Is it acceptable that a higher percentage of Canadian children live in poverty than in other countries similar to Canada?

On September 26 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will question Canada about its record on child poverty.  Canada has not made substantive progress in reducing child poverty since the last review. Countries who established targets, timelines, and targeted strategies have made significant progress.

Medical research documents that the impacts of child poverty can affect children for a lifetime and we all lose through higher health care costs and lower productivity, two major concerns for the Canadian economy.

The government will claim that the number of low-income families has fallen, partly because the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) raises some families about the poverty line and partly because the government now uses a different definition of poverty.   The UCCB is intended for child care expenses; it is not for basic needs.

Rather than arguing about the numbers, which are too high by any poverty measure, the CCRC proposes that Canada address this issue directly by developing a national poverty reduction strategy with a specific focus on children, including measurable targets for improvement, timelines, and action plans.  For more information see chapter on Children’s Right to be Free from Poverty in the section of CCRC report on Protecting Children’s Rights:Protecting Children;Protection de l’enfant.

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