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Pathways to progress: Structural solutions to address child poverty

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Freiler, Christa; Rothman, Laurel & Barata, Pedro
Publication Date: 
4 May 2004

Available in print (see SOURCE) and online for download.

Excerpt from press release: Child poverty remains firmly entrenched in Canada. Despite political vows and public concern, Canada cannot shake its high rate of child poverty. For the past three decades, child poverty levels have hovered at one child in six. "We face a structural crisis in our attempts to address child poverty", says "Pathways to progress: Structural solutions to address child poverty", a study commissioned by the anti-poverty organization, Campaign 2000. "Advances in some areas, such as increases in the national child benefit, are undermined by low wages and bad jobs", says principal author, Christa Freiler. "More than 60 percent of lone mothers employed and living in poverty earn less than $10 an hour. Canada stands out as a low wage country, second only to the U.S. among industrialized countries." "This country needs a comprehensive, multi-year strategy to break the back of child poverty in Canada" says Laurel Rothman, national coordinator of Campaign 2000. "We need the same determination from the federal government to children as was demonstrated in the elimination of the deficit". The report lays out responsible and realistic goals for a social investment plan over the next five years. Campaign 2000 recommends that the federal government and the provinces legislate a livable minimum wage of $10 an hour by the end of 2007. Combined with an enhanced child benefit of $4900 per child and the significant expansion of affordable housing, these measures would guarantee families with children a pathway out of poverty. To ensure equal opportunities for all children, the report calls for the creation of an early learning and child care system. Campaign 2000 proposes that the federal government commit at least 1.5% of GDP, or approximately $18 billion a year in new public revenue, to carry out the plan. The country will not be able to invest in children nor in the other social priorities of Canadians such as health care and post-secondary education unless we begin to recover revenues lost through general tax cuts. "No government in Canada supports child poverty. As we have learned from other countries, solutions can be found", Rothman says.