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Campaign 2000 has released the 2007 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty, revealing that 18 years after the 1989 all-party resolution of the House of Commons, the child poverty rate is exactly the same. Despite a growing economy, a soaring dollar and low unemployment, Statistics Canada data show:
THE ROAD AHEAD: POVERTY REDUCTION IN ONTARIO
• 1 in 8 children in Ontario – 345,000 — live in poverty when income is measured after taxes. Before income taxes, 1 in every 6 children lives in poverty.
• A job is not a guaranteed pathway out of poverty. 70% of all low-income children live in families with at least one parent working, parttime or full-time.• Having to rely on social assistance is a guarantee of poverty. Rates are lower now than at any time since 1967. 67% of children on social assistance are in female lone-parent families.
• Poor families are in deep poverty. The average two-parent low-income family lives $10,000 below the poverty line.
• Poverty rates for children in Aboriginal, racialized, new immigrant and lone motherled families are at least double the average rate.
Concern about persistently high rates of child and family poverty in Ontario despite years of economic growth translated into some positive steps forward in 2007. The provincial budget included a focus on child poverty and introduced a new Ontario Child Benefit for low-income families. The minimum wage has increased to $8.75 and will reach $10.25/hour by 2010. The re-elected provincial government has committed to develop a Poverty Reduction Strategy for Ontario with targets and measures, and appointed a lead minister and Cabinet Committee on Poverty Reduction.
In preparation for public consultations on poverty reduction, this report provides the most recent information on child and family poverty in Ontario, followed by Campaign 2000 recommendations for an effective Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy. This should be a long-term plan coordinated across government ministries, with key indicators monitored annually to track progress and ensure accountability. Federal and municipal governments have a role to play, along with business and labour stakeholders.
We repeat our call for a strategy that sets a minimum target of 25% reduction in the child poverty rate over the next five years, and a minimum 50% reduction over ten years to put Ontario solidly on the path to poverty eradication. One cornerstone of this strategy must be to assure every adult working full-time, year-round a living standard above poverty.
DOWNLOAD 2007 Report Card.
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