When Christy Clark’s government released its budget in February, many advocates were hoping for real action on soaring housing costs. British Columbia’s economy is growing and investments in affordable housing in this budget – for the last full fiscal year before going to the polls in 2017 – had the potential to address the severe crisis many British Columbians are facing.
Twenty-five years ago, the House of Commons unanimously passed Ed Broadbent's resolution to abolish child poverty by the year 2000. We are far from that goal.
Child poverty as measured by the Statistics Canada Low Income Cut Off has fallen since 1989, meaning that the proportion of families forced to spend a well above average share of their budgets on food, clothing and shelter has diminished somewhat.
But it is a different story if we use the low income measure, which looks at the gap between poor children and the middle class, calculating the number of children who live in a family which has less than one half of the income of a comparable middle income family.
With a national child care program back on the front burner, it’s time we talk about the links between child care and child poverty.
Here’s the bottom line: affordable and reliable child care in Canada could help lift 300,000 children under six, and their low and modest income families, out of poverty.
Today, very few such families have access to regulated, high-quality and affordable child care. Instead, these families compete for regulated daycare spaces accessible to only about one in five children under six years old, most of which come with costs beyond their reach.