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Poverty profile 1999

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National Council of Welfare
government document
Publication Date: 
29 Jul 2002

Excerpt from press release:

'Poverty profile 1999' shows that poverty rates generally continued a 3-year downward trend. But Canada was still not doing as well as it was a decade earlier, despite eight consecutive years of solid economic growth. The overall improvement of 0.7 percent in poverty rates between 1998 and 1999 came nowhere close to matching the impressive economic growth rate of nearly 5 percent during that period. The Council considers this stagnation, at best, rather than progress. Our economic prosperity should have helped many more Canadians escape or avert poverty, including senior women living alone, whose already high poverty rate actually worsened in 1999.

What especially alarmed the Council, however, was new information on long-term poverty over a six-year period from 1993 to 1998. The highest rate for this chronic poverty was among pre-school children. "How do six-year olds who have spent all those critical developmental years in poverty have a fair chance in life," demanded Allyce Herle, acting Chair of the Council. " It is very hard for me to understand how Canadian governments and citizens tolerate this. We only pretend we value our children."

Poverty Profile is a regular report of the National Council of Welfare, using the most recently available data from Statistics Canada. It examines poverty according to many factors such as age, sex, family type, employment and source of income as well as immigration, visible minority and Aboriginal status. This year there are several new features, including post-tax as well as pre-tax poverty rates and the section on duration of poverty. There is also a special chapter in this edition focusing on some of the particular dimensions of poverty among Aboriginal peoples.

The National Council of Welfare is a citizens' advisory group to the Minister of Human Resources Development.