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Child Poverty at Staggering Levels Across Canada, Report Shows

Just weeks before Canada’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy is expected to be revealed, anti-poverty group Campaign 2000 has released a report detailing child poverty rates across every political riding in the country.

The report shows that 162 out of 338 federal ridings have child poverty rates at or above Canada’s national rate of 17.4%.

An important takeaway from this report is that ridings with the highest levels of poverty house a higher number of Indigenous, racial minority, immigrant, and single-parent families.

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For example, the Churchill-Keewatinook Aski riding, a primarily rural riding with a high First Nations population in northern Manitoba, has a child poverty rate of 64.2%, according to the report.

That is more than three times the national average recorded in the most recent census, the Canadian Press reported.

Campaign 2000 is calling on the Liberal government to implement a legislated commitment to reduce poverty before next year’s election.

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“Child and family poverty knows no boundaries in Canada: It is a reality in every single riding. Poverty means there are too many children suffering hunger, ill health, and stress beyond their years in communities across the country,” Anita Khanna, Campaign 2000’s National Coordinator, said in a press release.

“Given Canada’s wealth, no child should go to bed hungry. No parent should be forced to choose between paying rent and buying medication or miss out on work or training for lack of quality affordable childcare. With every riding affected by poverty, every riding will benefit from a strong federal strategy,” Khanna said.

Campaign 2000, which consists of 120 partner organizations, has been advocating for a national strategy for years.

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They want the Liberals to set a target of cutting child poverty in half over the next five years, and increase the base amount of the Canada Child Benefit, according to the Canadian Press.

"Child poverty is an issue that affects all communities and therefore all MPs and all political parties should be working towards its eradication," Khanna told the Canadian Press.

Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s riding of Toronto Centre and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s riding of Papineau both fall under the 30 ridings with the top child poverty rates at 40% and 29.1%, respectively.

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Overall, 17% of children aged 17 and under live in low-income households, which accounts for 1.2 million children in Canada, the Canadian Press reported.

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to end extreme poverty by 2030. You can take action here.