Report aims to put poverty on the agenda in federal election campaign

Arafa Ahmada and her three children, Manaal, 13, Malik, 11 and Mahbeer, 9, among the 39 per cent of families living in poverty in Toronto Centre, the urban riding with the second-highest rate of child poverty in the country.

Child and family poverty has dropped significantly across Canada since 2015, but a new report shows the problem persists in all 338 federal ridings, with First Nations and recent immigrant children impacted the most.

“The latest data continue to paint a stark portrait of inequality with high- and low-income families living in close proximity while divided by wide social and economic gaps that leave too many children hungry, sick and stressed,” says the report by Campaign 2000, a national, non-partisan coalition committed to ending child poverty.

“Every community, every candidate and all political parties have a stake in the eradication of poverty,” says the report being released Monday.

Between 2015 and 2017, almost 134,000 Canadian children were lifted out of poverty, a decline of nine per cent, according to the report.

But nearly 1.4 million — or 18.7 per cent — continue to live in families struggling to survive on low incomes, says the report based on 2017 income tax data, the latest available.

The report considers children to be poor if their families are living below the Low Income Measure, after taxes, or 50 per cent of the median Canadian family income. That was about $33,000 for a single parent and $47,000 for a family of four, in 2017.

The numbers vary dramatically across the country with the highest levels of child poverty found in federal ridings with the largest proportions of Indigenous, racialized, immigrant and lone parent families. MORE

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