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Unprecedented progress on poverty reduction being undone

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2023 update on child and family poverty in Canada
Sarangi, L., Barrie, H., & Srikantharajah, A.
Publication Date: 
12 Feb 2024


Campaign 2000 releases its annual report on child and family poverty, Unprecedented Progress on Poverty Reduction Being Undone. The report finds that in 2021, despite the historic progress achieved in 2020, Canada saw a sharp upswing in national child poverty rates. As pandemic benefits wound down and the cost of living rose, poverty rates rebounded, resulting in over 1 million children living in poverty.

Using tax filer data from 2021, the latest available, this update finds that the child poverty rate rose to 15.6%, up from 13.5% in 2020 (using the Census Family Low Income Measure, After Tax). That represents 163,550 more children living with the short – and long-term physical, mental, emotional, economic and social harms of poverty.

This year’s national report finds that rates of child poverty increased in every province and territory from 2020 to 2021. Disproportionately higher rates were seen for people marginalized by colonization, racism and systemic discrimination, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and racialized and migrant children.

The progress achieved in 2020 revealed that there is room for more ambitious targets for poverty reduction in Canada. Campaign 2000 was founded after the unanimous 1989 federal motion to eradicate child poverty by the year 2000. The federal government’s 2015 commitment to the United Nations 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, the first of which is No Poverty, signaled an important re-prioritization of poverty eradication. But the latest data presented in this year’s report show troubling signs that progress towards ending child and family poverty is reversing.

Accelerated efforts are required for Canada to meet its human rights obligations to end poverty. This report offers more than 30 recommendations that cover inequality, income security, housing, child care, decent work and healthcare, and calls for bold action to eradicate child and family poverty in Canada.