As a wealthy country with an abundance of natural resources, it may come as a shock that Canada suffers greatly from poverty. Women and children are the two major groups affected by poverty in Canada, as a result of unemployment and other barriers that stand in the way of financial stability.
- According to the national report “Let’s End Child Poverty for Good,” the rate of child poverty in Canada increased from 15.8 percent in 1989 to 19 percent in 2013. Campaign 2000, a nonpartisan network of 120 organizations against child and family poverty, works with the federal government on the Canada Child Benefit, which will hopefully reduce child poverty by 50 percent in the next few years.
- Child poverty rates are nearly double for indigenous children and new immigrant families, at 40 percent.
- One in seven Canadian children resides in a homeless shelter, which are environments that can lead to higher rates of mental and physical health issues.
- Compared to other developed countries, Canada’s poverty rate is higher than most, ranking 23 out of 34 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
- More than 1.5 million women live on a low income, and 21 percent of single mothers raise their children in poverty. The Canadian Women’s Foundation works to advance women’s conditions by finding ways out of poverty and helping them build a solid foundation that includes stable housing, childcare and employment skills.
- The child poverty rate is highest in Toronto at 27 percent, according to the 2014 report, “Divided City: Life in Canada’s Child Poverty Capital.” Montreal follows with 25 percent.
- Two hundred thousand people are homeless in a year, costing the Canadian economy $7 billion each year.
Poverty in Canada is a significant issue, but not one that is impossible to solve. Various organizations dedicated to addressing the problem have helped those who have experienced major setbacks return to normalcy, to the point where they can live sustainable lives and provide for their families.
– Mikaela Frigillana