Thursday, February 28, 2013

On Child Poverty

Late last year I wrote a post expressing my discomfort with the proliferation of foodbanks. Despite the fact that I volunteer at one, I can't escape the notion that it has become an enabler of government inaction on poverty in this country. As well, the fare available from foodbanks is generally of the canned and processed variety, high in salt and preservatives, hardly the basis of a healthy diet.

Over the years I have volunteered there, I have noticed that more and more of the clientele is not the chronically unemployed, but rather the chronically under compensated, those who are working at minimum-wage jobs that are wholly inadequate to meet their and their families' needs. I especially feel for the children who often accompany their moms on their monthly visits to our establishment.

While Ontario has made some progress in reducing child poverty, austerity measures and corporate tax reductions that have yielded few jobs have halted that progress. A story in this morning's Star paints a rather grim picture of what life is like for the 383,000 Ontario children still ensnared in rather dire living conditions:

In 1989, 240,000 Ontario kids lived in poverty, when the child poverty rate was 9.9 per cent. The rate in 2010 was 14.2 per cent, representing 383,000 kids.

One in 10 Ontario children in 2010 lived in households that couldn’t afford things like dental care, daily fruit and vegetables and “appropriate clothes for job interviews,” up 15 per cent from 2009.

35.6 per cent of kids in a household with a single mom lived in poverty in 2010.

92,500 Ontario kids living in poverty still have one parent who works full time, year-round.

In 2010, 7.1 per cent of children in the province lived in “deep poverty,” where household earnings amounted to less than Ontario’s median family income.

You can read the entire sad story here.


  1. Child poverty in a wealthy nation such as Canada is a damning indictment of those in charge, Lorne.

    The fact that the problem has grown, rather than diminished, makes the indictment even more damning.

  2. As you identified in your Sleeping Through Disaster post the other day, Owen, probably one of our biggest problems as Canadians is our smug self-satisfaction while things are falling apart around us.