Live in Your Riding?

Vancouver Sun: Daphne Bramham: Promises, promises, but no answers for child poverty

BC News: Child poverty persists

Williams Lake Tribune: Cariboo-Prince George child poverty rate at 5,340

Kelowna Daily Courier: Child poverty an issue in local ridings, says group

Chilliwack Times: Election 2015: Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon child poverty rate sixth worst in B.C.

Burnaby Now: Burnaby’s child poverty rate amongst highest in B.C.

Renfrew-Collingwood Community News: Get ready to vote October 19

24 Hours: BC Responds to Paige’s Story



Next First Call Coalition Meeting

Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 9:15 – 11:30 am. Refreshments served at 9 am.

Meetings are open to the public and phone participation is available. Please RSVP by emailing

BC Teachers’ Federation, 550 W. 6th Avenue, Vancouver

More information, a copy of the agenda and previous meeting minutes can be found here

NOTE: The November coalition meeting, which falls on Remembrance Day, has been cancelled. In its place we encourage you to attend the First Call 2015 Child Poverty Report Card launch the morning of Tuesday, November 24, 2015. Please mark you calendar and stay tuned for details!


Next Early Childhood Development Roundtable Meeting

Wednesday, January 20, 2016, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm

If you are interested in participating, please RSVP by emailing

United Way of the Lower Mainland, 4543 Canada Way, Burnaby

More information and previous meeting minutes can be found here



October 2015: Charts: Child Poverty in BC Federal Ridings

October 2015: News release: Mapping Child Poverty: A Reality in Every Federal Riding