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Oh Canada! Too many children in poverty for too long

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Report Card 2006 on Child and Family Poverty in Canada
Campaign 2000
Publication Date: 
24 Nov 2006

Excerpts from the report:

In 1989, the House of Commons unanimously resolved to "seek to achieve the goal of eliminating poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000." Yet, close to 1.2 million children - almost one child out of every six in Canada - still live in poverty.

Despite continued economic growth Canada's record on child poverty is worse now than it was in 1989. There have been cyclical variations, reflecting economic recessions and recoveries, but the rate of one in six has remained tenacious. This figure does not include the shameful situation for First Nations communities where one in every four children is growing up in poverty.

Canada has failed to honour its commitments to children, including:

- the unanimous, 1989 House of Commons all-party resolution to end child poverty;

- the UNICEF World Summit for Children in 1990 which agreed on the principle of first call for children;

- the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by Parliament and all provincial legislatures by 1999, that recognized an adequate standard of living for children;

- the Early Learning and Child Care Agreements signed by the government of Canada and all the provinces in 2005 that laid the foundation for a universally accessible system;

- the historic agreement among First Ministers and First Nations leaders in Kelowna in 2005 that held promise for improved quality of life for First Nations, Métis and Inuit children and their families.

Some important initiatives in child benefits, early learning and child care services and affordable housing were started. Some of these have been stalled and others have been rescinded. It is time for Canada to adopt a poverty reduction strategy that will honour the commitments to children and their families.