One of the largest casualties of an economic downturn is also one of the most ignored – child poverty.
Slumping job numbers and economic statistics, coupled with an increasing cost of living, has more families teetering on or falling over the edge of poverty.
That means more children are living in poverty.
Nanaimo, one B.C.’s poorest socio-economic regions, is no exception. Here, it is estimated that 15 of every 100 children live in poverty, a reflection of Nanaimo’s unemployment numbers and a troubling trend across the country.
In fact, of 15 developed nations, Canada is fourth worst when it comes to looking after one of our most important investments.
Nationally, one child in seven is considered to be living in poverty, which means they probably don’t have the same access to programs and education to go on to live up to their potential.
We wouldn’t let that happen with other resources, so why are we letting it happen with our future workforce?
At one time, in the 1980s, Canada did have a national strategy to combat child poverty. In just a few years, the rate slipped from more than 15 per cent down to 12, and it showed promise to reduce that further.
The strategy was scrapped and the rate increased.
A new strategy needs to be revisited.
By providing affordable daycare for parents, a balance of incentives to improve parents’ earning ability and social welfare, and dedicating an increased portion of the country’s gross domestic product to funding a national strategy, child poverty can be greatly reduced, as it has in other countries.
Not only is child poverty unacceptable in a country like Canada, failing to address it is a missed opportunity to improve our nation going forward.