It’s a dubious honour for the province. BC has the highest child poverty rate in the country and one local advocate says there is a lot we can do to change that.
Adrienne Montani with First Call says the numbers from Statistics Canada showing 11.3 per cent of our kids were living below the poverty line in 2011 are unacceptable.
Montani blames the provincial government. “I think it’s good to build the economy for the future but we really need to repair this social safety net.”
She adds poverty costs the economy about $8 billion but it could only take about $4 billion to fix by bringing in initiatives like $10 a-day daycare and indexing the minimum wage.
Montani points to the recent letters Premier Christy Clark sent to ministers telling them there was no extra money in the budget.
“The cost not to do it is too great and it’s costing us a lot already. So, there is no recognition at that level it seems of the urgency of addressing the issue of child poverty and families struggling now.”
For children living with single moms, the poverty rate jumped from 16.4 per cent to 24.6 per cent, representing 27,000 children.
The government’s promised Early Childhood Tax Benefit won’t be available until April 2015 and it’s worth $660 a year.