News and Events

Nunavut Inuit Women’s Association Urges Immediate Action Following Release of Campaign 2000 Poverty Report Card

Amautiit, the Nunavut Inuit Women’s Association (NIWA), released the first Nunavut report card on child and family poverty on April 29, 2024.
Read the Report Card in English and Inuktitut; and Press Release in English and Inuktitut

From Amautiit:

On April 29, 2024, Amautiit, the Nunavut Inuit Women’s Association (NIWA) stands in solidarity with Campaign 2000 as it unveils its first ever annual Poverty Report Card, revealing the harsh realities faced by Nunavut’s most vulnerable populations. NIWA echoes the urgent call for action to address the systemic issues perpetuating poverty and inequality in our communities.

As an organization deeply rooted in advocating for the rights and well-being of Inuit women and families, NIWA recognizes the profound impact of poverty on individuals and communities across Nunavut. The findings of this year’s Poverty Report Card underscore the need for immediate and concerted efforts to combat poverty and its far-reaching consequences.

Key highlights from the report include:

Child Poverty Rates

Alarmingly high child poverty rates persist in Nunavut, with a significant percentage of our children living in conditions of economic hardship. NIWA emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the needs of our youngest community members and investing in their future through targeted interventions and support services.

Food Insecurity

Many households in Nunavut continue to grapple with food insecurity, facing barriers to accessing nutritious and culturally relevant food. NIWA stresses the importance of addressing food sovereignty and ensuring that all residents have access to healthy and affordable food options.

Impact of COVID-19

ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has further deepened the vulnerabilities faced by those living in poverty, exacerbating existing inequalities and widening socio-economic disparities. NIWA emphasizes the need for targeted support for those most affected by the pandemic, including Inuit women, children, and elders.

NIWA urges all levels of government, Indigenous leadership, and community stakeholders to heed the findings of the Poverty Report Card and to take decisive action to address poverty in Nunavut.

For more information on NIWA’s advocacy efforts and initiatives, please visit www.amautiit.ca

Food program is welcome

Campaign 2000: End Child and Family Poverty welcomes the federal government’s April 1 announcement of the National School Food Program. Children in Canada will now have access to an important safety net to mitigate hunger at school. 

The federal government’s investment in the National School Food Program demonstrates its commitment to the well-being of Canada’s children and youth.

And while Campaign 2000 commends the federal government for launching this program, the coalition is calling for further investment in income security measures, like the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), to adequately address the crisis that is food insecurity in Canada.

“When it comes to food insecurity, solutions like community food programs can only do a part of the job. To be successful, they must be coupled with strategies to address inadequate or insecure income,” said Chris Brillinger, Executive Director of Family Service Toronto. “The launch of a national school food program is a good policy decision that will take some pressure off household budgets, but without increases to income supports like the CCB, we are not fully addressing childhood food insecurity.”

Read the full C2000 Media Release

Unprecedented Progress on Poverty Reduction Being Undone

Campaign 2000 releases its annual report on child and family poverty, Unprecedented Progress on Poverty Reduction Being Undone. The report finds that in 2021, despite the historic progress achieved in 2020, Canada saw a sharp upswing in national child poverty rates. As pandemic benefits wound down and the cost of living rose, poverty rates rebounded, resulting in over 1 million children living in poverty.

Using tax filer data from 2021, the latest available, this update finds that the child poverty rate rose to 15.6%, up from 13.5% in 2020 (using the Census Family Low Income Measure, After Tax). That represents 163,550 more children living with the short – and long-term physical, mental, emotional, economic and social harms of poverty.

This year’s national report finds that rates of child poverty increased in every province and territory from 2020 to 2021. Disproportionately higher rates were seen for people marginalized by colonization, racism and systemic discrimination, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and racialized and migrant children.

The progress achieved in 2020 revealed that there is room for more ambitious targets for poverty reduction in Canada. Campaign 2000 was founded after the unanimous 1989 federal motion to eradicate child poverty by the year 2000. The federal government’s 2015 commitment to the United Nations 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, the first of which is No Poverty, signaled an important re-prioritization of poverty eradication. But the latest data presented in this year’s report show troubling signs that progress towards ending child and family poverty is reversing.

Accelerated efforts are required for Canada to meet its human rights obligations to end poverty. This report offers more than 30 recommendations that cover inequality, income security, housing, child care, decent work and healthcare, and calls for bold action to eradicate child and family poverty in Canada.

Key Findings from the 2023 National Report Update:

  • Over 1 million children lived in poverty (1,162,460 or 15.6%) in 2021.
  • The national child poverty rate increased by 2.1 percentage points between 2020-2021, following a historic reduction of 4.2 percentage points between 2019-2020. This increase represents an additional 163,550 children living in poverty.
  • The child poverty rate is higher (16.1%) for children under six than all children.  
  • Rates of child poverty increased in every province and territory, with highest increases in Saskatchewan amongst the provinces (child poverty rate of 24.2%) and Nunavut amongst the territories (child poverty rate of 35.8%).
  • The gap between wealthy and low-income families widened, as families in the bottom decile of income distribution had only 1.6% of the total share of income compared to families in the top decile, who had 25.4%.
  • Government transfers, such as the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), are powerful poverty reduction tools.  The CCB reduced child poverty by 9.2 percentage points in 2021.
  • Child and family poverty disproportionately affects marginalized communities due to the historic and current violence of colonialism, racism and systemic discrimination.
  • Canada’s universal child care plan must include low-income children with a sliding scale fee model of $0 to $10 maximum.  All child care expansion must be within the public and non-profit sectors.

Want to read more? 

Click on the following links to read and download the 2023 report cards.

English National Update and Press Release

French National Update and Press Release

Check out the provincial and territorial report cards as they become available:

British Columbia Report Card
BC Child Poverty Report Card 2023 – First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Society (firstcallbc.org)
2023 CPRC Media Materials – First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Society (firstcallbc.org)
2023 BC Child Poverty Maps – First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Society (firstcallbc.org)

Alberta Report Card and Press Release

Manitoba Report Card and Press Release

English Ontario Report Card and Press Release

French Ontario Report Card and Press Release

New Brunswick Report Card English and French; Press Release English and French

Nova Scotia Report Card and Press Release

Prince Edward Island Report Card

Newfoundland and Labrador Report Card and Press Release

Nunavut Report Card in English and Inuktitut; and Press Release in English and Inuktitut


Campaign 2000 Celebrates the Life of Ed Broadbent

For Immediate Release – It is with the heaviest of hearts that Campaign 2000: End Child and Family Poverty mourns the passing of Ed Broadbent. We wholeheartedly feel the loss of a champion who was committed to fighting for justice and equality in Canada and around the world.

On November 24th, 1989, as Ed stepped down as the leader of the New Democratic Party, he introduced the House of Commons motion to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000, a motion that was unanimously passed.

The birth of Campaign 2000 in 1991 was sparked by Ed’s commitment to eliminating child and family poverty.  Activists Marvyn Novick and Rosemarie Popham, co-founders of Campaign 2000, took hold of the resolution introduced by Ed and, building on the work of the Child Poverty Action Group and others, set out to make child poverty a public policy issue in Canada.

“Ed was an accomplished humanitarian who continued his pursuit of equity and justice for all until these final days. He was also a man of ideas who could talk easily with people about his thoughts and strategies. And his humour always livened up the conversation,” said Laurel Rothman, former National Coordinator, Campaign 2000: End Child Poverty (1998-2015). “When Campaign 2000 sought support and wise counsel, he always made himself available.”

Ed leaves behind a legacy of tirelessly fighting for equal rights and a just society that has inspired many to strive for a nation free of poverty. In 1992, the first report card on child and family poverty was released. Today, Campaign 2000 continues to release report cards annually that track the federal government’s progress towards the 1989 commitment.

“With his passing, we not only celebrate his life achievements but remind ourselves of the commitment made by the Federal government to eradicate family and child poverty so long ago,” said Chris Brillinger, Executive Director of Family Service Toronto. “To honour his life and work, we must remain steadfast in our resolve to eradicate child and family poverty in our lifetime. Mr. Broadbent always knew the vision was possible, it is our responsibility to keep that vision front and centre for policymakers until the job is done.”

To the Campaign 2000 network, he was a close friend and ally. We will continue to honour and celebrate his steadfast commitment to justice and equality and strive toward bettering the lives of all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

To download this statement as a PDF, please click here.

Contact Information

Mithilen Mathipalan, Coordinator, Social Action, [email protected]

Campaign 2000 is a non-partisan, pan-Canadian network of 120 national, provincial and community partner organizations committed to working to end child and family poverty, hosted by Family Service Toronto. To learn more about Campaign 2000 visit https://www.campaign2000.ca

Accelerated efforts to eliminate poverty required for Canada to meet its human rights obligation to end poverty

For Immediate ReleaseCampaign 2000: End Child and Family Poverty is calling on the federal government to accelerate efforts to eliminate poverty and fulfill its human rights obligations as rising costs of living affect communities from coast to coast to coast. The call comes as Canada and other UN member states convene in New York for the 2nd SDGs Summit and Action Weekend to mark the halfway point to the deadline set for achieving Agenda 2030.

“Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is grounded in a human rights framework, requires urgency and political will from all levels of government,” said Leila Sarangi, National Director of Campaign 2000. “Poverty is a human rights violation that is disproportionately experienced by those facing systemic marginalization including Indigenous Peoples, racialized and immigrant communities, those with disabilities, lone mothers and youth in the child welfare system, among others. Canada is moving in the wrong direction; any progress we’ve had in the past is being undone. The SDG Summit is the right place for Canada to reflect on where it is falling behind and plan for new actions to end poverty once and for all. We are a wealthy nation, we have the means, we now need the political will.”

“Canada has made real progress in the last decade, especially when it comes to reducing child poverty.” said Terence Hamilton, Policy Specialist at UNICEF Canada. “But the UN Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved by 2030 by leaving some children behind. Every child has the right to be free from poverty.”

Campaign 2000, Citizens for Public Justice and Canada Without Poverty co-lead a national research project that engages communities experiencing poverty in policy development to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The project recently completed an eleven-month tour to host 17 conversations with 227 people affected by poverty and systemic marginalization in every province and territory. Participants across the country shared how low wages, precarious work and stagnant government assistance rates, which were dramatically insufficient prior to the pandemic, do not allow them to cover the costs of basic needs today, including food, rent, medications, energy and transportation, which in turn leads to worse health, education and social outcomes for these families.

“Governments must do more to accurately capture experiences of poverty in Canada,” says Natalie Appleyard, Socio-Economic Policy Analyst at Citizens for Public Justice and a co-lead of the project. “Collecting disaggregated data and firsthand accounts of unmet needs is necessary for developing policy solutions that are effective in addressing the structural causes of poverty.”

Canada’s latest Voluntary National Review for the SDGs reports gains in poverty reduction made in 2020 were so significant that poverty reduction targets were achieved a decade early. But the report also shows that progress was a result of temporary pandemic income transfers from the federal government to individuals and families.

“Those benefits are no longer available, and data is showing poverty rates climbing back up,” said Sarangi. “We need to fix the major holes in our income and social security systems. Our communities are in crisis. We are at the halfway mark for meeting our obligations under the SDGs but we do not know what the federal plan is as it relates to ending poverty.”

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Download Press Release
Campaign 2000 is a non-partisan, pan-Canadian network of 120 national, provincial and community partner organizations committed to working to end child and family poverty, hosted by Family Service Toronto. To learn more about Campaign 2000 and the Localizing Canada’s Commitment to the Sustainable Development Goal’s project, visit https://sdg.campaign2000.ca

Contact Information
Athavarn Srikantharajah, Project Coordinator, Campaign 2000

647-894-8737

[email protected]

Campaign 2000 update: Yukon Poverty Report Card 2022

The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition released the first Yukon Poverty Report Card in March 2021 as part of Campaign 2000’s annual assessment of child and family poverty in Canada. The report provided an overview of current data regarding the prevalence of poverty in the Yukon as well as relevant indicators related to the housing crisis, food insecurity, and affordability. The report concluded with ten recommendations to reduce poverty and to improve the health and wellness of children, youth, and families throughout the territory.


Yukon Poverty Report Card 2022 provides a status update on the key issues identified in the first report including each of the recommendations and assigns a grade to each level of government responsible for implementing each recommendation. It also includes new recommendations to address ongoing and emerging issues relating to social assistance, the housing crisis, and transportation.

Read the report.

C2000 Submission to the National Housing Council’s Review on the Financialization of Housing

Written Submission of Campaign 2000: End Child and Family Poverty

Campaign 2000 is a non-partisan pan-Canadian coalition of over 120 organizations working to end child and family poverty.  The coalition came about in response to the 1989 federal resolution to end child poverty by the year 2000.   For more than 30 years, Campaign 2000 has been monitoring and tracking rates of child and family poverty and presenting achievable federal policy solutions through annual reporting.  From inception, Campaign 2000 has researched and written about the role of housing in experiences of poverty, and the need for affordable, accessible, quality housing as one of the critical components to ending child and family poverty. 

Child poverty is disproportionately experienced by families who are systemically marginalized in Canadian society, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples, immigrants, newcomers, those who are racialized, those who have disabilities, lone-mother led families, 2SLSGBTQI+ families, youth aging out of the child welfare system, among others.   These children and families experience both the crisis of poverty and the crisis of housing together.  The financialization of purpose-built rental housing is a significant contributor to the housing crisis, as experienced by families and children living in low incomes. 

Across the country, Campaign 2000 coalition members hear from communities that they feel hopeless and that there is no way out of poverty, no access to adequate housing, and too many barriers to achieving wellbeing.

Campaign 2000 is providing this submission to the National Housing Council for the review on the issue of the financialization of purpose-built rental housing in Canada in which we aim to highlight the correlation and effects of the financialization of purpose-built rental housing on children and families who live in low-income and provide a set of evidence-based recommendations that will help to address this urgent issue. 

Background

Financialization of purpose-built rental housing

The “financialization of housing” refers to structural changes in housing and financial markets and global investment whereby housing is treated as a commodity or asset as a means of accumulating wealth, often as security for financial instruments that are traded and sold on global markets. It refers to those institutional investors in housing who cater predominantly to their shareholder or investor clients and in the process — inadvertently or not — cause harm to tenants. It refers to the way capital investment in housing increasingly disconnects housing from its social function of providing a place to live in security and dignity and hence undermines the realization of housing as a human right.[i]  Human rights violations resulting from the financialization of housing include, but are not limited to, evictions, escalating rents and diminished building services and maintenance.

Demographics of children in families with low incomes

Data from the most recent Campaign 2000’s latest national annual report card tells us more about who the families and children in low income are. It should be noted that there is a two-year lag in the release of data. These rates reflect the presence of generous pandemic benefits transferred by the federal government to families in 2020 that attributed to historically low poverty rates.  Since these benefits have all been withdrawn and preliminary estimates are showing that the situation is worse today. In 2020:

  • 13.5%, or nearly 1 million children in Canada, lived in poverty according to the Census Family Low Income Measure, After Tax (CFLIM-AT). That is more than 1 in 8 children growing up with the short- and long-term physical, mental, emotional, economic and social harms of poverty.
  • Child poverty rates for children under six were even higher at 14.2%, representing 327,550 children.[ii]

Child poverty rates continued to be disproportionately higher for those who are systemically marginalized by colonization, racism, ableism, family status:

  • 37.4% for First Nations children living on reserve.
  • 24% for First Nations children living off reserve.
  • 19.4% for Inuit children.
  • 15.2% for Métis children.
  • 15.1% for racialized children.
  • 21.8% for newcomer children who have been in the country five years or less.
  • 18.8% for immigrant children.
  • 29.7% for children in lone mother led families.[iii]

Systemically marginalized groups experience housing insecurity at higher rates. For example, 2021 Census data show the disproportionate effects of housing insecurity on racialized families:

  • 18.2% of racialized families with children aged 0-14 were in core housing need (defined as spending over 30% of household income to afford adequate housing), compared to 9.8% of non-racialized families with children 0-14.
  • 7.1% of racialized families with children 0-14 spend 50% or more of their household income on housing, compared with only 2.8% for non-racialized families with children aged 0-14.[iv]

Effects on low-income families and children, particularly in systemically marginalized groups

Low income families and children are significantly negatively affected by the financialization of housing and by the human rights violations they cause.  Their incomes, whether through low-waged or precarious work or government assistance programs, have not kept pace with the dramatic increase of rents, which have in large part risen because of financialization.  

Displacement, for example, occurs when investors buy affordable rental housing and to sell it to wealthier households.  Marginalized and low income families struggle to pay for the costs of moving and often are unable to find replacement affordable units in their neighbourhoods.  They are forced to leave their communities and children must move to new schools often losing friends and community supports.  Oftentimes, families find themselves in unsafe or overcrowded housing, they spend a disproportionate amount or even their entire paycheque on rent, or lose their housing entirely. This in turn affects their ability to keep a stable job, pay for basic needs, provide adequate food for their children, maintain their physical, mental and emotional health, friendships and community supports, and more.

Shockingly, some landlords have publicly stated their intentions of removing low and moderate-income tenants whom they deem “undesirable” from buildings they acquire, targeting buildings in gentrifying areas and intentionally displacing working-class tenants.[v]

Financialized landlords are those who perpetuate human rights violations in the interest of maximizing profits through illegal and unethical methods.  Northern Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (NP REIT), now Northview, is one example.  This company holds 74% and 85% of all privately initiated rental structures in Iqaluit and Yellowknife respectively.[vi] They have used their monopoly to influence rental rates, driving prices higher while reportedly neglecting services, allowing pest problems to fester in some buildings, and implementing exclusionary practices such as renting selectively (ie. not renting to income assistance recipients) and ‘blacklisting’ tenants.  Their business model focuses on renting to ‘creditworthy’ tenants.  In northern communities, this practice reinforces the socio-economic divide along income and Indigenous identity, where long-term housing contracts with government and corporations benefits renters from the Canadian south who travel to the north for work that is often well-paid.    Local Indigenous people and communities, who experience much higher rates of poverty, housing insecurity and homelessness are unable to access this housing supply.[vii] 

Human rights violations

Canada has an obligation to uphold the right to housing for children, but the federal government is falling far short of ensuring that right is realized.

Canada’s failure to ensure the right to housing for children is in violation of The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).  The CRC, ratified by Canada in 1991, outlines that states have a duty to assist those responsible for caring for children with housing.[viii]  The National Housing Strategy Act, passed in 2019, enshrined the right to housing for all in Canadian law. 

Campaign 2000 made two joint submissions in 2020 to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s review of federal progress towards implementing and upholding the CRC.  In both submissions, the poverty, the lack of adequate housing and the connection between the two challenges, particularly for marginalized groups, were highlighted as violations of the CRC.[ix] [x]

In May 2022 the Committee released concluding observations in which they stated they were ‘deeply concerned’ about discrimination of children from marginalized communities including Indigenous and Black children, children in different regions and territories, children with disabilities and migrant and racialized children.  Areas of concern included higher rates of poverty and structural discrimination with regards to their access to education, health and an adequate standard of living, including access to adequate housing.[xi]  The review noted that women and children are particularly vulnerable to housing insecurity due to a variety of reasons including family violence, a lack of affordable housing, low wages, under employment and low social assistance rates.  

On housing and homelessness for children, the committee recommends the government of Canada:

Strengthen measures, including time-lines and priorities to achieve its targets to end homelessness of children and to progressively guarantee all children from low-income families stable access to adequate and affordable long-term housing that provides physical safety, adequate space, protection against the threats to health and structural hazards, including cold, damp, heat and pollution, and accessibility for children with disabilities.[xii]

Campaign 2000 strongly recommends a rights-based approach to address the financialization of housing where purpose-built rental housing is not treated as a commodity that generates wealth for institutional investors.  Rather, purpose-built housing must be re-connected to its social function of providing a place to live in security, health and dignity.  Housing is a fundamental human right for children and families who are marginalized and living with low incomes. Targeted action is urgently required.  Campaign 2000 submits the following recommendations.

Recommendations

  • Recognize the human rights violations resulting from the financialization of purpose-built rental housing in Canada. The federal government must collaborate with provincial and territorial governments to ensure that unfair evictions, rent increases and service decreases are proscribed by provincial statutes and that accessible enforcement mechanisms are available to tenants.  Federal funding related to housing should be binding, requiring that these conditions be met and reported on.
  • Address the financialization of purpose-built rental housing and ensure the progressive realization of the right to adequate housing, including targeted action for low-income and marginalized children and families who experience disproportionate rates of poverty and housing insecurity. This will require the federal government to take a more active role in the rental housing market by increasing the production of social, cooperative and affordable housing. This could be partly financed through increased taxation on corporate profits related to purpose-built rental housing and taxing the increased value of such properties when they are inherited from previous generations.
  • Ensure that federally financed housing is affordable for low-income families and reflects the diverse needs of families with children from a range of cultures and with a range of abilities.
  • The federal government should establish standards that must be met to implement the right to housing and should tie funding to meeting these standards. There should also be a requirement that federal funding should not increase the financialization of housing.
  • Change affordability requirements in federal rental housing financing and co-investment funding to ensure that any supported housing development includes a sufficient number of units and a range of unit types that are affordable for, and meet the adequacy needs of, low-income families with children, defining ‘affordability’ at 30% of gross income. 
  • Take immediate action on the commitment to ending homelessness as part of Canada’s international human rights obligations. Reassess the definition of ‘chronic homelessness’ to capture the experiences of women and gender diverse people fleeing violence, immigrants, refugees, First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, families and youth. 
  • Eliminate inflows into homelessness by establishing a national framework with programs for extended care and support for youth in child welfare, in collaboration with First Voice Advocates, territories and provinces.

Conclusion

Campaign 2000: End Child and Family Poverty respectfully requests the National Housing Council to consider the arguments and evidence presented in this submission and to take appropriate action to protect and promote the right to adequate housing in relation to the financialization of purpose-built rental housing in Canada.

Sincerely,

Leila Sarangi, National Director
On behalf of Campaign 2000: End Child and Family Poverty


[i] The Shift.  (June 2022).  “The Shift Directives: From Financialized to Human Rights-Based Housing”.  https://make-the-shift.org/directives/

[ii] Campaign 2000.  Pandemic Lessons: Ending Child and Family Poverty is Possible. February 14, 2023. https://campaign2000.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/English-Pandemic-Lessons_Ending-Child-and-Family-Poverty-is-Possible_2022-National-Report-Card-on-Child-and-Family-Poverty.pdf

[iii] Ibid

[iv] [iv] Statistics Canada. Table 98-10-0328-01  Shelter-cost-to-income ratio by visible minority and immigrant status and period of immigration: Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations with parts. https://doi.org/10.25318/9810032801-eng

[v] Martine August (2020). The financialization of Canadian multi-family rental housing: From trailer to tower, Journal of Urban Affairs, 42:7, 975-997, https://herongatetenants.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/The-financialization-of-Canadian-multi-family-rental-housing-From-trailer-to-tower.pdf

[vi] Martine August (2020). The financialization of Canadian multi-family rental housing: From trailer to tower, Journal of Urban Affairs, 42:7, 975-997, https://herongatetenants.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/The-financialization-of-Canadian-multi-family-rental-housing-From-trailer-to-tower.pdf

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights. (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child. https://www.ohchr.org/en/instruments-mechanisms/instruments/convention-rights-child

[ix] Colour of Poverty Colour of Change et.al.  (March 2020).  Joint Submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child at its 87th Session and Review of the Fifth and Sixth Periodic Reports of Canada.  csalc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COPC-CRC-Report-FINAL-update.pdf

[x] Canada Without Poverty, Campaign 2000 and Citizens for Public Justice.  (February 2020).  Submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child: Reply to issues 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, & 142, and to articles 2, 4, 6, and 27.  rightsofchildren.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/FINAL-CWP-C2000-and-CPJ-Joint-Submission-to-the-Committee-on-the-Rights-of-the-Child.pdf

[xi] United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. (2022, June 9). Concluding observations on the combined fifth and sixth reports of Canada. https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/3978336?ln=en

[xii] Ibid.

Campaign 2000 has submitted a set of budget recommendations in advance of the release of the 2024 Federal Budget

Campaign 2000 has submitted a set of budget recommendations in advance of the release of the 2024 Federal Budget.  

We call on the Federal government to invest in childcare, affordable and accessible housing, equity, ending income inequality, clawbacks, and much more in order to eradicate child and family poverty. Download or read the full submission below.

Pre-Budget 2024 Submission, House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance

August 4, 2023

Recommendations:

  1. Remove growth restrictions and add binding conditions to the Canada Social Transfer ($2B).
  2. Reverse reductions to the CCB ($1.45B), retire CERB debt and implement a CERB Amnesty.
  3. Expand eligibility ($160M), enhance adequacy of the Canada Child Benefit ($5.9B).
  4. Implement an interim benefit for people with disabilities of working age, enhance adequacy of the Child Disability Benefit and create a Caregiver’s Benefit.
  5. Create a parallel cash transfer system for marginalized non-tax filers outside of the personal income tax system ($100M).
  6. Address growing income inequality and generate revenue for poverty reduction programing by eliminating tax loopholes, closing tax havens, taxing extreme wealth, making the personal income tax system more progressive and implementing an excess profit tax focused on corporate pandemic windfalls.
  7. Invest $10B for capital costs associated with increased demand for child care and $7B to support their workforce.
  8. Ensure that federally financed housing is affordable for low-income families and reflects the diverse needs of families with children.

Child and Family Poverty in Canada

Campaign 2000’s latest annual report card found record decreases in rates of child poverty in 2020 largely because of temporary pandemic measures including the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit and the one-time top up to the Canada Child Benefit.[i]  Although emergency pandemic income measures were not meant to be poverty reduction programs, that is the effect that they had, reducing child poverty rates by 4.2 percentage points between 2019 and 2020.   These benefits were so effective that the federally legislated target to reduce poverty by 50% by 2030 (measured from the base year 2015), was exceeded a decade early. 

Despite historic reductions, nearly one million children lived in poverty.  Child poverty rates continued to be disproportionately higher for groups who face systemic marginalization and discrimination including First Nations, Inuit, Métis, racialized, im/migrant, newcomer, children and families with disabilities, in lone mother led families, 2SLSGBTQI+ families, among others.

Temporary income supports have expired, and the cost of food, housing and basic needs continues to increase.  As low income families struggle with the affordability crisis and gaps in our support system, the federal government is seeking repayments for CERB and CRB recipients deemed ineligible.  Data released this year for 2021 confirms the expected rollback on progress made on poverty reduction.

The federal poverty reduction strategy is the mechanism through which Canada will achieve its commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals number one, which is to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” and to achieve a sustained 50% reduction in poverty by 2030.  The pandemic revealed that there is room for more ambitious targets in the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy.  Indeed, low income children and families cannot wait any longer.

Campaign 2000 strongly recommends the CPRS be strengthened with the goal of sustained reduction in overall poverty and poverty within marginalized communities who have higher rates of poverty by 50% between 2015 – 2026 based on the CFLIM-AT using tax filer data, by investing in the measures outlined here.

#1 Remove growth restrictions and add binding conditions to the Canada Social Transfer ($2B).

Investments into the CST could be better leveraged to support social and disability assistance adequacy by removing the arbitrary growth cap of 3%, investing an additional $2B and recognizing regional economic variations.  Bind funding with conditions including that benefit amounts be substantial enough to meet basic needs, child related benefits including spousal support, are not deducted, and requiring regular reporting from provinces and territories on how funds are advancing human rights obligations using disaggregated data and local indicators.  Require provinces and territories with unspent pandemic transfers, including clawbacks through social and disability recipients who received CERB and CRB, to invest those transfers into social assistance adequacy.

#2 Reverse reductions to the CCB (1.45B), retire CERB debt and implement a CERB Repayment Amnesty.

From 2021 to 2024 the federal government will spend $1.45 billion less on CCB payments because CERB and the CRB have been included in the CCB income test.[ii]  We recommend reversing these reductions and providing families with CCB repayments, as was done with the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

Low and no income earners are experiencing hardship and undue stress with post-verification eligibility and repayment processes years after the benefits were received.  These are individuals who applied in good faith, who were misinformed by changing eligibility requirements from CRA, were encouraged to apply by social workers and government officials or were mandated to apply by income assistance case managers.  Federal appeals processes demonstrate that the threshold for proving eligibility is unusually high.  Government is mis-characterizing benefits that contributed to the most significant year over year reduction in poverty rates as ‘overpayments’, ‘ineligibility’ and in some cases, ‘abuse’.   We recommend the federal government retire CERB and CRB debt and immediately cease pursuing repayment from low income individuals.

#3 Expand eligibility ($160M), enhance adequacy of the Canada Child Benefit ($5.9B).

Research by Campaign 2000 shows that the CCB is not able to sustain a continued reduction in child poverty without significant additional investment because it is not large enough to reach families in deep poverty.[iii]  For example, the average after-tax poverty gap[1] for a lone parent with two children (the largest of all family types in 2020) was $14,825 and the poverty rate for children growing up in low-income, lone-parent households (which are mostly female-led) was nearly 27% compared to the national average of 13.5%.[iv] 

Budget 2024 must increase investment and target funds to families who have been left in deep poverty.  We recommend the non-taxable End Poverty Supplement, which would provide an additional $8,500 per year to a family with an earned income of less than $19,000 for the first child.  Additional amounts would be provided for multiple children and the supplement would reduce at a rate of $0.50 for every additional dollar of income.  This supplement would have a dramatic effect on the rates of child poverty, reducing it from 11% to 3% with 369,000 fewer children in poverty, according to the Market Basket Measure in 2024.[v]

Ensure government transfers are accessible.  Repeal s.122.6(e) of the Income Tax Act that ties eligibility for the CCB to immigration status. Enable different government agencies to share information required for caregivers to access benefits, such as birth certificates.  Expand the circle of people able to attest to residency and ensure that kinship, customary care, and families caring for children outside a formal care arrangement have access to the CCB.

#4 Implement an interim benefit for people with disabilities of working age, enhance adequacy of the Child Disability Benefit and create a caregivers benefit.

The Canada Disability Act has passed but people with disabilities will have to wait until 2024 to see its implementation.  People with disabilities are twice as likely to live in poverty than those without disabilities.[vi]  We urgently recommend that an interim emergency benefit for people with disabilities be implemented immediately and ensure adequacy of the legislated Canada Disability Benefit.

Families with eligible children with disabilities will receive up to $3,173 for 2023-2024 tax year.  In 2019, the Minister of Disability Inclusion was given a mandate to double the Child Disability Benefit.  We support the recommendation from BC Complex Kids and other self-advocates of their recommendation to triple the Child Disability Benefit, and create a Caregivers Benefit for those who lose work hours to care for children with disabilities.

#5 Create a parallel cash transfer system for marginalized non-tax filers outside of the personal income tax system ($100M).

Campaign 2000 supports movement towards automatic tax filing.  However, not all vulnerable or systemically marginalized groups will benefit from such a program.  The Auditor General found that federal departments overestimate access to benefits and recommended developing a comprehensive action plan to reach people who are not accessing benefits.[vii]  We recommend an alternative direct cash transfer system to ensure income benefits reach those who need them most (i.e., most often those without a permanent address, those without citizenship status, and those who work in informal or cash-based economies). The federal government must look to other jurisdictions for best practices to deliver cash transfers, whether through prepaid reloadable credit cards or electronic transfers. Community organizations should be relied upon to provide these cash transfers because they are the most likely to be able to reach these populations.

#6 Address growing income inequality and generate revenue for poverty reduction programming by eliminating tax loopholes, closing tax havens, taxing extreme wealth, making the personal income tax system more progressive and implementing an excess profit tax focused on corporate pandemic windfalls.

Corporate profits reached record highs during the pandemic. In 2021, corporate after-tax profits totalled $435 billion, up from $332 billion in 2019.[viii]   The largest corporations in Canada reduced their effective tax rate to 15% through a myriad of tax loopholes despite a statutory tax rate of 26.5%[ix] and 9% of corporate tax revenue was lost because of tax havens.[x]  People living in poverty feel this injustice deeply.

#7 Invest $10 billion for capital costs associated with increased demand for child care and $7 billion to support the workforce.

The national childcare system has the potential to be a game changer for low income mothers and families.  Campaign 2000 recommends developing a $0-10/day maximum sliding scale fee per family (not child), decent work through competitive, equitable wage grids and improved benefits and working conditions, and ensuring infrastructure investments are tied to community benefit agreements.  We support these recommendations from Child Care Now, including the call for governments to ensure First Nations, Métis and Inuit rights and jurisdiction are respected throughout the childcare system-building.

#8 Ensure that federally financed housing is affordable for low-income families and reflects the diverse needs of families with children.

Change affordability requirements in federal rental housing financing and co-investment funding to ensure that any supported housing development includes a sufficient number of units and a range of unit types that are affordable for, and meet the adequacy needs of, low-income families with children, defining ‘affordability’ at 30% of gross income.

Take immediate action on the commitment to ending homelessness as part of Canada’s international human rights obligations. Reassess the definition of ‘chronic homelessness’ to capture the experiences of women and gender diverse people fleeing violence, immigrants, refugees, First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, families and youth. 

Eliminate inflows into homelessness by establishing a national framework with programs for extended care and support for youth in child welfare, in collaboration with First Voice Advocates, territories and provinces.

Endnotes


[1] This is the amount that a family’s income falls below the CFLIM-AT measure.


[i] Campaign 2000.  Pandemic Lessons: Ending Child and Family Poverty is Possible. February 14, 2023. https://campaign2000.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/English-Pandemic-Lessons_Ending-Child-and-Family-Poverty-is-Possible_2022-National-Report-Card-on-Child-and-Family-Poverty.pdf

[ii] Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer.  The Impact of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Three Canada Recovery Benefits on the Canada Child Benefit Program.  June 8, 2022.  https://www.pbo-dpb.ca/en/publications/RP-2223-007-M–impact-canada-emergency-response-benefits-three-canada-recovery-benefits-canada-child-benefit-progra–incidence-prestations-canadiennes-urgence-trois-prestations-canadiennes-relance-economique-programme

[iii] Campaign 2000.  Pandemic Lessons: Ending Child and Family Poverty is Possible. February 14, 2023. https://campaign2000.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/English-Pandemic-Lessons_Ending-Child-and-Family-Poverty-is-Possible_2022-National-Report-Card-on-Child-and-Family-Poverty.pdf

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives.  Alternative Federal Budget 2024.  Forthcoming.

[vi] Disability Without Poverty, Campaign 2000, and Family Service Toronto.  Disability Poverty In Canada: A 2023 Report Card.  June 2, 2023.  https://www.disabilitywithoutpoverty.ca/2023-disability-poverty-report-card/

[vii] Office of the Auditor General of Canada.  Report 1: Access to Benefits for Hard-to-Reach Populations. Reports of the Auditor General of Canada to the Parliament of Canada.  May 1, 2022, https://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_202205_01_e_44033.html

[viii] Statistics Canada. Table 36-10-0117-01: Undistributed corporation profits (x 1,000,000). 2023.  https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/cv.action?pid=3610011701

[ix] Cochrane, D. T.. Unaccountable: How did Canada lose $30 billion to corporations? Canadians for Tax Fairness.  October 2022. https://www.taxfairness.ca/sites/default/files/2022-10/oct-2022-tax-gap-report_0.pdf

[x] Torslov, T., Wier, L., & Zucman, G. (2022). Close to 40% of multinational profits are shifted to tax havens each year. https://missingprofits.world/

Submission to the Comprehensive Review of the Official Poverty Line

Statistics Canada is undertaking their third comprehensive review of the Official Poverty Line, the Market Basket Measure, or MBM.  Campaign 2000 was invited to make a submission to help identify themes and issues to guide their review.  Campaign 2000’s position is that the MBM is too narrow of a definition of poverty, excludes many who have higher rates of poverty and results in poverty rates that appear lower than what is experienced in communities.  You can read the full submission here.

Pandemic lessons: Ending child and family poverty is possible

Campaign 2000 releases its annual report card on child and family poverty, Pandemic Lessons: Ending Child and Family Poverty is Possible. The report shows that during a global pandemic, rates of child poverty in Canada were reduced by a record 40%.  Using tax filer data from 2020, the latest available, this report card finds that child poverty fell to 13.5%, down from 17.7% the previous year.  That is the largest year over year drop since the federal government promised to end child poverty in 1989, and is largely a result of temporary pandemic benefits.  These benefits have all been retracted and this progress is unlikely to be sustained in the future. The federal government must take action to maintain and build on these gains in poverty reduction.  

This year’s national report card focuses on changes to income security measures, the need for decent work for all and the role of childcare in supporting low-income families.  It draws on data from focus groups and community conversations across the country to share the experiences of the real people who often get lost behind the numbers and emphasizes the need for trauma-informed and rights-based policy solutions to address the inequities of child and family poverty in this country.   

This report offers more than 50 recommendations on poverty reduction measures that cover inequality, income security, decent work, childcare, housing and public health. The pandemic, government response and significant reduction in poverty rates demonstrated that child poverty is a policy choice, not an economic inevitability.  These recommendations offer the opportunity to build on the progress of 2020 and make the choices necessary to end child and family poverty.    

Key Findings from the 2022 National Report Card: 

  • Nearly one million, or more than 1 in 8 children, are growing up with the short- and long-term physical, mental, emotional, economic and social harms of poverty.   
  • Child poverty declined in every region across Canada.   
  • Government transfers can end poverty.  Without temporary pandemic benefits, 1.5 million children would have been living in poverty or nearly 21% 
  • Child and family poverty disproportionately affects marginalized communities: For racialized children, it was 15.1%. For children in lone-parent families led by women, it was 29.7%. For First Nations children living on reserve, it was 37.4%. 

Want to read more? 

Click on the following links to read and download the 2022 report cards.  

English National Report Card, Infographic and Press Release 

French National Report Card and Press Release 

Check out the provincial and territorial report cards as they become available: 

British Columbia Report Card and Press Release

Alberta Report Card  and Press Release

Manitoba Report Card and Press Release

Nova Scotia Report Card and Press Release

Ontario Report Card, Interactive Maps of Child Poverty in Ontario, Press Release in English and French  

New Brunswick Report Card and Press Release 

Prince Edward Island Report Card and Press Release

Newfoundland and Labrador Summary of Report Card and Press Release

Yukon Poverty Report Card