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Child care called key to ending child poverty

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Author: 
Monsebraaten, Laurie
Publication Date: 
20 Nov 2018
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Child care is the missing puzzle piece in Canada’s quest to end poverty, says Campaign 2000 in its annual report being released Tuesday, the United Nations’ Universal Children’s Day.

The national coalition dedicated to eradicating child poverty is joining more than 100 parents, grandparents and early childhood educators on Parliament Hill Tuesday to lobby MPs and senators on why Ottawa needs to step up its support for this “crucial service” for young families.

“If parents are to escape poverty through workforce participation or education … access to high-quality child care is essential,” says the coalition, named after Parliament’s 1989 all-party resolution to wipe out child poverty in Canada by 2000.

“While high-quality child care is beneficial for all children, it is an especially important buffer from the negative effects of poverty for low-income children,” the coalition says in its report.

Toronto mother Gabrielle Griffith, who has been scrambling to move off welfare and into full-time work, says the stress of finding affordable child care for her son Elijah, 3, has been enormous.

“It should be a public service just like health care and public education,” she says.

Elijah is among more than 1.4 million Canadian children — almost one in five — living in poverty, according to the report, which uses Statistics Canada’s low-income measure and 2016 taxfiler data. A family is considered to be living in poverty if its income, after taxes, falls 50 per cent below the median family income, or $28,884 for a single parent with one child or $40,848 for a couple with two kids. In Toronto, the median cost for child care for an infant is more than $21,000 a year.

That’s 1.3 percentage points lower than in 2015, based on Statistics Canada’s updated calculations of the low-income measure in the taxfiler data, the report says.

In Ontario, 545,000 children — or 19.5 per cent — are living in poverty, a rate similar to the national average, according to a separate provincial report card.

Meantime, poverty among First Nations children in Canada is a staggering 40 per cent, while those in visible minority families experience poverty rates of 25.5 per cent.

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Entered Date: 
21 Nov 2018
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