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UNICEF Report Card 18: Canadian companion

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Child Poverty in Canada: Let's Finish This
Publication Date: 
6 Dec 2023


UNICEF Report Card 18 Canadian Companion 

UNICEF Report Card 18 compares levels of child poverty in the richest countries, the progress they have been making to end child poverty and how well their policies protect every child from poverty.

Good policies yield good rankings in UNICEF league tables of child well-being. Levels of child poverty are highly dependent on how well governments protect children from it. Ending child poverty is achievable when an ambitious goal is coupled with effective policies. Income support policies have lifted children out of poverty and lifted Canada up the rankings in UNICEF Report Card 18.


Canada’s work to lift children out of poverty is not done. In 2021, the most recent year of available data, the child poverty rate in Canada moved in the wrong direction. Child poverty increased for the first time in many years, largely due to the end of pandemic income programs and the rising cost of living. The poverty rate rose more sharply for children than for the general population. After years of progress, Canada is a middle performer among rich countries for its rate of child poverty.


Canada has the tools and  resources to end child poverty. Growing up in poverty is a damaging experience. Even brief exposure to poverty at a young age can shadow a child for life. As a wealthy country with one of the largest economies and one of the greatest increases in fiscal balance over the past decade, Canada can aim higher than a middle ranking among peer countries.