Warning From Campaign 2000 to Federal Parties: High Child Poverty Rates Threaten Social Fabric of Canada’s Cities

Toronto, Ontario –(Sept. 29, 2008) – Citing disturbing census data on high child and family poverty rates in major Canadian cities, the national anti-poverty coalition, Campaign 2000, today urged all federal party leaders to commit to a Poverty Reduction Strategy for Canada.The 2006 Census shows that in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver one out of every four children lives in poverty. In Winnipeg, St. John’s and Victoria, one in every five children lives in poverty, and for Edmonton, Hamilton and Saskatoon the rate is one in every six. Across Canada, the child poverty rate was 13.1% in 2005 or 880,000 children and youth.

“Child and family poverty in Canada has remained high during a time of unprecedented economic prosperity. This will only get worse if the effects of the financial meltdown in the US ripple into Canada’s economy,” said Laurel Rothman, National Coordinator of Campaign 2000.

“We’ve analyzed the party platforms and found that all parties except for the Conservative Party have plans for poverty reduction in their platforms.”

“Poverty rates are highest for Aboriginal People with 40% of urban Aboriginal children living in poverty. It’s a crisis in waiting. Poverty affects the health of our communities and the future prosperity of our nation. As Canadians head to the ballot box we face an important choice about the kind of Canada that we want in the 21st century,” said Geraldine King, from the National Association of Friendship Centres.

“We know that poverty rates are disproportionately high for children from racialized families. They are more likely to live in low-income communities in our cities. We need to have a Poverty Reduction Strategy with a strong equity component that ensures equal opportunity for all of our children,” commented Dr. Grace Edward Galabuzi, Professor at Ryerson University and Steering Committee member of Colour of Poverty.

“We know it can be done – northern European countries have child poverty rates below 5%. Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and Nova Scotia are all working on poverty reduction plans. But the missing link is an active federal government role,” said Marvyn Novick, Professor Emeritus, Ryerson University. “That’s why this federal election is so important – we need Canada’s next federal government to commit to a plan to reduce poverty levels by at least 25% over the next 5 years.”

To view a full copy of the Campaign 2000 Election Statement and the grid summarizing party platforms on poverty, visit www.campaign2000.ca .

Campaign 2000 is a non partisan cross Canada coalition of over 120 organizations committed to ending child & family poverty in Canada.

For more information, please contact

Campaign 2000
Laurel Rothman
National Coordinator
416-595-9230 x 228
416-575-9230

or
National Association of Friendship Centres
Geraldine King
613-563-4844 x 328
613-296-6234

or
Dr. Grace-Edward Galabuzi
Professor, Ryerson University
416-979-5000 x 6189
416-706-4955

or
Marvyn Novick
Professor Emeritus, Ryerson University,
and co-founder of Campaign 2000
416-534-7982

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