Campaign 2000 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada, 2015



A climate of renewed hope and optimism provides Canada with an important opportunity to close the book on its greatest failure. With decades of research and evidence to guide us, we must now muster the resolve to end child and family poverty for good.

Campaign 2000 has consistently stated that child poverty is not inevitable, but that it is a result of choices. Federal politicians pledged to end child poverty in 1989, 2009 and 2015; but it continues to deprive over 1.34 million children of their only childhood. Choosing to allow child poverty to continue forces children to endure hunger, deprivation and exclusion, and compromises their health and life chances. Choosing to reduce Canada’s fiscal capacity rather than to invest in social programs exacerbates inequality. Choosing to cast away almost 1 in 5 children to poverty deprives Canada of the richness of their full contributions.

Campaign 2000 recognizes the significant poverty reduction potential of the commitments from the new federal government. The government’s planned leadership role in creating a national poverty reduction strategy, long a top priority for Campaign 2000, presents a once in a generation opportunity: children left waiting by the 1989 promise to end child poverty by the year 2000 never saw a plan to eliminate child poverty materialize. Therefore, we implore the government to demonstrate its political will by including poverty reduction targets and timelines in its strategy.

This report draws upon research, evidence and the voices of people in poverty in its recommendations in order to maximize the child and family poverty reduction potential of the government’s commitments to date. Eradicating child poverty requires persistent targeted investments, sound research and a commitment to equity to ensure children have equal opportunities to realize equal futures.

After decades of waiting, we have the opportunity to eradicate child and family poverty in Canada – let’s do this right.


Campaign 2000: End Child and Family Poverty in Canada, through its diverse network of partners, recommends:

• The Government of Canada ensure that its federal action plan to eradicate poverty includes both targets and timelines and is developed in consultation with provincial and territorial governments, Aboriginal governments and organizations, non-governmental organizations and people living in poverty. The plan must be secured in legislation and identify key roles for all levels of government and recognize the particularities of how Québec pursues social policy in the Canadian context.

• Adopt the internationally comparable Low Income Measure-After Tax as Canada’s official income poverty line to track progress or lack thereof against poverty.

• That the new Canada Child Benefit design reduces the child poverty rate by 50% in 5 years. In addition, the federal government should enter into agreements with the provinces and territories that will ensure that no claw backs are permitted on any portion of the CCB from social assistance benefits.

• A plan to prevent, reduce and eventually eradicate child and family poverty in Indigenous1 families developed in conjunction with Indigenous organizations. In order to ensure jurisdictional disputes do not compromise the expedience of providing for the health and well-being of Indigenous children, implement Jordan’s Principle2 immediately.

• The federal government must increase funding for the Canada Social Transfer, remove arbitrary growth restrictions, provide sufficient, stable and predictable funding that recognizes regional economic variations, and ensure that both federal and provincial governments are accountable for meeting their human rights obligations to provide adequate income support for all low income Canadians who are without other adequate means of support.

• Enhance Employment Insurance to expand access, duration and levels of benefits. Reduce the number of qualifying hours to 360 for all workers and enhance benefit levels over a longer benefit period of 50 weeks.

• Enact proactive strategies, including employment equity in the public and private sectors, and a sensible training strategy accessible to those not on EI to level the playing field for racialized communities and other historically disadvantaged groups.

• A national ECEC program, led by the federal government and developed collaboratively with provinces/territories and Indigenous communities, which includes a well-developed policy framework based on the principles of universality, high quality and comprehensiveness, and is guided by targets and timelines.

• In the short term, an emergency fund of $500 million in federal transfer payments earmarked for regulated child care to provinces/territories and Indigenous communities while further details about long-term funding are worked out.

• Enhance extended maternity/parental leave benefits. These benefits should include all new parents (adoptive, student, trainee, self-employed parents, part-time and casual workers) be more flexible and should include a secondary caregiver benefit.

• A comprehensive national housing strategy reflecting the needs of local communities and First Nations in partnership with provinces, territories, municipalities, First Nations, the non-profit sector and the private sector. The strategy requires affordable housing targets for specific populations including low income families and others with high levels of core housing need. It should be paired with a long-term funding commitment to create and retain existing affordable housing and to support capital repairs.

• Address growing income inequality by restoring fairness to the personal income taxation system and re-introducing the principle of taxation based on ability to pay.

Download Campaign 2000 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada, 2015


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