Child and Family Poverty Worsens Under Harper Conservatives, Charges Opposition


OTTAWA– The Conservative government continues to fail to address child and family poverty in Canada, said the federal Liberals.

“Today’s report from Campaign 2000 confirms that the Conservatives have no plan to fight poverty and no regard for the hefty economic and social cost it has on our society,” said Liberal Human Resources and Skills Development critic Rodger Cuzner. “Instead of taking action, they have opted to cut programs and services that help prevent poverty, such as Employment Insurance, frozen funding for affordable housing, and stood idly by as youth unemployment and student debt have reached record highs.”

With regard to children specifically, Campaign 2000’s 21st annual report found that one in seven Canadian children still live in poverty, with this number rising to one in four among Aboriginals. Moreover, 38% of food bank users are now children, while only 1 in 4 has access to a child care space.

“The fact that Canada is at present ranked 24th among 35 OECD countries when it comes to child poverty is appalling,” said Liberal Senator Art Eggleton. “Our ability to provide for our children, nurture them and enrich their lives will determine, to a great extent, our country’s progress and prosperity in the years to come.”

“The government is touting an economic recovery yet one in seven children is still living in poverty,” said Chris Charlton, NDP critic for Human Resources and Skills Development (Hamilton Mountain). “Their action plan has no action for children. Poverty reduction should be at the centre of any economic recovery plan.”

“In 1989 MPs voted unanimously to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000.  It’s now 2012 and we’re still waiting for a comprehensive strategy to eradicate poverty.  Clearly, there’s been a lack of political will on the part of successive governments”, said Charlton.