BC Has Canada’s Highest Child Poverty Rate!

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NDP Says BC Liberals Failing Children Living In Poverty!

“The child poverty report card from FirstCall B.C. reminds us that despite anotheryear passing, the Liberal governmenthas failed to take action to effectivelyaddress issues related to child and familypoverty,” said New Democrat childrenand families critic Carole James.

VICTORIA – British Columbia has thehighest child poverty rate in Canada, withone in five kids considered statisticallypoor, says a report that calls for quickaction to alleviate a worsening situationin the western province.The B.C. Liberals have failed to addresschild and family poverty by abandoning aseries of child poverty reduction pilotprojects and failing to implement aprovince-wide poverty reduction strategyin their place, say New Democrats.“The child poverty report card from FirstCall B.C. reminds us that despite anotheryear passing, the Liberal government hasfailed to take action to effectively addressissues related to child and family poverty,”said New Democrat children andfamilies critic Carole James.“Instead of following the lead ofCanada’s other provinces and territoriesand implementing a poverty-reductionplan, the government chose to implementa piecemeal pilot project that endedup serving only 72 families when 153,000kids are living in poverty in B.C.,” saidJames. “These pilot projects weren’teffective to begin with, but instead ofadmitting to their mistakes and creating amore comprehensive poverty reductionstrategy, the B.C. Liberals recently canceledthe projects without saying what, ifanything, will replace them.”The report by the child and youth advocacygroup First Call said B.C.’s childpoverty rate is 18.6 per cent compared tothe national rate of 13.3 per cent.Manitoba’s rate, the second-highest inthe country, stands at 17.3 per cent.”B.C. stands out as having done the leastamong all provinces to bring down childand family poverty through governmentsupports and programs,” said AdrienneMontani, First Call’s provincial co-ordinator.”Concerted government action inthe form of a comprehensive povertyreduction plan for the province is longoverdue,” she said in a statementTuesday.But Children and Family DevelopmentMinister Stephanie Cadieux said the governmenthas taken action, focusing oneconomic growth, raising the minimumwage, funding social housing and makingchild care more affordable and accessible.However, James noted under the B.C.Liberals, British Columbia has had thehighest rates of child poverty for nine ofthe last ten years and that instead of takingreal action on child poverty, the governments’only response was to develop aseries of pilot projects in seven communitiesacross B.C. “Children do not experiencepoverty alone – these are entirefamilies living in poverty. Rather than listento advocates, health professionals andcommunity leaders’ calls to reduce poverty,the Liberal government has perpetuatedthe problem and allowed our provinceto once again have the highest rate ofchild poverty and overall poverty in thecountry,” said New Democrat socialdevelopment critic Michelle Mungall.First Call B.C.’s 2013 Child Report Cardwas released Tuesday. The report highlightsthe dire situation facing many B.C.families and shows that British Columbiaonce again ranks number one for highestrates of child poverty in Canada. Thereport also shows that the province’syoungest children are often the most negativelyaffected, with more than 20 percent of children under the age of six currentlyliving in poverty.“This has been a decade-long failure bythe B.C. Liberals and as result, childrenand families continue to be caught in anoften unbreakable cycle of poverty,” saidMungall.