News and Events

Is Progress on Ending Child Poverty Stalling?

Today, Campaign 2000 releases its annual report on child and family poverty, Beyond the Pandemic: Rising Up for a Canada Free of Poverty. New findings show that prior to the pandemic, over 1,330,000 children in Canada lived in poverty, and the child poverty rate declined less than half a percentage point between 2017-2018 from 18.6% to 18.2%. Nearly 1 in 5 children continue to experience the harsh long-term consequences that poverty and discrimination have on social, mental and physical health and well-being.

Of concern, the report finds that child poverty rates grew in several provinces and territories, including Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Manitoba, and remained relatively unchanged in Alberta, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan.  The rates declined modestly in Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario, Yukon and Northwest Territories.  Examining the role of the Canada Child Benefit, we find that it had an important impact in the year it was first introduced, but the deteriorating effect on child poverty rates suggests that this impact was front-ended and waning.  

Longstanding economic inequality and social and health inequalities have impacted the ability of many vulnerable families to weather the pandemic. Systemic discrimination, widespread precarious work, dismally inadequate social assistance rates, barriers to accessing government transfers, lack of available and affordable housing, childcare, medicare, and little movement towards true Reconciliation have left children and their families vulnerable to the negative health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic and excluded from emergency responses.

With today’s report, Campaign 2000 releases a set of recommendations designed for the federal government to address longstanding inequities head on. Recommendations include emphasis on collaboration with First Nations, Inuit and Métis governments and organizations, targeted action to reduce poverty in communities marginalized by race, gender, ability and other equity dimensions with investments and policy reforms on income security, childcare, housing, youth, public health, decent work, and income inequality. These recommendations will ensure that all vulnerable families are included in short-term and long-term recovery efforts. Today’s report is launched alongside provincial and, for the first time ever, territorial report cards in Yukon and the Northwest Territories, highlighting that poverty is a national issue, impacting the lives of children and families from coast to coast to coast.

Select key Findings from the 2020 National Report Card, Beyond the Pandemic: Rising Up for a Canada Free of Poverty

  • Nearly 1 in 5 children lived in poverty (1,337,570 or 18.2%) in Canada in 2018.
  • The national child poverty rate declined by less than half a percentage point between 2017 to 2018, from 18.6% to 18.2%, representing 19,410 children fewer children in poverty.
  • Poverty rates increased between 2017 to 2018 in several jurisdictions: Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Manitoba.
  • The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) had a significant impact on child poverty rates the year it was implemented, but this lack of progress suggests that benefits were front-ended and short lived. In 2018, the CCB protected 662,080 from falling into poverty.
  • 1.2 million children were food insecure in 2017-2018, representing the highest number recorded since food insecurity monitoring began in Canada. The CCB has been shown to reduce severe food insecurity in families.
  • Well-designed government transfers can reduce poverty. In 2018, total government transfers reduced the child poverty rate from 33.1% to 18.2%, reflecting a difference of over one million fewer children living in poverty. But transfers alone are not enough.
  • Canada must aim to reduce poverty by 50% according to the CFLIM-AT calculated by taxfiler data by the year 2025 and must ensure the same rate of reduction for marginalized communities where prevalence is higher.
  • Pandemic recovery is dependent on the creation of a well-resourced, publicly funded universal childcare system, eliminating fee subsidy systems that create barriers to access for low-income families.
  • Access to adequate housing is key to maintaining public health. Substantial new investments are needed that meet the needs of diverse communities, and that fulfill the federal governments human rights obligations and gender-based plus (GBA+) commitments of the National Housing Strategy.
  • Now is the time to implement universal pharmacare with new legislation and an initial investment of a $3.5 billion annual pharmacare transfer to the provinces and territories with the condition of providing universal public coverage of essential medicines, with a shift to full pharmacare over 5 years.
  • Economic fallout from the pandemic has affected already vulnerable workers and shone a light on abysmally poor labour standards. Canada must immediately implement $15/hr minimum wage; legislate paid sick days; lengthen the duration and improve access to emergency measures; strengthen the Employment Equity Act and attach Community Benefit Agreements; and reform Employment Insurance over the longer-term.

Click on the following links to read and download the new report cards as they become available.

Check out the provincial report cards on child poverty:

Fiscal update leaves some vulnerable families behind

TORONTO – The federal fall economic statement released yesterday provides some needed support for families hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. It recognizes a myriad of ways in which vulnerable groups have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and subsequent emergency responses, which has shown us how clearly public health cannot be separated from a healthy economy. It calls for an intersectional, feminist and green recovery as the way to rebuild a new thriving future state in which no one is left behind.

Campaign 2000: End Child and Family poverty reacts to three areas in the fall economic statement:

Supports for Families

There are important new investments to the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) – four tax-free payments of up to $1,200 for children under six available to families eligible for the CCB to be delivered in 2021. As well, quarterly payments of $300 will be paid for each child under the age of six who is receiving the Children’s Special Allowance.

Families with young children have experienced disproportionate job loss and these temporary measures will provide some needed relief. But CCB investments need to be permanent increases, and work to bring families with children up to the Census Family Low Income Measure, After Tax as a target. Families with middle years and older children as well as children with disabilities need extra supports. They are currently left out of this plan, as are those with precarious immigration status who still cannot access these benefits.

Additional funding and accountability measures through the Canada Social Transfer are required to similarly support single individuals, particularly those depending on social and disability assistance, which remains well below poverty the poverty line in every province and territory.

Early Learning and Child Care

The federal government’s two-step plan to create a Canada-wide system of early learning and child care begins with the creation of the Federal Secretariat and continues with the implementation of the plan in the upcoming federal budget. Recognizing the need for a Canada-wide system of childcare to support women’s re-entry into the labour market, there are commitments to fund a Federal Secretariat on Early Learning and Childcare with $20 million over five years as well as investments to sustain the existing Indigenous Early Learning and Childcare Secretariat. The $7.5 billion committed in 2016 and 2017 budgets over 11 years is proposed to become permanent instead of ending in 2027-2028 by providing $870 million per year and ongoing, starting in 2028-29. Of this amount, $210 million would support Indigenous early learning and child care programming.

Permanent funding with allocations for Indigenous early learning and child care programs are very important, but funding levels fall well below what is required. Child Care Now has advocated for a 2021-2022 budget allocation for early learning and child care of an additional $2 billion to address the impact of the pandemic and strengthen the sectors capacity to serve families. The $420 million allocated for training of early childhood educators is an important recognition of the essential nature of the workforce and its major contribution to quality service. It is critical that the work of the Early Learning Secretariat begins immediately so that implementation moves forward with the provinces and territories.

Homelessness

The fall economic statement reiterates the promise from the September Throne Speech to end chronic homelessness and invest $1 billion into the Rapid Housing Initiative through the Reaching Home Strategy to create 3,000 units across the country.

The definition of homelessness in this policy must be expanded to include the experiences of children and families experiencing homelessness including women, trans, gender non-conforming people fleeing violence, immigrants and refugees, Indigenous women, girls and Two Spirit Peoples. There is currently no plan to ensure that that the Gender Based Plus (GBA+) commitments to allocate at a minimum 25% of resources through the National Housing Strategy are applied to the Rapid Housing Initiative, which would help women, gender diverse people and their dependents who are in immediate need. Targeted supports are required for communities over-represented in the homeless population, including youth with child welfare experience and Indigenous Peoples. Funding for wraparound supports to address complex needs and help people stay housed are also needed as part of this initiative.

Deeply affordable and safe housing is critical to build resilience against public health crises. It is also key to supporting an intersectional, feminist and green economy. Adequate housing is linked to job retention for marginalized women and low income families, and the development of new sustainable green supply can create decent work with community benefits agreements as we further our climate commitments.

For more information, please contact:

Leila Sarangi, National Coordinator, Campaign 2000
C: 647.393.1097
E: leilasa@familyservicetoronto.org

Download the media release here.

C2000’s 6 Principles to Guide Basic Income Design

The concept of Basic Income is front and centre once again in policy and advocacy circles, and interest in BI is gaining across the country. While critics and proponents of Basic Income alike discuss program design and financing options, few have spoken about principles that should guide the design of a Basic Income. If anti-poverty advocates aren’t clear on these principles, we are unlikely to get the basic income we want.

Basic Income must move and keep families out of poverty, and it must be supported by a web of accompanying policies to end discrimination and income inequity. In 2016, when Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot was being designed, Campaign 2000 developed 6 guiding principles which provide an anti-poverty framework through which to assess any BI program. These foundational principles are:

  • Poverty Eradication
  • Inclusive Access
  • Ongoing Targeted Supports
  • Strong Public Services
  • Ending Structural Inequities
  • Better Wages for Workers  

In order for BI to successfully accelerate the reduction in poverty, and ensure dignity for all who are living in low income, these principles must be considered foundational architecture in the design of any BI program.

Read C2000’s 6 Principles to Guide Basic Income Design

Basic Income 6 Principles

Note: These principles were originally published in a chapter which was part of a compendium released in October 2016 by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Ontario Office entitled, “Basic Income: Rethinking Social Policy.”, edited by Alex Himelfarb and Trish Hennessy. The full compendium can be found at: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/basic-income.

2021 Pre-Budget Submission

On August 7, Campaign 2000 submitted its priorities for the 2021 federal budget, with a focus on a COVID recovery plan.  The submission states that experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic have laid bare inequities, are amplifying inequality and bringing to light the inadequacies of our social and economic infrastructure to support families in crisis. The road to recovery must not lead us back to what we knew as ‘normal’. That status quo left far too many behind. We must use this opportunity to reimagine a just, equitable, inclusive society, which is both good for the economy and is the right thing to do. Eradicating poverty is undoubtedly essential to promoting Canada’s economic growth (Conference Board of Canada) while promoting population health, enhancing social cohesion and enabling fuller social and economic participation of all. To achieve this, we must invest in policies that equalize outcomes for families and children, including income benefits, Reconciliation, ELCC and housing for all.

Read the recommendations and full submission.

Groups call for CERB repayment amnesty

Campaign 2000, along with members of the National and Ontario Steering Committees and organizations from coast to coast to coast, calls for repayment amnesty for recipients of CERB living in low income. In order to avoid pushing people living in low income further into debt and further away from the tax system through which crucial government benefits are delivered, C2000 has provided specific recommendations on the federal government’s treatment of recipients of CERB who are living in low income and who have been deemed ineligible to receive the benefit.

The recommendations, submitted to both the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology and the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, call for a human-rights based approach towards all who have accessed emergency benefits in order to cover basic expenses at a time of heightened need. The recommendations call specifically for repayment amnesty based on annual total income and family size, and for an end to calls for penalization for anyone who received CERB and is deemed ineligible. Read the submission.

FST & C2000 joint statement on anti-Black racism

Family Service Toronto and Campaign 2000 nation-wide release a joint statement denouncing all forms of anti-Black racism, colonialism and white supremacy.   As organizations working directly in the areas of mental health and poverty eradication, we know that Black and Indigenous communities have much worse health outcomes and exponentially higher rates of poverty than white Canadians and that this is a both a result of and a strategy to maintain systemic oppression.  We have a responsibility to ensure that our work in these areas contributes to ending anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, which cannot be done without critical self-reflection, education and dialogue.

Read the full statement and recommendations.

Read the media release.

British Columbia – First Call: Child And Youth Advocacy Coalition

Alberta – Edmonton Social Planning Council

Saskatchewan – University of Regina

Manitoba Social Planning Council of Winnipeg

Ontario – Ontario Campaign 2000

New Brunswick – Human Development Council

Nova Scotia – CCPA office in Nova Scotia

Prince Edward Island – MacKillop Centre for Social Justice and the PEI Coalition for a Poverty Eradication Strategy

More action required for children

Campaign 2000: End child and family poverty in Canada, along with over 250  groups and individuals across the country sent a letter today calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal COVID Cabinet Committee to ensure children living in poverty from marginalized communities are central to the pandemic response and recovery plan. 

Written by the Campaign 2000 Steering Committee and endorsed by partners from across the country, the letter sets out a suite of immediate and longer-term policy solutions and fiscal investments to ensure that low-income children and families have the supports they need to survive the pandemic and thrive in the recovery.

Campaign 2000, the groups and individuals endorsing the letter propose a robust and bold plan of action.  It includes better investments and universal access to income supports, social infrastructure that prioritizes building and maintaining affordable, public childcare and housing systems as key to economic recovery efforts, and progressive tax measures to mitigate deepening inequality while generating revenue for COVID-related and poverty reduction expenditures.

Read the letter in full in English and in French.  Read our media release in English and French.

C2000 Manitoba releases report

Today Campaign 2000 partners in Manitoba release their annual report card on the state of child and family poverty, Broken Promise Stolen Futures: Child and Family Poverty in Manitoba, where 1 out of every 6 children living in a two-parent family live in poverty, and 1 out of every 1.6 children living in a single parent family lives in poverty. This report finds that even with the federal Canada Child Benefit and using both the federal and provincial governments’ preferred and more forgiving poverty measure, the Market Basket Measure, Manitoba ranks 4th in both overall as well as child poverty in 2016. In 2018, there was an increase of 7% in overall poverty and 19% increase in child poverty. The report demonstrates that at this rate it will take 697.5 years to end child poverty in Manitoba.

Click here to download the media release and full report.

Minister speaks at C2000 conference

Today, Honourable Minister Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development, attended the C2000 National Strategy Conference to share some words about his work on housing, the Canada Child Benefit, intergovernmental collaboration, and other poverty reduction initiatives.

Minister Hussen fielded questions on a range of issues including the Multilateral Early Learning and Childcare Framework, the high rate of poverty in FN, Inuit and Métis communities and decisions around measurement, and the inaccessibility of the CCB which contributes to poverty among refugee families and children.

The Minister spoke to these questions as well as a need for policy and investment in off-reserve housing for Indigenous people, and the potential for basic income pilots across the country.

Campaign 2000 supporters made it clear that high quality, affordable, accessible childcare, and the reduction of high poverty rates among racialized and Indigenous children, must be prioritized across policy areas within the Minister’s portfolio.

Campaign 2000 looks forward to continuing to work with the Minister and the federal government on implementing the recommendations in the National Report Card released in January, and achieving forward movement on the goal of eliminating child and family poverty.

Campaign 2000, co-ordinated by Family Service Toronto, is a non-partisan coalition of 120 groups and individuals committed to ending child poverty.

Campaign 2000’s New National Report Card on Child and Family Poverty Sets the Stage for a Poverty-Free Canada

In 1989, all federally represented parties voted unanimously in the House of Commons to end child poverty by the year 2000.  After the passing of this resolution, rates of child poverty continued to rise before they decreased.  Thirty years later, there are over 1.35 million children living in poverty with their families in Canada today and income inequality, the gap between the rich and poor, has grown to unjustifiable heights.

We have missed the opportunity to end poverty for a whole generation of children.

Released on January 14, 2020, the national report card, 2020: Setting the Stage for a Poverty-Free Canada,” provides a current snapshot of child and family poverty in the country and demonstrates the need for continued efforts to eradicate child and family poverty.
As we begin a new decade under the mandate of a new minority government, we are provided with the opportunity for collaboration on the shared goal of ending poverty for all.  We cannot afford to miss another generation of children.

The national report card is released in coordination with several provincial report cards from our partners in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island. Winnipeg partners will release their provincial report card at the end of January and Ontario partners at the end of February.

Click on the following links to read and download the new report cards as they become available.

Check out the provincial report cards on child poverty: