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Decline in child poverty rates welcome, more action needed

Newly released data from Statistics Canada’s Canadian Income Survey confirm the importance of government investments to combat poverty and make the case for additional funding to support low income children and families in Budget 2019, says Campaign 2000.

“For decades, Campaign 2000 has called for stronger government investment in income transfers such as the Canada Child Benefit (CCB),” says Anita Khanna, Campaign 2000’s national coordinator. “Targeted government spending on the CCB has driven a much needed decline in child poverty rates. Now, we must be more ambitious and reduce child poverty faster.”

Campaign 2000 welcomes progress against poverty and urges all parties to support accelerated efforts to eradicate it by 2030 and to ensure the poverty reduction act is passed within this mandate to rid the shadow of poverty from every childhood.

Read Campaign 2000’s full response

2018 Toronto Child Poverty Report: Municipal Election Edition

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Child and family poverty is a disturbing reality in every ward in Toronto, a new report from a coalition of community agencies finds. Family Service Toronto’s Campaign 2000 team contributed to the report, which uses newly released census data. The data show that ten wards in the city have a child poverty rate between 33% and 47%, but even wards with relatively low rates include areas where child poverty is pervasive, at double or triple the ward average.

The report, entitled 2018 Toronto Child & Family Poverty Report: Municipal Election Edition is the first to use census tract data to show hidden poverty within the city’s wards. The report provides thorough analysis of child poverty in Toronto, provides ward by ward child poverty rates and calls for renewed commitment to poverty reduction from Toronto City Council. You can also read the front page story in the Toronto Star.

Sharing our Vision for Pharmacare

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Campaign 2000 submitted its recommendations for a national universal pharmacare program to the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare. Canada’s current patchwork system of drug coverage relies on an uneven mix of contributions from the private and public sectors. This system is inconsistent, confusing for families to navigate and costly to administer. Canadians spend more on medication than residents of countries with universal, public pharmacare programs. In the current system, too many children and families fall through the cracks and cannot access required medication. It is estimated that nearly 2 million Canadians cannot afford their prescription medication

With an aging population, rapid innovation in drug development and significant potential for cost savings from a single-payer system, it is Canada to move away from the current two-tiered system of private coverage for the affluent versus contingent and partial state coverage for people in poverty. The brief states that a national universal pharmacare is both the equitable and fiscally responsible approach to improved access to medications in Canada.

CPRS Consult Extended to August 31st

The Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy Consultation period has been extended until August 31st.  If you haven’t already participated, visit http://esdc-consultations.canada.ca/poverty-reduction-strategy for online tools provided by the government. You can also directly email your submission to povertyreduction@canada.gc.ca.

For more information on what needs to be done to eradicate poverty, check out Campaign 2000’s comprehensive action plan. In it, we outline the policies and programs needed for Canada to make good on the commitment to reduce poverty. Take a look at the summary infographic, including targets and timelines to track success, and read our full submission in English or French.

Please spread the word within your networks and ensure you participate by August 31st. It’s not too late to ensure your concerns, ideas and recommendations are heard in the development of Canada’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy!

FST explores LGBTQ+ poverty

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FST’s Campaign 2000 team has assisted efforts to explore poverty among LGBTQ+ Canadians in connection with the federal government’s work towards a national Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Campaign 2000 – a non-partisan coalition of 120 groups and individuals co-ordinated by Family Service Toronto – has called for a federal anti-poverty strategy for decades and partnered with University of Toronto Prof. Lori Ross on the LGBTQ+ recommendations.

They were included as part of a joint submission to government from the Canadian Coalition Against LGBTQ+ Poverty, an emerging new group comprised of university faculty and community groups across Canada.

Read the full submission here.

Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy

Today, Campaign 2000 releases its submission to the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy and convenes public forums in Winnipeg, Toronto and Charlottetown to discuss Canadians’ priorities for Canada’s first poverty reduction strategy and make urgent recommendations for change.

Forum participants will connect via Skype and will insist the government’s strategy provides an effective plan to eradicate the number of Canadians – nearly five million – living in poverty.

“After decades of broken promises to end poverty, Canada’s first national Poverty Reduction Strategy must deliver a sea change in Canada’s infrastructure of supports and services that prevent and reduce poverty,” says Campaign 2000 National Coordinator Anita Khanna. “Poverty deprives millions of people of their dignity, health and opportunities. A comprehensive action plan must redraw the social contract for the tough realities families face today – precarious, low-wage work, skyrocketing housing and food costs, unaffordable childcare and unequal opportunities for marginalized people.”

Canada must now move pledges to eliminate poverty from rhetoric to reality and finally put people in poverty first. After decades of waiting, there is no choice – we must act now and get this strategy right.

Media Release: Full details of the forums and contact for media spokespeople in English or French.

Submission: “Federal Action Plan to Eradicate Poverty” is available in English or French.

Infographic: A summary of targets, timelines and policy recommendations can be found here.

Media Contacts

National

Anita Khanna
Campaign 2000
416-788-3439 or 416-595-9230 x250.

Liyu Guo
Campaign 2000
416-595-9230 x250 or 416-624-1885.

Winnipeg

Sid Frankel
University of Manitoba
204-474-9706

Vancouver

Adrienne Montani
First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition
604-877-4932 or 778-320-4561

Charlottetown

Mary Boyd
PEI Coalition for a Poverty Eradication Strategy
902-892-9074 or 902-388-2693

C2000 contributes its expertise on measuring poverty in Canada

In April and May, Campaign 2000 steering committee members completed a brief paper focused on measuring poverty. Agreement on how to accurately measure poverty is central to the CPRS’ success and the credibility of targets and timelines. With no official income poverty line, debates about the rate and prevalence of poverty are too common in Canada.

For this reason, our measurement and data subcommittee was pleased to have the opportunity to present our brief and recommendations to the Honourable Jean Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and ESDC Economist in Residence, Dr. Miles Corak. Read our full brief, “Measuring Poverty, Meeting Targets” and an Addendum.

Youth need encouragement, not disbelief

Post by MSW Student, Mallory Hilkewich

I read the article by Carol Goar quoting depressing sentiments about young people from MPP Julia Munro. While I feel a sense of optimism that issues of poverty and inequity affecting children and youth are being discussed, I fear the state of political will. As a young person I urge politicians to stop the rhetoric of youth incompetence and apathy, and start voicing belief and encouragement.

Campaign 2000 just came out with a national report card on Child & Family Poverty titled Let’s Do This: Let’s End Child Poverty for Good. A call to action is heralded in response to the new governments – platform promise to create a national anti-poverty plan. Yet the plan must be accompanied by thoughtful, targeted action.

As the report states, government must legislate change with a national Early Childhood Education and Care program, a comprehensive housing strategy and ensure the new Canada Child Benefit design reduces the child poverty rate by 50% in 5 years.

Government should take seriously the fact that nationwide nearly 1 in 5 children live in poverty. Toronto itself has eight ridings with child poverty rates over 30%. And disturbingly, entrenched poverty on First Nation reserves and systemic discrimination have created higher proportions of Indigenous youth in the care of child welfare and who are incarcerated.

It is disheartening when politicians spout one-sided stories as their proof that a generation of youth is incompetent. Easily, an alternative narrative can be shared.

Youth took action with their right to vote this election. Over 70,000 voted early on campuses and some estimates predict a 10% increase in turnout from 2011. You can find youth across Ontario and Canada working to take action and create opportunities where little exists. Take for example the nearly 700 youth that created the Y2K Strategy in Kingston to improve community environment, health, and wellness. Youth are often working hard and taking action, but their actions easily go unrecognized.

Rather than sharing criticizing stories, politicians should focus energy to combat a youth unemployment rate that is almost double the national average. Politicians should address the student debt Ontario students face from paying the highest average tuition in Canada. Politicians should know that Ontario students would have to work a full summer at minimum wage just to afford tuition (let alone food, rent, books). Politicians should create opportunities for homeless youth, a large portion who fled experiences of interpersonal violence, emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse.

Politicians should use this evidence to recognize the conditions that prevent youth from reaching their potential. That our own Prime Minister is the Minister of Youth and the Liberal platform committed to creating a Commissioner for Children and Young Persons gives a nod to the unique and pressing needs of children and young people. Let’s change the conditions of poverty. Let’s embrace encouragement rather than disbelief.

Budget 2016: A historic step forward in Canada’s battle against child poverty

Campaign 2000 sees Budget 2016 as a historic step forward in Canada’s battle against child poverty. Investments targeting children and families in poverty lay the ground work to turn the tide against Canada’s child poverty epidemic which plagues nearly 1 in 5 children overall and over 40% of Indigenous children.

Budget 2016 boosts incomes through the Canada Child Benefit, which is projected to lift 300,000 children out of poverty. Other positive first steps include investments in First Nations child welfare, education, housing and clean water on reserve; improvements to Employment Insurance; funding for affordable housing and a commitment to developing a National Housing Strategy.

Unfortunately, the budget delays indexation of the Child Benefit to Inflation until 2020, as well as much needed funding for childcare until 2017-18. It also fails to allocate funds for the development of the promised Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy and the implementation of the 94 Calls to Action from Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The new Canada Child Benefit (CCB) will be delivered to low and moderate income families starting in July. “It is very positive that the needs of the over 1.34 million children living in poverty in Canada were not eclipsed by recent, fevered discussions of reducing the deficit. Investing in families and children in low and modest income makes smart economic sense. Boosting local economies while building more equitable futures for children is a win-win, says Anita Khanna, Campaign 2000’s National Coordinator. “We are now looking for the Federal Government to initiate agreements with the provinces and territories to ensure no portion of the CCB is deducted or clawed back from families on social assistance, who live on some of the lowest incomes in the country.

This can be achieved through adding a condition to the Canada Social Transfer that prohibits claw backs. Government should also plan for long term increases in the CCB to such a level that it reduces child poverty by 50% in 5 years as part of a strong Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Read our press release: English and French

Speech from the Throne must Prioritize Children & Families in Poverty

End Child and Family Poverty in Canada will focus on how the Speech from the Throne addresses the urgent need for immediate action to eradicate child and family poverty in Canada. “We recognize the significant poverty reduction potential of the commitments from the new federal government and we are focused on how and when these commitments will be put into action to create meaningful change for children and families in poverty, says Anita Khanna, National Coordinator for Campaign 2000.

Speech from the Throne must Prioritize Children & Families in Poverty – Media Release