More work needed to reduce child poverty.OTTAWA
Just under 16 per cent of Canadian Canadian (kənā`dēən), river, 906 mi (1,458 km) long, rising in NE New Mexico. and flowing E across N Texas and central Oklahoma into the Arkansas River in E Oklahoma. children--more than one million--live in poverty. Among Aboriginal children living off-reserve, that percentage jumps to 40 per cent. These staggering figures are only part of the story told by a recent report by Campaign 2000, a nonpartisan non·par·ti·san
Based on, influenced by, affiliated with, or supporting the interests or policies of no single political party: a nonpartisan commission; nonpartisan opinions. organization formed in 1991 to build public awareness and support in the fight to eliminate child poverty and to remind all elected officials of their responsibility in that fight.
One Million Too Many--Implementing Solutions to Child Poverty in Canada--2004 Report Card on Child Poverty in Canada, was released on Nov. 24, the 15th anniversary of the unanimous passing of an all party resolution in the House of Commons House of Commons: see Parliament. to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000. The report states that not only is the government not making significant progress in reaching its goal, it is actually losing ground. After five straight years of declining numbers, the poverty rate among children actually increased in 2002. And, despite a commitment to deal with the problem from all parties at the federal level, the number of children in poverty is higher now than it was in 1989 when the resolution was passed.
The government doesn't get any passing grades in the Campaign 2000 report card, which indicates the situation is either remaining static or worsening wors·en
tr. & intr.v. wors·ened, wors·en·ing, wors·ens
To make or become worse.
Noun 1. worsening - process of changing to an inferior state
decline in quality, deterioration, declension for families with children. One-third of all children in the country have been exposed to poverty for at least one year since 1996, the report states. The poverty rate among couples with children has remained unchanged, sitting at 10 per cent. On average, low income couples with children would need to earn $9,000 more a year just to reach the poverty line.
The situation is worsening for single mothers with children. More than half of all single mothers and their children live well below the poverty line and would need to earn, on average, another $8,800 a year to even reach that indicator.
The report card shows no progress in closing the gap between the rich and poor, and food bank usage at an all-time high. It also points to child poverty rates among Aboriginal, immigrant, visible minority and disabled children at more than double the national average.
Almost half of the children living in poverty are in families where at least one of the parents works full-time, year round, but still isn't able to earn enough to rise above the poverty line.
The situation is compounded for Aboriginal people, who continue to face barriers that keep them unemployed or underemployed un·der·em·ployed
1. Employed only part-time when one needs and desires full-time employment.
2. Inadequately employed, especially employed at a low-paying job that requires less skill or training than one possesses. . According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. figures plucked pluck
v. plucked, pluck·ing, plucks
1. To remove or detach by grasping and pulling abruptly with the fingers; pick: pluck a flower; pluck feathers from a chicken. from the 2001 census, Aboriginal people are less likely to find employment than the general population and when they do find employment, they are likely to be paid less--two-thirds of the average wage any given position.
Among the recommendations made in the report to improve the situation for Canada's working poor is an increase in the minimum wage to $10 an hour. Currently the minimum wage varies from province to province and territory to territory, from a high of $8.50 per hour in Nunavut, to a low of $5.90 per hour in Alberta, for an average of about $7 per hour. Revamping the Employment Insurance system to make it easier for a person to qualify when they are out of work is another recommendation, as is finding ways to eliminate barriers that prevent excluded groups--including Aboriginal people-from finding meaningful employment.
The report also calls for creation of an effective child benefit system, with an increase in the benefits available per child, and an end to the practice of denying federal child benefits to families receiving social assistance. It also speaks to the need for a strong, universal system of early learning and child care to provide children with learning opportunities early in life and parents with child care so they can work or attend training to increase their employment options.
Access to affordable housing is another piece of the puzzle “Puzzle solving” redirects here. For the concept in Thomas Kuhn's philosophy of science, see normal science.
A puzzle is a problem or enigma that challenges ingenuity. . According to the report, 20 per cent of families with children live in housing that isn't affordable. Among low income families that number jumps to 68 per cent. To be considered affordable the cost of keeping a roof over your head must take up 30 per cent or less of your total income.
The Campaign 2000 report also recommends the federal government improve access to post-secondary education by freezing or lowering tuition For tuition fees in the United Kingdom, see .
Tuition means instruction, teaching or a fee charged for educational instruction especially at a formal institution of learning or by a private tutor usually in the form of one-to-one tuition. and increasing student aid funding.
While the Campaign 2000 report card doesn't give the federal government high marks, the government itself doesn't rate its performance much higher when it comes to meeting its commitment to Canada's Aboriginal people. In Canada's Performance 2004, released by the Treasury Board on Dec. 2, the government admits it has made some progress addressing the socio-economic problems facing Aboriginal people, much more remains to be done. The number of Aboriginal people graduating from high school has increased but is still far below the numbers for non-Aboriginal people. According to the report, 58 per cent of First Nations people age 20 to 24 living on reserve and 41 per cent off reserve haven't completed high school. Thirty-two per cent of Metis Metis (mē`tĭs), in astronomy, one of the 39 known moons, or natural satellites, of Jupiter.
goddess of caution and discretion. [Rom. Myth.: Wheeler, 242]
See : Prudence people and 54 per cent of Inuit people in that age group don't have their high school diploma A high school diploma is a diploma awarded for the completion of high school. In the United States and Canada, it is considered the minimum education required for government jobs and higher education. An equivalent is the GED. .
The Treasury Board report also points to an unemployment rate among Aboriginal people two-and-a-half times that of the non-Aboriginal population, and an average income almost 40 per cent lower than the average. Just under 42 per cent of Aboriginal people living in urban areas are considered low income, the report states.
There is no quick fix to the problem of child poverty in Canada, but according to Peter Dinsdale, ensuring children get a good education is an important part of the solution. Dinsdale is executive director of the National Association of Friendship Centres, one of the partners in Campaign 2000.
Dinsdale calls the low levels of education attainment among Aboriginal people an epidemic epidemic, outbreak of disease that affects a much greater number of people than is usual for the locality or that spreads to regions where it is ordinarily not present. , and questions the government's lack of commitment to do something about it.
"There's virtually no action on a national basis to help our kids finish high school and to give them a meaningful start to address child poverty in a generational way. And that's the kind of stuff that has to occur," he said.
"With our kids, I mean, they aren't even graduating from high school. So where are they going to be 10 years from now? And they're going to start to have kids. And what kinds of conditions are those kids going to be living in? I believe the greatest thing we can do is make sure our kids finish high school."
The Campaign 2000 report highlights the fact that programs aimed at creating affordable housing, providing early childhood development programs and increasing the amount paid in child tax benefits have all been provento reduce child poverty, but the political will to take such actions doesn't seem to exist, Dinsdale said.
"When you consider that over half of all Aboriginal people live in urban centres, half of all our people are under the age of 25, and half of all our people don't graduate from high school, that's a recipe for disaster. And if not now, then when? I don't know."
BY CHERYL PETTEN