How Child Care Initiatives Improve Poverty in Canada
Although poverty in Canada has significantly improved in the last decade, the problem as a whole still exists. For many, this way of living begins when a person is still a child in the early stages of their development and growth. Parents of these children often do not make enough money, which is a cause of generational poverty. Because of this, many families struggle to complete both money-making and child care tasks properly. Thus, extreme poverty may reach eradication without accessible and affordable childcare. Here are several child care initiatives in Canada working to assist impoverished parents and children.

Canada Child Benefit

The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is a program that the Canadian government created to help relieve parents of some child care stress. By paying a tax-free fee every month, parents who need some extra support raising their children can benefit from this program. The CCB provides basic assistance such as supervision and proper medical care for children while their parents are away at work. It also accommodates for child care situations in which supervision is required for longer periods of time.

The amount of monetary assistance a parent may receive depends on a number of things such as how many children are present in a household or how much money a family makes. Just from the past two years, nearly $24 billion has served more than 3.5 million Canadian families. CCB has led to a continuous decline in the number of children living in poverty in Canada, meaning families are able to strive towards a better future.

Child Care Now

Child Care Now is a nonprofit organization aiming for quality child care throughout Canada. More than 700 delegates help advocate for Child Care Now. In addition, the nonprofit has relieved the strain put on families to find adequate and affordable child care. From the start of Child Care Now, many areas in Canada have expanded their childcare locations. In Ontario, around 100 spaces have opened with regulated care and in Manitoba, another 700 licensed spaces have opened. With its many locations, Child Care Now hopes to provide families with the affordable and quality child care they deserve.

Early Education and Child Care

Early Education and Child Care (ECEC) is a Canadian program that aims to benefit child development while children are in school. Education for young children is crucial for development because children absorb the most information at very young ages. Low-income families are provided with subsidies or sometimes even given free education for their children. According to the Conference Board of Canada, spending a dollar on education for children below 5-years-old will help children gain six dollars in the future. This shows just how important it is for children to receive quality care and education.

How Child Care Initiatives Help Poverty in Canada

These initiatives are just a few that provide child care and resources to Canadian children and families in need. Investing in a low-income child’s future while they are young will only benefit their future. Without proper education for parents and children, it makes it extremely difficult for one to gain upward mobility without a resume or experience. Through child care initiatives, financially struggling families can improve their chances of economic mobility and lower rates of poverty in Canada simultaneously.

Karina Wong
Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in Canada
The causes of poverty in Canada, according to a set of six-year studies by Canada’s Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID), stem from being in a “high-risk” group. The Canadian government’s 2015 socioeconomic database states that 5,956,320 Canadians are low-income, with a median family income of $15,880. For the majority of Canadians, being low income is a non-permanent state. The SLID found that 36.9 percent of Canadians who fell below the low-income cutoff bracket were out the following year.

SLID reported that between 2005 and 2010, only 1.5 percent of Canadians were stagnant in the low-income bracket, with an average interval of low income of 2.4 years. The overall data that SLID reported seemed to suggest the causes of poverty in Canada are usually temporary, such as loss of a job or a decrease in wage, and that Canadians who were experiencing poverty would recover.


Poverty in Canada


However, deeper investigation into the demographic of those experiencing low income and poverty revealed that only certain Canadians would recover. Within the studies were groups of Canadians with certain characteristics, deemed high-risk, that had higher rates of persistent low income than the general population.

There are five of these groups, defined as such: “These groups include people with activity limitations (physical or mental disability), singles (unattached individuals), persons in lone-parent families, people with less than high school education and visible minorities who are immigrants.”

For Canadians, being in one of these groups is not a prerequisite for low income or poverty; however, the high-risk groups experience poverty at a much higher rate than the general population. It is also important to state that these groups, such as singles and visible minorities who are immigrants are not exclusive, and that Canadians who fall into multiple groups are at an even higher risk.

There are many causes of poverty in Canada. Each high-risk group has a different set of concerns to be addressed by the aid organizations and the Canadian government.

Yosef Mahmoud

Photo: Google

 Poverty in Canada

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.

Poverty in Canada Facts

    1. According to the national report “Let’s End Child Poverty for Good,” the rate of child poverty in Canada increased from 15.8% in 1989 to 19% 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% in the next few years.
    2. Child poverty rates are nearly double for indigenous children and new immigrant families, at 40%.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. The child poverty rate is highest in Toronto at 27%, according to the 2014 report, “Divided City: Life in Canada’s Child Poverty Capital.” Montreal follows with 25%.
    7. 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

Photo: Flickr

For quite some time, Canadian health officials have conducted thorough research to trace the cause of unstable housing. Now, officials have sorted out the missing link: bad health.

A 2005 published study by researcher Liz Evans presented the connection shared between HIV-sufferers and occupied hotel residency. At the time of the research, Evans illustrated the fact that 80% of Canada’s single-rooming units in hotels (estimated at 6,000) were located in Canada’s poorest Downtown Eastside, in which rooms were frequently occupied by those suffering from HIV.

One solution was to remove the hotel units; however, Evans knew that such an approach would result in “catastrophic” consequences. The analyst went on to state that the units were not “evils,” but rather an escape for HIV-sufferers who live in fear caused by social rejection.

Years would progress with minimal updates that validated Evans’ work until 2007, when broke a story on the 2010 Vancouver Games’ organizers deliberating if low-income housing should be moved elsewhere before the event. Although the organizers initially told the public that housing rights would be “respected,” over 700 low-income residents were displaced that same year in addition to inexpensive housing being converted into tourist venues. This action ignited strong backlash from a league of protestors.

The incident served as a rubric sheet for medical analysts to test theories that have longed signified a potential connection between housing issues and the trend of bad health yielded by the likes of street-involved youth.

Unearthed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, street-involved youths typically have a background of family abuse and a violent home environment. The aftermath follows with subjection to low income, low education, and lack of support or inability to pay first/last month’s rent; all of which are triggers to unstable housing.

Once housing becomes an issue, the vulnerability of infections caused by negative coping systems, such as drug use or unprotected sex, serves as a high risk.

In studying further developments, lead researcher C. Kim went on to run tests involving Vancouver-native drug users and non-drug users. Based on the test results, Kim discovered that active drug users were hepatitis C viral-carriers and singled out unstable housing as the prime connection.

With these results, varying researchers revisited the work done by Evans, who attempted to signify a connection involving HIV-sufferers and extreme occupancy within hotel units. It was in 2014 that analysts determined that the significant increase in emergency department-styled housing was being led by HIV-sufferers.

As conducted in Evans’ work, researchers indicated that those residing in the housing feared social backlash, further contributing to poor health caused by guilt and depression. In both the study and a separate one occurring one year later, analysts conclusively noted that like street-involved youths, unstable housing holds a poor-health effect on HIV-sufferers, where potential enablement of guilt, depression and drug use patterns pose as big risks.

So what exactly is being done to aid the problem?

For street-involved youths who have endured a brutal history, several intervention programs have been established to help those in need. Other establishments like Calgary-based Infinity Project provide youths with a permanent home in a community of their choosing, equipped with support and affordable options to secure them a better life. Similarly, support centers are urged, for those suffering from HIV, to decrease health-care costs and to minimize health problems relating to depression.

As positive networks continue to decrease the rate of unstable housing, optimism for more awareness of the issue comes with wishful thinking of the conflict fading away.

– Jeff Varner

Sources: NCBI,, NCBI, Public Health Agency of Canada, NCBI
Photo: Huffington Post