BC is the second-worst in the country when it comes to child poverty, according to a report card being released today by a child advocacy group called First Call BC. It found one-in-seven kids in BC are poor.
The organization also discovered that child poverty rates in this province dipped slightly to 14.3 per cent in 2010, but that’s still way above the national average. Only Manitoba has a higher rate in this country.
There are 119,000 poor children in BC and Dr. John Miller with the Public Health Association says that has got to change. “They’re chronically malnourished where they’ve got poor housing and they’re in constant stress about where their next meal is coming from, whether or not they’re going to have a roof over their head. That affects both their mental and physical health.”
He also wants to see an action strategy from the provincial government. “BC has trailed behind all the other provinces when it comes to statistics for child and family poverty and it has been either the worst or almost the worst over at least a decade now.”
Miller explains that it does help that BC raised minimum wage rates but he’d also like to see businesses take it upon themselves to pay workers better.
But Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux says child poverty has dropped 45 per cent since 2003.
“It represents the second-lowest child poverty rate in BC since the 1980s. It’s a number we’d like to continue to see to go down. We want to continue to work on that. We are pleased that it is continuing to go in the right direction.”