B.C. records worst child-poverty rate for fifth consecutive year

The Gordon Campbell government  has  achieved a dubious distinction.

It has posted  the worst child-poverty rate in Canada for five straight years, according to the B.C. Child Poverty Report Card.

It noted that B.C.’s child-poverty rate of 21.9 percent in 2006 was well above the national average of 15.8 percent, and two percentage points higher than the runnerup, Saskatchewan.

Alberta had the lowest child poverty rate at 10.5 percent in 2006.

First Call: B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, the Social Planning and Research Council of B.C., and Campaign 2000 released the report today.

The groups based their estimates of poverty on Statistics Canada’s low-income cutoffs.

The average family across the country spends 34.3 percent of its income before taxes on food, clothing, and shelter.

Families in “straitened circumstances” spend 54.3 percent or more of their income on these three items.

In a news release issued today, federal NDP children's advocate Olivia Chow said that the same number of children go hungry now as in 1989 when all parties agreed to eliminate child poverty by 2000.

"If the relative prosperity of the past decade did nothing to lift children out of poverty, how much more will these children suffer in these turbulent economic times," Chow said in the release.