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Greater trouble in greater Toronto: Child poverty in the GTA

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Children's Aid Society of Toronto
Publication Date: 
2 Dec 2008


GTA Children's Aid Societies and the Social Planning Network released a report on child poverty that shows a startling increase in the number of children living in poverty.

Greater Trouble in Greater Toronto, Child Poverty in the GTA reveals that 50 per cent of Ontario's children in poverty now live in the GTA, up from 44 per cent in 1997. In the City of Toronto, all growth in the number of children living in poverty since 1997 occurred in the inner suburbs, where abysmally high rates of child poverty now surpass those of downtown.

Excerpts from press release:

"The time to act is now. More children and families are living in poverty in the GTA than ever before," said David Rivard, Executive Director, Children's Aid Society of Toronto. "It has been nineteen years since Campaign 2000 provided the government with realistic strategies to end child poverty. At our Agency, almost two thirds of our clients live at or below the poverty line, the children and families of Toronto cannot wait any longer. Mary McConville, the Executive Director of the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto, and I are both committing our Agencies to working with the provincial government to develop initiatives that will help to reduce child poverty. We urge the government to make this a top priority in their poverty reduction strategy," added Rivard.

Lack of affordable housing is one of the most significant barriers to breaking the cycle of poverty. At the CAS of Toronto housing is a factor for one out of every five children coming into care and one out of every ten children is delayed from returning home because of housing problems. Just under one half (46%) of female lead single parent families and recent immigrant families (44%) cannot afford their housing.

The face of child poverty in the Greater Toronto Area

Most single parent households are lead by mothers. Toronto has the greatest prevalence of children living in single parent households with 29 per cent. 51 per cent of these children live in poverty.

One in five food bank users in the GTA are single parents and for almost half of these parents child care is the reason they cannot work. Quality child care is unavailable throughout the GTA. There are not enough spaces and it is also extremely expensive at $47 per day on average for a toddler.

Child poverty is racialized. Today the GTA makes up about 80 per cent of Ontario's immigrants and visible minorities. Children of non-European heritage now make up about one half of the area's children, with seven out of ten of those children living in poverty

Entered Date: 
10 Dec 2008
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