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A large portion of the world’s children are currently living in low-income families, or in other words—poverty. Could child poverty possibly be an issue in Canada? Well, Canada is a wealthy and developed country by any standard.Unfortunately that does not mean poverty does not exist. Statistics from 2012 showed that approximately 967,000 children in Canada are living in poverty, that’s one in every seven Canadian children. Government and organizations across the country are taking action to address this crisis.
Child poverty has been a constant issue in the Canadian history. The rate of children living in low-income families is steadily increasing over the years. Over 14 percent of children across Canada now live in low-income families, with Toronto topping the list at a child poverty rate of almost 30 percent. Often times, Canadian children who live in poverty will not have access to: a meal, clothing, proper hygiene, school supplies, and many of the basic human necessities and rights. The lack of proper nutrition and healthcare means that these children will usually suffer from hunger and illness. Sometimes a lack of shelter also leads to safety and security concerns.Statistically, children of single-parent or indigenous families are more likely to suffer poverty. Other factors that may contribute to child poverty includes: unemployed parents, low income, and a lack of government action.
Awareness for child poverty was raised on November 24, 1989, when the House of Commons started a campaign to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2000. However, there were little commitment by the government and as a result no progress was made. The child poverty rate was actually lower back then. Fortunately, there are numerous organizations across Canada that are dedicated on reducing the impact of poverty on children. One example of a well-known organization is The Salvation Army. They organize charities; the fundraised money, food, and clothing are always distributed directly to families and children in need. The provincial government of Ontario has also taken action—in 2007, the Ontario Child Benefit has increased to $1310 per year from $250 per year.
One campaign I would propose is the design of T-shirts that includes the Canadian child poverty statistics and rate on the front. On the back there is a message that clearly states “End Child Poverty, You Can Make a Change.” Not only is this campaign tool effective in terms of promoting awareness on the issue, it’s also a great way to start a fundraiser selling T-shirts, the profit can then be donated to charities or directly towards children and families in need. Since child poverty is often the results of unemployed parents, a personal suggestion I have for the federal government is to make plans that would improve employment opportunities and job security. This can be done by opening and improving access to employment and skills training centres, especially for the vulnerable populations, such as Aboriginals and people with disabilities.
To conclude, the crux of the issue is the increasing rate of child poverty in Canada. It is a major concern due to its impact on children and the society. Because of a lack of action from the Canadian federal government, more and more children are suffering from poverty each year. On the other hand, organizations and individuals are striving to make a change for a better world. There is still hope, and that’s why my bottom line is to reduce poverty in Canada and its impact on children.
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