An article in (The Economist 2010-11-25) noted that Canada had survived the global financial crisis better than many other developed countries: Canadian banks and public finances are sound, and the economy recovered quickly and strongly from recession.” However, in the same article it was noted that “Canada ranks 22nd-worst out of the 31 countries in the OECD, in terms of child poverty. More than 3m Canadians (or one in ten) are poor; and 610,000 of them are children. (The Economist 2010-11-25).” This timeline of selected events related to child poverty in Canada attempts to trace the social history and compile reliable references on the successes and failures, progress and stagnation on the path to the eradication of child poverty in Canada.

Reverse chronological order

2012 The Innocenti Report uses Statistics Canada ‘s Survey on Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID), 2009 for the 2012 report.

“Survey on Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) is a panel survey run by Statistics Canada. It is the country’s primary source for income data, and includes
information on family situation, education and demographic background. The survey is representative of all individuals living in Canada, excluding residents of
the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, as well as residents of institutions and persons living on Indian reserves. Overall, these exclusions amount to less
than 3% of Canada’s population. Report Card 10 uses data from the 2009 round of the SLID, with income poverty data referring to the year 2008. More information can be found at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca

2011

2011-11-24 Dream No Little Dreams Conference” co-hosted by the YWCA of Calgary and the Action to End Poverty in Alberta initiative, organized to build momentum for coordinated action to end poverty in Alberta held in Calgary, AB. This conference focuses on strategic action to create a provincial poverty reduction strategy in Alberta. See also (CBC. As child poverty spikes, conference aims for solutions.”

2011-11 Public Interest Alberta, the Alberta College of Social Workers, and the Edmonton Social Planning Council published their report entitled “In This Together: Ending Poverty in Alberta.” The publication contributes to the ongoingCampaign 2000 project.

2011-11-23. Armine Yalnizyan of Policy Alternatives published the report entitled “Twenty Years of Campaign 2000 – What Now?

YWCA. 2011-03. “Educated, Employed and Equal” the Economic Prosperity Case for National Child Care.”

2010-11 Canada survived the global financial crisis better than many other developed countries: Canadian banks and public finances are sound, and the economy recovered quickly and strongly from recession (The Economist 2010-11-25).”

2010

1990-2010 Canada has enjoyed long periods of steady growth (The Economist 2010-11-25).

2010-11 Canada ranks 22nd-worst out of the 31 countries in the OECD, in terms of child poverty. More than 3m Canadians (or one in ten) are poor; and 610,000 of them are children (The Economist 2010-11-25).

2010-11 Campaign 2000 reported that child poverty is now as bad as it was in 1990 (The Economist 2010-11-25).

2010-11 Food Banks Canada reported that 900,000 Canadians rely on food handouts, up by 9% on last year (The Economist 2010-11-25).

2010 Canada has about 300,000 homeless people (The Economist 2010-11-25).

2010 British Columbia, one of the richest Canadian provinces has one of the highest rates of child poverty (10.4%) after taxes on family income.

2010 Some Canadian provincial governments, including those of populous Ontario and Quebec, have launched poverty-reduction programmes; many include attempts to prod or help people back into work (The Economist 2010-11-25).

2010 Newfoundland financed poverty eradication programs through its royalties from oil and mining and successfully has cut its poverty rate in half (to 6.5%) (The Economist 2010-11-25).

2010 The only strategy acceptable to Stephen Harper’s Conservative administration to respond to poverty is “the sustained employment of Canadians”. (The Economist 2010-11-25).

2009

2009-12 The Subcommittee on Cities, The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology published a report entitled “In From the Margins: a Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness.” described as “an excellent roadmap for poverty reduction.” One of the 72 recommendations towards the eradication of child poverty was to increase the National Child Benefit to reach $5,000 by 2012 [Recommendation 34].

“Through a myriad of expert witnesses, site visits, roundtables and most importantly, testimony from those living in poverty and homelessness, we are saddened to report that far too many Canadians living in cities live below any measure of the poverty line; that too many people struggle to find and maintain affordable housing; and that an increasing number of Canadians are homeless. And despite the thoughtful efforts and many promising practices of governments‘, the private sector, and community organizations, that are helping many Canadians, the system that is intended to lift people out of poverty is substantially broken, often entraps people in poverty, and needs an overhaul . . . [We] believe that eradicating poverty and homelessness is not only the humane and decent priority of a civilized democracy, but absolutely essential to a productive and expanding economy benefitting from the strengths and abilities of all its people. (Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. 2009-12. “In From the Margins: a Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness.” ).”

2009 According to the most recent data available in 2011, in Alberta there was a dramatic spike in child and family poverty. The “Alberta child poverty rate was 9.3% using LICO, compared to 12.8% using LIM. . . . (In This Together: Ending Poverty in Alberta.”

2009 The number of Alberta children living in poverty rose from 53,000 in 2008 to 73,000 in 2009 (CBC 2011-11-24 citing (In This Together: Ending Poverty in Alberta).

2009 “Disparities between families are growing. Between 1989 and 2009, after accounting for inflation, the yearly income of the poorest 10% of Alberta families with children increased by only $4,682. The yearly income of the richest 10% of families with children went
up $156,403. Average yearly family incomes went up $35,088 (In This Together: Ending Poverty in Alberta.”

2009 “In Alberta, the effectiveness of government income transfers in lifting children above the poverty line has increased over the years. In 1989, only about 25% of children were lifted above the poverty line. By 2009, this had increased to 44%. . . [However] In 2009, the Ontario government doubled the Ontario Child Benefit to $1100 per child, with a scheduled increase to $1310 by 2013.23 The Alberta government’s stronger financial position should allow it to introduce an Alberta Child Benefit at least equal to Ontario’s (In This Together: Ending Poverty in Alberta.”

2008

2008 When Canada entered the brutal recession there were c. 3 million Canadians living in poverty using the standard measure, Statistic Canada’s after-tax low-income cut-off (LICO) (Yalnizyan 2010-06-21).

2008 Witnesses at the senate inquiry on poverty, described challenges of raising children in poverty, and of increasing earnings in the labour market without affordable care for children that also contributes to their development and preparation for school (Yalnizian, Browne, Battle, Issue 4, 28 February 2008). The same witnesses emphasized that a small universal contribution to families with young children, like the current Universal Child Care benefit, was not sufficient to purchase childcare (GC 2008-06-08).

2007

2007 The child poverty rate in Canada was still 11.7%. Canada experienced a 50% real increase in the size of its economy from 1989 to 2007.

2007-06-14 Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire, President and Executive Director, United Way of Greater Montreal, Evidence, SAST, 1st Session, 39th Parliament, 14 June 2007: “If people cannot have affordable housing, they will be in a horrible mess. Most of their money will go toward rent. They cannot feed themselves properly. How will they be able to help their children through school with the stress they live with?”

2007-11-26 Campaign 2000 released their national annual report card on poverty in Canada entitled “It Takes a Nation to Raise a Generation: 2007 Report Card on Child & Family Poverty in Canada.” Despite a growing economy, soaring dollar and low employment, 788,000 children (1/8 of Canadian children) live in poverty. Ontario remains the “child poverty capital,” with 345,000 children living in impoverished conditions.”

2007-11-26 Almost 30 per cent of Toronto families – approximately 93,000 households raising children – live in poverty, compared with 16 per cent in 1990. [The Mercer annual Cost of Living Survey of 143 major cities around the world measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment. In 2006, Toronto was ranked as the most expensive city in Canada, just slightly ahead of Vancouver.] Since 2000, the city has seen a net loss of jobs, many of them well-paying and unionized, while elsewhere job creation is on the rise. At the same time jobs have been replaced by temporary, part-time and contract work that offer no job security, benefits or eligibility for employment insurance. As a result, an alarming number of households are in deep financial trouble as seen by an increase in the number of evictions, family debt and bankruptcies since 2000, a year when the crippling recession of the 1990s had clearly eased in the rest of the country, the report says. From 1999 to 2006, landlord applications for eviction due to nonpayment of rent climbed from 19,795 to more than 25,000. Also, the number of people receiving credit counselling in Toronto has almost doubled in the past six years to an average of 4,534 per month. Not surprisingly, the number of moneylending outlets has increased almost eightfold since 1995 to more than 300, largely concentrated in the low-income neighbourhoods. United Way of Greater Toronto. 2007. Losing Ground: The Persistent Growth of Family Poverty in Canada’s Largest City, (Monsebraaten and Daly 2007-11-26 ).

2007-05-09 The former Ontario premier Bob Rae was one of four panellists at at the Toronto Star-sponsored forum on the growing income gap held at the St. Lawrence Centre and attended by 250. Rae argued that, “We now have to restore and renew our commitment to help people in difficult times [to invest] in affordable housing, child care and education” [. . .] Rae noted that Canada is the only government in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that doesn’t have a national housing policy, and that’s reflected in the country’s poverty figures. Economist Yalnizyan, research director of the Toronto Social Planning Council remarked that “Income inequality is the second inconvenient truth in our society. [G]overnments need to act now – not only to tackle poverty, but to ensure everyone is benefiting from a healthy economy (Monsebraaten and Daly 2007).” Stop picking away at the edges of poverty, say forum speakers, and take a leaf from Ireland’s comprehensive plan.

2007-05 A study by economist Yalnizyan was released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, showing a widening income gap in Ontario. “40 per cent of Ontario families have seen no gain in real income – and often a loss – compared with their predecessors 30 years ago. The richest 10 per cent, meanwhile, have seen their incomes soar. And even though Ontario parents are better educated, they spend more time working than the previous generation did, the study says (Monsebraaten and Daly 2007).”

2007-04 Ontario’s provincial budget “put poverty reduction on the agenda with a new Ontario child benefit for all children in low-income families – not just those on welfare. And it outlined a plan for raising the minimum wage to $10.25 by 2010, from $8 today (Monsebraaten and Daly 2007).”

2007-03 The Ontario Child Benefit, announced in the March 2007 Ontario Budget, pledged $2.1 billion over the first five years to help low-income families support their children (UWGT 2007:73).

2007 The federal government introduced a non-refundable child tax credit which provides income tax savings of up to $300 for children of all ages to tax-paying parents (Senate of Canada 2008-06-08).

2007 In 2007 Report Card on Child Well-being in Rich Countries: The most comprehensive assessment to date of the lives and well-being of children and adolescents in the economically advanced nations. builds and expands upon the analyses of Report Card No. 6 which considered relative income poverty affecting children and policies to mitigate it. Report Card 7 provides a pioneering, comprehensive picture of child well being through the consideration of six dimensions: material well-being, health and safety, education, family and peer relationships, subjective well-being, behaviours and lifestyles informed by the Convention on the rights of the child and relevant academic literature.” UNICEF. 2007. “Report Card on Child Well-being in Rich Countries.”

2007-11-12 Ligaya, Armina. 2007. “The debate over Canada’s poverty line.” CBC News On-line. http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/economy/poverty-line.html November 12. “[C]hild poverty numbers have not budged at all since 1989 when Canadian parliamentarians stood up and promised to do their best to eradicate it within a decade. Even today, 11.7 per cent of children under 18 are living below the low-income cut-off line.” There are now record numbers of tenants being evicted from their homes and a rising dependency on food banks (Shapcott cited in Ligaya 2007).

2007 “Jean Swanson, co-ordinator of the Carnegie Centre Action project in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, said restricting access to employment insurance and welfare only punishes the poor. The poverty activist said she has watched Canada’s homeless epidemic multiply what she says is 10-fold over the last decade (Ligaya 2007).”

2006

2006 Newfoundland announced a strategy to become the province with the lowest poverty rate by 2016.

2006 20,900 Canadian children used food banks, double the number in 1989.

2006 The Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) was added, with payments of monthly instalments of $100 for every child under the age of 6 (regardless of parental income) (Senate of Canada 2008-06-08).

2006 The net worth of the lowest quintile fell to a negative net worth from zero while national net worth grew 2.8% in the last quarter of 2006. Less than 10% of families who hold at least 53% of total Cdn. net worth ($4.8 trillion) (Drummond and Tulk, 2006).

2006-11-24 CBC news summarized details from the Campaign 2000 (2006) National Annual Report on Child Poverty with the headlines “Aboriginal children are poorest in country: report: B.C. and Newfoundland have highest rates; Alberta and P.E.I. have lowest rates.” November 24, 2006. One aboriginal child in eight is disabled, double the rate of all children in Canada; Among First Nations children, 43 per cent lack basic dental care; Overcrowding among First Nations families is double the rate of that for all Canadian families; Mould contaminates almost half of all First Nations households; Almost half of aboriginal children under 15 years old residing in urban areas live with a single parent; Close to 100 First Nations communities must boil their water; Of all off-reserve aboriginal children, 40 per cent live in poverty.

2005

1999-2005 Considerable wealth was accumulated in Canada between 1999 and 2005. In 2005 net worth increased by 41.7% to nearly $1.5 trillion (US?). The most recent Statistics Canada report revealed today that the Canadian national net worth reached $4.8 trillion by the end of the third quarter. While in terms of an economist’s algorithm this translates into an average of $146,700 per person. In reality only the a tiny number of Canadian households benefited. “The gain in net worth resulted from an increase in national wealth (economy-wide non-financial assets) as well as a sharp drop in net foreign debt. National net worth grew 2.8% in the third quarter, the largest increase in more than two years (Statistics Canada 2006)”.

2005 According to Stats Canada the disparity between the top income-earning category and the lowest was $105,400 (Shapcott cited in Ligaya 2007). Statistics Canada income figures showed 788,000 children were living in poverty in 2005, a rate of 11.7 per cent.

2005 41 per cent of all low-income children lived in families in Canada where at least one parent had a full-time job (Campion-Smith 2007).

2004

2004 Childhood  poverty in the United States is among the highest in the developed world (Rifkin ED 2004: x).”

2004 Since 2004, the 25 countries of the European Union (EU) have been developing a new statistical data source, known as Community Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). EU-SILC aims to become the reference source of comparative statistics on income distribution and living conditions within the EU. A primary purpose of EU-SILC is to monitor the common indicators (the so-called Laeken Indicators) by which the EU has agreed to measure its progress towards reducing poverty and social exclusion. EU-SILC therefore replaces the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) which was the main source of such data from 1994 until 2001 (for the then 15 Member States of the EU). Designed to fill some of the acknowledged gaps and weaknesses of the ECHP, EU-SILC collects every year comparable and up-to-date cross-sectional data on income, poverty, social exclusion and other aspects of living conditions – as well as longitudinal data on income and on a limited set of non-monetary indicators of social exclusion. The first EU-SILC data for all 25 Member States of the current EU, plus Norway and Iceland, should be available by the end of 2006. The first 4-year longitudinal data on ‘those at-persistent-risk-of-poverty’ will be available by the beginning of 2010. In addition to populating these core indicators, each round of EU-SILC also gathers data on one particular theme – beginning in 2005 with data on the intergenerational transmission of poverty.

2002

2002 Quebec introduced anti-poverty legislation. The “Province of Quebec and Ireland have tackled poverty head on, with impressive results that show poverty reduction can be achieved against planned goals (UWGT 2007:73).”

2002 Of all the world’s wealthy nations it was only in the United States that the majority (58%) claimed that cared more about personal freedom to pursue goals without government interference than play an active role in society so as to guarantee that nobody is in need? (Rifkin ED 2004:379) .”

2001

2001 Over 653,000 Canadians were earning wages that classified them as “working poor” (and 1.5 million people were directly affected, one third of them children under the age of 18) (Senate of Canada 2008-06-08).

2001-05 The National Council on Welfare using the LICO claimed that 5 million Canadians are living in poverty.

2000s

2000-12 Laurel Rothman, the National Coordinator of Campaign 2000 wrote a Letter to the Editor entitled “Richer, poorer” to the National Post in response to their editorial dismissing Campaign 2000′s annual report card (Rothman 2000).

2000-12-06 A letter entitled “No surplus for kids” by Pedro Barata, the Ontario Coordinator of Campaign 2000, was published in the Toronto Star. Barata asked, “Why is it that Ontario was one of only two provinces where since 1996 poor families fell deeper below the poverty line?” or, “Why does Ontario have the highest monthly fees for child care in Canada?”

2000-06-01 Innocenti Report Card. Issue No. 1. The first Innocenti Report Card presents the most comprehensive analysis to date of child poverty in the nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “Whether measured by relative or absolute poverty, the top six places in the child poverty league are occupied by the same six nations – all of which combine a high degree of economic development with a reasonable degree of equity” In the league table of relative child poverty, the bottom seven places are occupied by the Canada (15.5%), Ireland (16.8%), Turkey, United Kingdom, Italy, the United States (22.4%), and Mexico (26.2%). In the league table of absolute child poverty, the bottom four places are occupied by Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.” “The countries with the lowest child poverty rates allocate the highest proportions of GNP to social expenditures (Figure 8). Differences in tax and social expenditure policies mean that some nations reduce ‘market child poverty’ by as much as 20 percentage points and others by as little as 5 percentage points (Figure 9).”

2000-12-05 The editorial in the Toronto Star dealt with child poverty in Canada.

2000-11-24 The National Post published an editorial dismissing Campaign 2000′s Annual National Report Card on Child Poverty in Canada (Rothman 2000).

2000 Almost 1 in 5 children still living in poverty in Ontario.

2000 “In the absence of an official poverty line in Canada, Campaign 2000 ascribes to the position held by most Canadian social policy organizations studying the issue and by UNICEF. UNICEF uses a relative measure of poverty to describe those whose material, cultural and social resources are so limited as to exclude them from the minimum acceptable way of life where they live (Rothman 2000).”

2000 Table 1. shows the percentage of children living in ‘relative’ poverty, defined as households with income below 50 per cent of the national median. Using this standard of relative poverty countries at the bottom of the list included Canada (15.5%), Ireland (16.8%), Turkey, UK, Italy, USA (22.4), Mexico (26.2%), . Innocenti Report Card. Issue No. 1. (UNICEF 2000)

1990s

1990s “The recession of the 1990s generated a much bigger escalation of poverty [than the 1980s], both in magnitude and duration, because a protracted period of job loss ran into the scaling back of unemployment insurance and social assistance by federal and provincial governments [tough-love approaches] (Yalnizyan 2010-06-21).”

1990s “The growth in the number of low-income families in the City of Toronto in the 1990s was alarming, soaring from 41,670 at the start of the 1990s to 84,750 by the decade’s end. The factors that contributed to this change are well known – the deep recession in the early 1990s, corporate downsizing, the rise in precarious employment, decreased access to Employment Insurance, reduced welfare payments, and the barriers that skilled immigrants faced finding work for which they were qualified (UWGT 2007:40).”

1998 The National Child Benefit Supplement was added to the CCTB to provide increased benefits to all low-income families including those without taxable income.

1997 Senator Ermine Cohen wrote a report on child poverty in Canada, entitled “Sounding the Alarm: Poverty in Canada.”8 “It was intended to ―revisit the commitments made in the 1971 Croll Report and to evaluate progress a quarter-century later. Her report provided useful snapshots of poverty experienced by those who were working and those who were not, among over-represented groups including Aboriginal peoples, people with disabilities, youth and seniors. She considered the role of the labour market, our international obligations, and more themes that emerged again in our study. Harshly critical of our ―tax and transfer‖ system, the report called for changes, as did the Croll report before it. Too few have been implemented SSCSAST 2009-12. p. 24).”

1996 The number of Canadians living under the low-income cut-off after taxes was 11.6 per cent in 1980, according to Statistics Canada, far lower than the 1996 peak of 15.7 per cent (Yalnizyan cited in Ligaya 2007).

1995-2005 The national Irish government set firm targets, created timetables and reported annually so the public could easily see progress being made against poverty. In this way they reduced poverty from 15 per cent to 6.8 per cent (Yalnizyan in Monsebraaten and Daly 2007).

1995 The World Summit for Social Development was held in Copenhagen. The Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action was adopted. The Copenhagen stressed the urgent need for countries to deal with social problems such as poverty, unemployment and social exclusion (Symonides 1998). This was the largest gathering ever of world leaders. The declarations, programmes included a pledge to put people at the centre of development, to conquer poverty, to ensure full employment, to foster social integration (Development 1995).

1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was held in Rio de Janeiro. “At this conference it was recognized that extreme poverty and social exclusion of vulnerable groups persisted and inequalities had become increasingly dramatic in spite of economic development. At this conference the term sustainable development referred to “economic development, social development and environmental protection as interdependent and mutually reinforcing components (Symonides 1998:3).”

1991 Canada experienced a transformational recession for the labour market and began emerging from that only in 1997 (Yalnizyan cited in Ligaya 2007).

1980s

1989-11-24 The child poverty rate in Canada was 11.7%. On November 24, 1989, the House of Commons unanimously passed a resolution to seek to achieve “the goal of eliminating poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000 (Campaign 2000 ).”

1989 The Canadian Parliament unanimously supported a resolution to eliminate child poverty by 2000.

1988 The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, located in Florence, Italy, was established in 1988 to strengthen the research capability of the United Nations Children’s Fund and to amplify its voice as an advocate for children worldwide.

1980s and 1990s Single mothers, disabled people, aboriginal Canadians and immigrants suffered cuts in welfare payments (which are too meagre to keep someone above the country’s de facto poverty line) when governments, both federal and provincial, cut public spending to restore fiscal health (The Economist 2010-11-25).

1981-82 Canada experienced a transformational recession for the labour market and it took the country about eight years to climb out of the rut (Yalnizyan cited in Ligaya 2007).

1980 The number of Canadians living under the low-income cut-off after taxes was 11.6 per cent in 1980, according to Statistics Canada, far lower than the 1996 peak of 15.7 per cent (Yalnizyan cited in Ligaya 2007). “In 1980, the disparity between the top income-earning category and the lowest was $83,000, according to Statistics Canada. By 2005, that gap had reached $105,400 (Shapcott cited in Ligaya 2007).”

1970s

1971Senator David Arnold Croll, PC, QC published his influential “Report of the Special Senate Committee on Poverty” (Croll Report) which began with the words “the poor do not choose poverty. It is at once their affliction and our national shame. The children of the poor (and there are many) are the most helpless victims of all, and find even less hope in a society where welfare systems from the very beginning destroys their chances of a better life.” The report moved the Trudeau government to triple family allowances in 1973 and institute the Child Tax Credit in 1978. Aside from his work on poverty, he was also responsible for Senate reports on aging. In 1990 in recognition of his contributions, he was sworn into the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, an honour usually given only to federal cabinet ministers.

1950s

1950 [In 2000] despite a doubling and redoubling of national incomes in most nations since 1950, a significant percentage of their children are still living in families so materially poor that normal health and growth are at risk. And as the tables show, a far larger proportion remain in the twilight world of relative poverty; their physical needs may be minimally catered for, but they are painfully excluded from the activities and advantages that are considered normal by their peers (UNICEF. 2001. Innocenti Report Card. Issue No. 1.).”

Note: In 2011 Canada still does not have an official poverty line although most data on poverty is presented using the uniquely Canadian Low Income Cut-off (LICO) After-Tax Measure, which is based on a complex calculation.1. The major weakness of LICO as a measurement tool is partly that since 1992, LICO has only been updated for inflation and not other changes in the expenditure pattern of Canadian families. Statistics Canada has no plans to update LICO (In This Together: Ending Poverty in Alberta. Campaign 2000 is considering transitioning from LICO to the Low Income Measure (LIM) (After-Tax) starting in 2012. LIM, is based on 50% of median family income, is a more easily understood measure. LIM is updated every year. LIM is used internationally while LICO is only used in Canada. As shown on Chart 1, in their report, “in the 1990s LICO poverty rates were higher than LIM rates. In the 2000s LICO rates have been consistently lower. In 2009, the Alberta child poverty rate was 9.3% using LICO, compared to 12.8% using LIM (In This Together: Ending Poverty in Alberta.”

Bibliography and Webliography

Battle, Ken. 2008-01. “A Bigger and Better Child Benefit: A $5,000 Canada Child Tax Benefit.” Caledon Institute. Ottawa, ON p.3.

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. 2009-12. “In From the Margins: a Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness.” Subcommittee on Cities. Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada.

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. 2008-06. “Poverty, Housing and Homelessness: Issues and Options.” Subcommittee on Cities. Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada.

Public Interest Alberta, the Alberta College of Social Workers, and the Edmonton Social Planning Council. 2011-11. “In This Together: Ending Poverty in Alberta.” Edmonton, AB. ISBN 978-0-921417-60-6.

Atkinson, A. B. Macroeconomics and the Social Dimension.

Barata, Pedro. 2000-12-06. “No surplus for kids.” Letter of the Day. Toronto Star.

Bradshaw, J. and Mayhew, E. (eds.) 2005. The well-being of children in the UK, Save the Children. London.

Campaign 2000. 2006. “Oh Canada! Too Many Children in Poverty for Too Long.”

Campaign 2000. 2007. “It Takes a Nation to Raise a Generation: 2007 Report Card on Child & Family Poverty in Canada.”

Campion-Smith, Bruce. 2007. “Ontario leads in child poverty.” Feature on Poverty. Toronto Star. November 26.

CBC. 2006. “Aboriginal children are poorest in country: report: B.C. and Newfoundland have highest rates; Alberta and P.E.I. have lowest rates.” November 24, 2006.

CBC. 2007. “Child poverty rates unchanged in nearly 2 decades: report.” November 26.

CBC. 2011-11-24. “As child poverty spikes, conference aims for solutions.”

Drummond, Don & Tulk, David (2006) Lifestyles of the Rich and Unequal: an Investigation into Wealth Inequality in Canada. TD Bank Financial Group.

The Economist. 2010-11. “The persistence of poverty amid plenty.” The Economist.

Ligaya, Armina. 2007. “The debate over Canada’s poverty line.” CBC News On-line. November 12.

Marlier, E.; Atkinson, A.B.; Cantillon, B.; Nolan,B. 2006. The EU and social inclusion: Facing the challenges. Policy Press: Bristol.

Mcquaig, Linda. 1995. Shooting the Hippo: Death by Deficit and Other Canadian Myths. Toronto, Viking.

Mcquaig, Linda. 1998. The Cult of Impotence: Selling the Myth of Powerlessness in the Global Economy. Toronto, Penguin Books.

McMahon. Fred. 2000. “The true measure of poverty.” Op-Ed. Peterborough Examiner on ?

Monsebraaten, Laurie; Daly, Rita. 2007. “In search of a poverty strategy.” Toronto Star. May 09.

Monsebraaten, Laurie; Daly, Rita. 2007. “Toronto families slip into poverty.” Toronto Star. November 26.

Richards, John. Reducing Poverty: What has worked, and what should come next.

Rifkin, Jeremy P. 2004. The European Dream: How Europe’s Vision of the Future is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream. Jeremy P. Tarcher, ISBN 1-58542-345-9

Rothman, Laurel. 2000. “Richer, poorer.” Letter to the Editor. National Post. Toronto. December.

Rothman, Laurel; Shillington, Richard. 2000. “A place for every child: building an inclusive society.” Peterborough Examiner. December 7.

Statistics Canada. 2006. “National balance sheet accounts: Third Quarter”. Press Release. Ottawa, ON. December 15, 2006.

UNICEF. 2001. Innocenti Report Card. Issue No. 1.

UNICEF. 2007. “Child poverty in perspective: An overview of child well-being in rich countries: The most comprehensive assessment to date of the lives and well-being of children and adolescents in the economically advanced nations.” Innocenti Report Card 7, 2007. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence.

United Way of Greater Toronto. 2007. Losing Ground: The Persistent Growth of Family Poverty in Canada’s Largest City.

Yalnizyan, Armine. 2010. “Canada’s Poverty Hole: New income data suggests troubling poverty trends are unfolding in Canada.” National Office. June 21, 2010

YWCA. 2011-03. “Educated, Employed and Equal” the Economic Prosperity Case for National Child Care.”


In the 199os an artist-musician and close friend originally from Haiti, Emmanuel Printemps, used to visit us regularly on Friday evenings and we would ask him to share his music with us and our other guests. We always requested one of his most moving, enchanting Creole songs, the powerful but sad story of the local butcher who lost his livelihood during the pig slaughter. As I follow the events in Haiti since the earthquake, I think of these precious friends from another time and place; they and their families are in our hearts and prayers.

Rural peasants in Haiti raised a very hardy breed of creole pigs which along with goats, chickens, and cattle served as a savings account. It was argued that from 1978 to 1982 about 1/3 of Haiti’s pigs became infected with the highly contagious African Swine Fever (ASF) in an epidemic that had spread along the Artibonite River shared with the Dominican Republic whose pigs had caught the virus from European sources. At first peasants were encouraged to slaughter their own pigs but then the Haitian government proceeded on a total eradication program that virtually wiped out what remained of the 1.2-million pig population by 1982. Farmers argued that they were not adequately compensated for their losses. The more robust creole pigs were replaced with a sentinel breed of U. S. pigs that were not adapted to Haiti’s ecosystem or market. For Haiti’s rural peasants the loss of income due to the virus and the government’s controversial eradication and repopulation programs led to further impoverishment and greater hardship, ultimately resulting in greater political instability.

View

In two webviral posts entitled “The Hate and the Quake: Rebuilding Haiti” by scholar, historian Sir Hilary Beckles of the University of the West Indies, (Beckles 2010-01-19) that are now circling the globe , we need to do some memory work before we conclude that Haitians are the architects of their own impoverishment.

In this seminal retelling of Haiti’s history,  (Beckles 2010-01-19) reminds us all that when Haiti provided freedom and the right of citizenship to any person of African descent who arrived on the shores of the newly formed Haitian republic (1805), the newly formed nation-state (1804) was strategically punished by Western countries, through economic isolation ( (Beckles 2010-01-19)).

From 1805 through 1825 Haiti was completely denied access to world trade, finance, and institutional development in “the most vicious example of national strangulation recorded in modern history ( (Beckles 2010-01-19)).”

In 1825 in an attempt to be a part of international markets, Haiti entered into negotiations with France which resulted in payment of a reparation fee of 150 million gold francs to be paid to France in return for national recognition. The installments were made from 1825 until 1922. From 1825-1900 alone this amounted to 70% of Haiti’s foreign exchange earnings. Beckles (2010-01-) argues that this merciless exploitation caused the Haitian economy to collapse  (Beckles 2010-01-19).

Furthermore, when Haiti’s coffee or sugar yields declined, the Haitian government had to borrow money from the United States at double the going interest rate in order to repay their punishing debt to the French government (Beckles 2010-01-19) .

From 1915-1934 the United States occupied Haiti under orders of President Woodrow Wilson in response to concerns that Haiti was unable to make its considerable loan payments to American banks to which Haiti was deeply in debt. The brutal U.S. occupation of Haiti caused problems that lasted long after 1934.

Webliography and Bibliography

Beckles, Hilary. 2010-01-19. “The Hate and the Quake: Rebuilding Haiti.” Posted by Sir Hilary Beckles on Jan 19th, 2010 and filed under Caribbean.

Beckles, Hilary. 2010-01-31. “The Hate and the Quake: Part 2” Sir Hilary Beckles, Contributor

According to the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, one of the most widely-cited surveys in the United States conducted by the Institute for Social Research (ISR), one of the oldest social science research organizations, and a world leader in the development and application of social science methodology, wealth disparities continue to intensify. There is a gaping difference in how income groups experience the financial situation. ISR Director Richard Curtin warned that the the “largest proportion of consumers in nearly two decades reported financial distress, especially households with incomes below $75,000. economic” and that, “Households with incomes under $75,000 were twice as likely as higher income groups to report that their finances had worsened due to both higher food and fuel prices as well as smaller income increases. “Over the past decades, whether inflation was much higher or lower, or incomes grew faster or more slowly, there has never been such a wide divergence in the experiences across income groups.”

Curtin, Richard T. 2008. “Consumer Growth Engine: Barely Above Stall Speed.” Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers. January 2008. PR200801.pdf

“Although there was a small recent gain in consumer sentiment, confidence remains significantly below last January’s level, declining by one-fifth during the past twelve months. [. . .] Higher food, gas, and heating costs as well as declines in the value of homes and stocks left nearly every consumer feeling more vulnerable. “Consumers have adopted more cautious spending plans, with the expected growth in real personal consumption spending starting at about 1.0% in the 1st quarter of 2008 and then rising slowly in the balance of the year,” according to Curtin. Residential investment will continue to slump until late 2008 and then begin to grow very slowly.

The risk that a recession develops remains uncomfortably high. “The most likely prospect is that the rate of overall economic growth will be about zero in the first half of 2008, with nearly equal probabilities that it will be slightly above zero as slightly below zero,” Curtin said. The surveys have continued to record the largest gap in more than a quarter century in how different groups assessed their financial situation. [. . .] More homeowners reported that their home had lost value than reported it had increased for the first time in the nearly two decades the question has been asked. “The housing market will not benefit as quickly as in the past from cuts in interest rates given the near universal rise in credit standards as well as continued declines in home values making even refinancing more difficult,” Curtin noted. [. . .] The increase in job and income uncertainty has affected vehicle buying plans. Overall, vehicle buying attitudes in January were the least favorable since the 1990-91 recession (Curtin 2008-01).”

CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2008. “ISR’s January 2008 Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers Claims Wealth Inequalities Continue to Increase.” >> Google Docs. Uploaded February 15, 2008. http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddp3qxmz_519fxqgr5gv

Save to deli.cio.us

[a href="http://del.icio.us/post">Save to deli.cio.us</a]


How can a Canadian social scientist in 2007 set aside economic development, energy security, youth perspectives, mental and spiritual health issues to focus on climate change as it related to hunting, sea ice, and the maintenance of an Inuit [pre-contact?] way of life? What kind of questions were posed in encounters with “Inuit in their homes, in their offices, at the hotel, on the street, [. . .] on weekends as well as weekdays?” How much trust and intimacy can you develop in each community as you seek Inuit to gather impressions when the six-week enquiry is divided between tiny, remote towns, communities and hamlets like Nain in northern Labrador; Kuujjuaq in Nunavik; Iqaluit, Igloolik, Arctic Bay in Nunavut; Yellowknife, NWT and the Inuvialuit in western Arctic Ocean communities like Paulatuk and Tuktoyaktuk reached in twenty-five zigzag flights covering 24,000 kilometres? How does that put people in the picture in our studies of the Arctic? Where is the background context based on Inuit-initiated research? Where are the sources so a public policy researcher can follow through with questions arising from this article? Has this article and lecture by the same name helped in anyway to revisit the distorted history of the Inuit as called for in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People (1996)? These are some of the questions in response to Griffiths’ (2007) article published in the Walrus magazine. 

 It is misleading to suggest that increased suicide will be a future unintended consequence of the destruction of the Inuit lifestyle without acknowledging the heart-rending on-going tragedy of youth suicide epidemic, with rates that are among the highest in the planet, that directly or indirectly touches every northern Inuit community as well as thousands of urban Inuit in the south. How can any social scientist claim a people-centred ethnography while skimming over key social issues and structional changes affecting Inuit lives such as land claims implementation and human rights concerns regarding access to housing, employment, health and education services (the early exit from schooling). Two or three well-edited and well-researched paragraphs could have briefly traced a critical Inuit social history to dismantle some of the commonly held myths about the north. Readers would have benefited from a more accurate thumbnail sketch of the complexity of Inuit today: linguistic disparities, Inuit governing bodies, local initiatives, the long history of meddling in Inuit affairs by successive waves of interlopers. At the end of the lecture did the assistant from PEI understand that Inuit do not live in igloos anymore and that there are Inuit hunters who are politically-saavy individuals with cellphones and computers who travel frequently to regional, national and international conferences. Did no Inuit in his travels mention the northerly creep of flora and fauna? Would Griffiths not have found both those who are deeply troubled, skeptical or even optimistic about climate change among Newfoundland fishers, PEI farmers, Alberta ranchers, First Nations hunters? Would isolationist southern fishers, farmers and ranchers not also be found to be ruled by immediacy, pragmatic and immediate in their responses to climate change? “As in the Arctic, local opinion tends to be conservative. Quite apart from the collapse of Canadian historical awareness and our ability to interrogate the future, opinion everywhere is presentist in its intent to keep things as they are (Griffiths 2007).” Did Griffiths manage to make meaningful any larger significance derived from local observations he gathered in six weeks?

“Inuit in particular may have something to tell us about civility as we extend it from the domain of human relations to that of nature at a time when the human condition is directly threatened by civilization (Griffiths 2007).”

“A crisis narrative is one that tells of impending disaster, explains why it is coming, and instructs the threatened in what to do. It is presented by others, familiar or foreign, who seek to persuade us of their view of our situation, and of our need to join promptly in the measures they recommend. But for those who already see themselves as put upon by unfamiliar or foreign others, the call to accept a crisis narrative is especially galling. A discourse of disaster that originates with others who are known to be dominant cannot but present a threat to our autonomy, to our ability to set our own priorities, to trust what we observe and experience in our everyday lives. This is what Louis Tapardjuk was talking about in Igloolik. Accepted, crisis narratives legitimate the authority and control of distant experts, officials, and decision-makers. They open the way to large-scale intrusions into our way of life (Griffiths 2007).”

Franklyn Griffiths, George Ignatieff Chair emeritus of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto and co-founder of the Arctic Council, “travelled from one end of Canada’s Arctic to the other — from northern Labrador to the mouth of the Mackenzie River — between late April and early June. Seeking out and gathering impressions in encounters with Inuit from Nain to Kuujjuaq and Iqaluit to Igloolik and Arctic Bay, and on out to Yellowknife, Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk, and Paulatuk, I flew some 24,000 kilometres in twenty-five flights. His initial contacts were with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK). [. . .] I saw Inuit in their homes, in their offices, at the hotel, on the street, wherever I could, on weekends as well as weekdays. Setting aside economic development, energy security, youth perspectives, public health including the mental and spiritual, and any number of other possible themes, I determined to centre on climate change as it related to hunting, sea ice, and the maintenance of an Inuit way of life (Griffiths 2007).”

James Lovelock (2006) in his fictional horror story of climate change, a sensationalist crisis narrative, The Revenge of Gaia, described a world that’s became so unbearably hot that almost all humanity was destroyed and the last remnants of humankind subsisted in the High Arctic where they were forced to relocate. It became so hot there would be camels in the Arctic.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, “the former international chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, who is seeking to bring the US government before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. She and other Canadian and Alaskan Inuit claim that the Inuit way of life is being destroyed as a consequence of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the United States (Griffiths 2007).”

Inuvialuit in communities like Paulatuk and Tuktoyaktuk “are the most clearly menaced by foreseeable change, which could see average surface air temperature rise by as much as 6°C by the end of the century — about three times the expected global mean increase (Griffiths 2007).”

“[T]he Arctic is the world’s climate change barometer. Inuit are the mercury in that barometer. What is happening in the Arctic now will happen soon further south.” Inuit are adaptable and resourceful, she added. But she also foresaw “a time — well within the lifetime of my eight-year-old grandson — when environmental change will be so great that Inuit will no longer be able to maintain their hunting culture. Global warming has become the ultimate threat to Inuit culture and our survival as an indigenous people.” Speaking on her behalf to a meeting in New York, Mary Simon drew Watt-Cloutier’s message to a very fine point a couple of years earlier: “When we can no longer hunt on the sea ice and eat what we hunt, we will no longer exist as a people (Griffiths 2007).”

Kusugak’s (2006) Unikkaaqatigiit Putting the Human Face on Climate Change: Perspectives from Inuit in Canada publication refers to the fearful possibility of “having to completely reinvent what it means to be Inuit.”

Who’s Who

2000 Of all Inuit it was the Inuvialuit who first took climate change seriously, this with a path-breaking video co-produced with the International Institute for Sustainable Development and presented to Kyoto delegations at The Hague in 2000. Today, the Inuvialuit are planning for the relocation of coastal communities threatened by intense storm activity and rising sea levels (Griffiths 2007).”

2006 Kusugak, Jose. 2006. Unikkaaqatigiit Putting the Human Face on Climate Change: Perspectives from Inuit in Canada.

2007 Organized by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and held six times a year, the Breakfast on the Hill Lecture Series brings together parliamentarians, government officials, the media and the general public to hear important research on pertinent issues. In this November 22nd lecture, Franklyn Griffiths, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and George Ignatieff Chair Emeritus of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto, presented his findings on climate change, the Inuit and Arctic sovereignty. Entitled “Camels in the Arctic?“, this lecture is based on research Griffiths did while traveling in the Arctic.

2007 Griffiths, Franklyn. 2007. “Camels in the Arctic?” Walrus Magazine. November 30.

Kusugak, Jose. 2006. Unikkaaqatigiit Putting the Human Face on Climate Change: Perspectives from Inuit in Canada.
Franklyn Griffiths is George Ignatieff Chair emeritus of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto. He helped establish the Arctic Council.

Jose Kusugak is a past president of the national Inuit organization, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK)

Webliography and Bibliography

Griffiths, Franklyn. 2007. “Camels in the Arctic?” Walrus Magazine. November 30.

Griffiths, Franklyn. 2007. “Camels in the Arctic?” Breakfast on the Hill Lecture Series. November 22. Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

http://cpac.ca/forms/index.asp?dsp=template&act=view3&pagetype=vod&lang=e&clipID=513

CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Inuit Communities as the New DEW Line: Camels in the Arctic?” >> Google Docs. November 30, 2007.

CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Inuit Communities as the New DEW Line: Camels in the Arctic?” >> papergirls. November 30, 2007.

post to del.icio.us.


Key words

Absolute measure of poverty is the standard used by the U.S. If a family can afford a modicum level of food, clothing and shelter they are not considered poor. The U.S.A. is the only OECD country that uses an absolute measure of poverty in order to capture how social inequality impacts the well-being of children (UNICEF. Child Poverty in Rich Nations. Innocenti Report Card. Issue No. 1, June 2000.)

Lebenslage is a concept “defining child well-being by the scope given for the development of each child’s interests and capabilities”. Austria, France and Germany are using Lebenslage as part of their efforts to develop multi-dimensional indicators of the well-being of children.

LICO Statistic Canada’s Low Income Cut Off. Although Canada does not have a measure of poverty the LICO is the most accepted. LICO measures the number of families who are below the low-income cut-off (LICO), which means those who spend 20 percentage points more of their gross income on food, shelter and clothing than the average Canadian. This figure is often used as the unofficial “poverty line.”The Fraser Institute’s social-policy director Fred McMahon claims the LICO is too broad. McMahon promotes the absolute measure of poverty as used in the USA.

LIM Statistics Canada’s Low-Income Measure is a purely relative measure of “poverty” which is calculated each year from taxfiler information. The LIM is equal to onehalf of the median income of Canadian families, adjusted for family size and composition. Statistics Canada advises that the LIM produces a slightly more conservative estimate of “poverty” in a large urban area like Toronto, compared to the LICO, because of Toronto’s higher cost of living. This means that fewer households will be counted as being in “poverty” using the LIM (UWGT 2007:39).

Poverty line: “In the absence of an official poverty line in Canada, Campaign 2000 ascribes to the position held by most Canadian social policy organizations studying the issue and by UNICEF. UNICEF uses a relative measure of poverty to describe those whose material, cultural and social resources are so limited as to exclude them from the minimum acceptable way of life where they live (Rothman 2000).”

Relative measure of poverty, defined as households with income below 50 per cent of the national median. It is noteworthy that all OECD countries, except the U.S., use a relative measure of poverty in order to capture how social inequality impacts the well-being of children. UNICEF has sided with a relative approach to understanding poverty and has described the plight of children in industrial societies as the “twilight world in which . . . physical needs may be minimally catered for, but . . . painfully excluded from the activities and advantages that are considered normal by their peers.” (UNICEF. Child Poverty in Rich Nations. Innocenti Report Card. Issue No. 1, June 2000.) “In recent years, relative child poverty has become a key indicator for the governments of many OECD countries. The European Union’s efforts to monitor its Social Inclusion Programme, for example, include relative child poverty and the percentage of children in workless families as the only indicators specifically related to children (drawing the poverty line as the proportion of children in each country living in households with an equivalent income of less than 60% of the median for that country) (http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/rc7_eng.pdf).

Who’s Who

Atkinson, A. B. is an economist who wrote Macroeconomics and the Social Dimension which informed part of the “Child Poverty in Rich Nations” Innocenti Report Card. Issue No. 1, June 2000.

Campaign 2000 “is a cross-Canada public education movement to build Canadian awareness and support for the 1989 all-party House of Commons resolution to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2000. Campaign 2000 began in 1991 out of concern about the lack of government progress in addressing child poverty. Campaign 2000 is non-partisan in urging all Canadian elected officials to keep their promise to Canada’s children (Campaign 2000 ).” Campaign 2000 puts out an annual national Report Card on Child Poverty in Canada measuring the progress, or lack of progress, of the 1989 unanimous all-party resolution. Campaign 2000 Discussion Papers (including our most recent policy paper called Pathways to Progress) contain a set of proposals for public policies and social investments based on the life cycle approach to addressing child poverty. Its 2007 Report Card on Child & Family Poverty in Canada was financially supported by the Family Service Association of Toronto and United Way of Greater Toronto. Their impressive list of partners include a few in Alberta: Public Interest Alberta, Edmonton Social Planning Council, Jewish Family Service (Calgary). There is no partner in Nunavut.

CCPA Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Armine Yalnizyan is an economist and research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

C.D. Howe Institute “John Richards, an economist and professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, says this good fortune signals that anti-poverty initiatives implemented during the last decade are working. His report for the C.D. Howe Institute is entitled Reducing Poverty: What has worked, and what should come next.”

Wellesley Institute in Toronto: “Michael Shapcott, a long-time poverty activist and policy analyst at the Wellesley Institute in Toronto, says the big flaw Richards is making is the assumption that all the people who are off welfare are now gainfully employed (Ligaya 2007).”

EU-SILC European Union Community Statistics on Income and Living Conditions. “Since 2004, the 25 countries of the European Union (EU) have been developing a new statistical data source, EU-SILC which “aims to become the reference source of comparative statistics on income distribution and living conditions within the EU. A primary purpose of EU-SILC is to monitor the common indicators (the so-called Laeken Indicators) by which the EU has agreed to measure its progress towards reducing poverty and social exclusion. EU-SILC therefore replaces the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) which was the main source of such data from 1994 until 2001 (for the then 15 Member States of the EU). Designed to fill some of the acknowledged gaps and weaknesses of the ECHP, EU-SILC collects every year comparable and up-to-date cross-sectional data on income, poverty, social exclusion and other aspects of living conditions – as well as longitudinal data on income and on a limited set of non-monetary indicators of social exclusion. The first EU-SILC data for all 25 Member States of the current EU, plus Norway and Iceland, should be available by the end of 2006. The first 4-year longitudinal data on ‘those at-persistent-risk-of-poverty’ will be available by the beginning of 2010. In addition to populating these core indicators, each round of EU-SILC also gathers data on one particular theme – beginning in 2005 with data on the intergenerational transmission of poverty.” (http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/rc7_eng.pdf. For more see (Marlier, Atkinson, Cantillon and Nolan 2006.)

Fraser Institute. Fred McMahon

OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The Innocenti Report Cards investigate child well-being in rich nations. The series draws data from the 29 members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the countries that produce two-thirds of the world’s goods and services. The OECD member countries are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America. “All families in OECD countries today are aware that childhood is being reshaped by forces whose mainspring is not necessarily the best interests of the child. At the same time, a wide public in the OECD countries is becoming ever more aware that many of the corrosive social problems affecting the quality of life have their genesis in the changing ecology of childhood. Many therefore feel that it is time to attempt to re-gain a degree of understanding, control and direction over what is happening to our children in their most vital, vulnerable years. That process begins with measurement and monitoring. And it is as a contribution to that process that the Innocenti Research Centre has published this initial attempt at a multi-dimensional overview of child well-being in the countries of the OECD.” (UNICEF. Child Poverty in Rich Nations. Innocenti Report Card. Issue No. 1, June 2000.)

OECD PISA Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, located in Florence, Italy, was established in 1988 to strengthen the research capability of the United Nations Children’s Fund and to amplify its voice as an advocate for children worldwide. The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre studies how such poverty can best be defined, measured, and reduced. The Innocenti Research Centre provides an in-depth annual report on child poverty. In 2007 the “report builds and expands upon the analyses of Report Card No. 6 which considered relative income poverty affecting children and policies to mitigate it. Report Card 7 provides a pioneering, comprehensive picture of child well being through the consideration of six dimensions: material well-being, health and safety, education, family and peer relationships, subjective well-being, behaviours and lifestyles informed by the Convention on the rights of the child and relevant academic literature.” UNICEF. 2007. “Report Card on Child Well-being in Rich Countries.”

WHO HBSC World Health Organization’s survey of Health Behaviour in School-age Children (HBSC) http://www.hbsc.org/index.html

Timeline

1950 [In 2000] despite a doubling and redoubling of national incomes in most nations since 1950, a significant percentage of their children are still living in families so materially poor that normal health and growth are at risk. And as the tables show, a far larger proportion remain in the twilight world of relative poverty; their physical needs may be minimally catered for, but they are painfully excluded from the activities and advantages that are considered normal by their peers (UNICEF. 2001. Innocenti Report Card. Issue No. 1.).”

1980 The number of Canadians living under the low-income cut-off after taxes was 11.6 per cent in 1980, according to Statistics Canada, far lower than the 1996 peak of 15.7 per cent (Yalnizyan cited in Ligaya 2007). “In 1980, the disparity between the top income-earning category and the lowest was $83,000, according to Statistics Canada. By 2005, that gap had reached $105,400 (Shapcott cited in Ligaya 2007).”

1981-82 Canada experienced a transformational recession for the labour market and it took the country about eight years to climb out of the rut (Yalnizyan cited in Ligaya 2007).

1988 The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, located in Florence, Italy, was established in 1988 to strengthen the research capability of the United Nations Children’s Fund and to amplify its voice as an advocate for children worldwide.

1989-11-24 The child poverty rate in Canada was 11.7%. On November 24, 1989, the House of Commons unanimously passed a resolution to seek to achieve “the goal of eliminating poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000 (Campaign 2000 ).”

1991 Canada experienced a transformational recession for the labour market and began emerging from that only in 1997 (Yalnizyan cited in Ligaya 2007).

1990s “The growth in the number of low-income families in the City of Toronto in the 1990s was alarming, soaring from 41,670 at the start of the 1990s to 84,750 by the decade’s end. The factors that contributed to this change are well known – the deep recession in the early 1990s, corporate downsizing, the rise in precarious employment, decreased access to Employment Insurance, reduced welfare payments, and the barriers that skilled immigrants faced finding work for which they were qualified (UWGT 2007:40).

1995-2005 The national Irish government set firm targets, created timetables and reported annually so the public could easily see progress being made against poverty. In this way they reduced poverty from 15 per cent to 6.8 per cent (Yalnizyan in Monsebraaten and Daly 2007).

1996 The number of Canadians living under the low-income cut-off after taxes was 11.6 per cent in 1980, according to Statistics Canada, far lower than the 1996 peak of 15.7 per cent (Yalnizyan cited in Ligaya 2007).

2000-06-01 Innocenti Report Card. Issue No. 1. The first Innocenti Report Card presents the most comprehensive analysis to date of child poverty in the nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “Whether measured by relative or absolute poverty, the top six places in the child poverty league are occupied by the same six nations – all of which combine a high degree of economic development with a reasonable degree of equity” In the league table of relative child poverty, the bottom seven places are occupied by the Canada (15.5%), Ireland (16.8%), Turkey, United Kingdom, Italy, the United States (22.4%), and Mexico (26.2%). In the league table of absolute child poverty, the bottom four places are occupied by Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland.” “The countries with the lowest child poverty rates allocate the highest proportions of GNP to social expenditures (Figure 8). Differences in tax and social expenditure policies mean that some nations reduce ‘market child poverty’ by as much as 20 percentage points and others by as little as 5 percentage points (Figure 9).”

2000 Table 1. shows the percentage of children living in ‘relative’ poverty, defined as households with income below 50 per cent of the national median. Using this standard of relative poverty countries at the bottom of the list included Canada (15.5%), Ireland (16.8%), Turkey, UK, Italy, USA (22.4), Mexico (26.2%), . Innocenti Report Card. Issue No. 1. http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/repcard1e.pdf

2000-12-05 The editorial in the Toronto Star dealt with child poverty in Canada.

2000-12-06 A letter entitled “No surplus for kids” by Pedro Barata, the Ontario Coordinator of Campaign 2000, was published in the Toronto Star. Barata asked, “Why is it that Ontario was one of only two provinces where since 1996 poor families fell deeper below the poverty line?” or, “Why does Ontario have the highest monthly fees for child care in Canada?”

2000 Almost 1 in 5 children still living in poverty in Ontario

2000-11-24 The National Post published an editorial dismissing Campaign 2000′s Annual National Report Card on Child Poverty in Canada (Rothman 2000). Nov. 24

2000-12 Laurel Rothman, the National Coordinator of Campaign 2000 wrote a Letter to the Editor entitled “Richer, poorer” to the National Post in response to their editorial dismissing Campaign 2000′s annual report card (Rothman 2000).

2001-05 The National Council on Welfare using the LICO claimed that 5 million Canadians are living in poverty.

2002 Quebec introduced anti-poverty legislation. The “Province of Quebec and Ireland have tackled poverty head on, with impressive results that show poverty reduction can be achieved against planned goals (UWGT 2007:73).

2004 Since 2004, the 25 countries of the European Union (EU) have been developing a new statistical data source, known as Community Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). EU-SILC aims to become the reference source of comparative statistics on income distribution and living conditions within the EU. A primary purpose of EU-SILC is to monitor the common indicators (the so-called Laeken Indicators) by which the EU has agreed to measure its progress towards reducingpoverty and social exclusion. EU-SILC therefore replaces the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) which was the main source of such data from 1994 until 2001 (for the then 15 Member States of the EU). Designed to fill some of the acknowledged gaps and weaknesses of the ECHP, EU-SILC collects every year comparable and up-to-date cross-sectional data on income, poverty, social exclusion and other aspects of living conditions – as well as longitudinal data on income and on a limited set of non-monetary indicators of social exclusion. The first EU-SILC data for all 25 Member States of the current EU, plus Norway and Iceland, should be available by the end of 2006. The first 4-year longitudinal data on ‘those at-persistent-risk-of-poverty’ will be available by the beginning of 2010. In addition to populating these core indicators, each round of EU-SILC also gathers data on one particular theme – beginning in 2005 with data on the intergenerational transmission of poverty (http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/rc7_eng.pdf.

2005 According to Stats Canada the disparity between the top income-earning category and the lowest was $105,400 (Shapcott cited in Ligaya 2007). Statistics Canada income figures showed 788,000 children were living in poverty in 2005, a rate of 11.7 per cent.

2005 41 per cent of all low-income children lived in families in Canada where at least one parent had a full-time job (Campion-Smith 2007).

2006 Newfoundland announced a strategy to become the province with the lowest poverty rate by 2016.

2006 20,900 Canadian children used food banks, double the number in 1989.

2006-11-24 CBC news summarized details from the Campaign 2000 (2006) National Annual Report on Child Poverty with the headlines “Aboriginal children are poorest in country: report: B.C. and Newfoundland have highest rates; Alberta and P.E.I. have lowest rates.” November 24, 2006. One aboriginal child in eight is disabled, double the rate of all children in Canada; Among First Nations children, 43 per cent lack basic dental care; Overcrowding among First Nations families is double the rate of that for all Canadian families; Mould contaminates almost half of all First Nations households; Almost half of aboriginal children under 15 years old residing in urban areas live with a single parent; Close to 100 First Nations communities must boil their water; Of all off-reserve aboriginal children, 40 per cent live in poverty. See http://www.campaign2000.ca/rc/rc06/06_C2000NationalReportCard.pdf

2007-03 The Ontario Child Benefit, announced in the March 2007 Ontario Budget, pledged $2.1 billion over the first five years to help low-income families support their children (UWGT 2007:73).

2007-04 Ontario’s provincial budget “put poverty reduction on the agenda with a new Ontario child benefit for all children in low-income families – not just those on welfare. And it outlined a plan for raising the minimum wage to $10.25 by 2010, from $8 today (Monsebraaten and Daly 2007).”

2007-05 A study by economist Yalnizyan was released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, showing a widening income gap in Ontario. “40 per cent of Ontario families have seen no gain in real income – and often a loss – compared with their predecessors 30 years ago. The richest 10 per cent, meanwhile, have seen their incomes soar. And even though Ontario parents are better educated, they spend more time working than the previous generation did, the study says (Monsebraaten and Daly 2007).”

2007-05-09 The former Ontario premier Bob Rae was one of four panellists at at the Toronto Star-sponsored forum on the growing income gap held at the St. Lawrence Centre and attended by 250. Rae argued that, “We now have to restore and renew our commitment to help people in difficult times [to invest] in affordable housing, child care and education” [. . .] Rae noted that Canada is the only government in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that doesn’t have a national housing policy, and that’s reflected in the country’s poverty figures. Economist Yalnizyan, research director of the Toronto Social Planning Council remarked that “Income inequality is the second inconvenient truth in our society. [G]overnments need to act now – not only to tackle poverty, but to ensure everyone is benefiting from a healthy economy (Monsebraaten and Daly 2007).” Stop picking away at the edges of poverty, say forum speakers, and take a leaf from Ireland’s comprehensive plan (Monsebraaten and Daly 2007).” .

2007 The child poverty rate in Canada was still 11.7%. Canada experienced a 50% real increase in the size of its economy from 1989 to 2007.

2007 In 2007 Report Card on Child Well-being in Rich Countries: The most comprehensive assessment to date of the lives and well-being of children and adolescents in the economically advanced nations. builds and expands upon the analyses of Report Card No. 6 which considered relative income poverty affecting children and policies to mitigate it. Report Card 7 provides a pioneering, comprehensive picture of child well being through the consideration of six dimensions: material well-being, health and safety, education, family and peer relationships, subjective well-being, behaviours and lifestyles informed by the Convention on the rights of the child and relevant academic literature.” UNICEF. 2007. “Report Card on Child Well-being in Rich Countries.”2007-11-12 Ligaya, Armina. 2007. “The debate over Canada’s poverty line.” CBC News On-line. http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/economy/poverty-line.html November 12. “[C]hild poverty numbers have not budged at all since 1989 when Canadian parliamentarians stood up and promised to do their best to eradicate it within a decade. Even today, 11.7 per cent of children under 18 are living below the low-income cut-off line.” There are now record numbers of tenants being evicted from their homes and a rising dependency on food banks (Shapcott cited in Ligaya 2007).

2007 “Jean Swanson, co-ordinator of the Carnegie Centre Action project in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, said restricting access to employment insurance and welfare only punishes the poor. The poverty activist said she has watched Canada’s homeless epidemic multiply what she says is 10-fold over the last decade (Ligaya 2007).”

2007-11-26 Campaign 2000 released their national annual report card on poverty in Canada entitled “It Takes a Nation to Raise a Generation: 2007 Report Card on Child & Family Poverty in Canada.” Despite a growing economy, soaring dollar and low employment, 788,000 children (1/8 of Canadian children) live in poverty. Ontario remains the “child poverty capital,” with 345,000 children living in impoverished conditions.

2007-11-26 Almost 30 per cent of Toronto families – approximately 93,000 households raising children – live in poverty, compared with 16 per cent in 1990. [The Mercer annual Cost of Living Survey of 143 major cities around the world measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment. In 2006, Toronto was ranked as the most expensive city in Canada, just slightly ahead of Vancouver.] Since 2000, the city has seen a net loss of jobs, many of them well-paying and unionized, while elsewhere job creation is on the rise. At the same time jobs have been replaced by temporary, part-time and contract work that offer no job security, benefits or eligibility for employment insurance. As a result, an alarming number of households are in deep financial trouble as seen by an increase in the number of evictions, family debt and bankruptcies since 2000, a year when the crippling recession of the 1990s had clearly eased in the rest of the country, the report says. From 1999 to 2006, landlord applications for eviction due to nonpayment of rent climbed from 19,795 to more than 25,000. Also, the number of people receiving credit counselling in Toronto has almost doubled in the past six years to an average of 4,534 per month. Not surprisingly, the number of moneylending outlets has increased almost eightfold since 1995 to more than 300, largely concentrated in the low-income neighbourhoods. United Way of Greater Toronto. 2007. Losing Ground: The Persistent Growth of Family Poverty in Canada’s Largest City, (Monsebraaten and Daly 2007-11-26 ).

Bibliography and Webliography

Atkinson, A. B. Macroeconomics and the Social Dimension.

Barata, Pedro. 2000. “No surplus for kids.” Letter of the Day. Toronto Star. December 6. http://www.campaign2000.ca/res/per/nosurplus.html

Bradshaw, J. and Mayhew, E. (eds.) 2005. The well-being of children in the UK, Save the Children, London.

Campaign 2000. 2006. “Oh Canada! Too Many Children in Poverty for Too Long.”

Campaign 2000. 2007. “It Takes a Nation to Raise a Generation: 2007 Report Card on Child & Family Poverty in Canada.”

Campion-Smith, Bruce. 2007. “Ontario leads in child poverty.” Feature on Poverty. Toronto Star. November 26.

CBC. 2006. “Aboriginal children are poorest in country: report: B.C. and Newfoundland have highest rates; Alberta and P.E.I. have lowest rates.” November 24, 2006.

CBC. 2007. “Child poverty rates unchanged in nearly 2 decades: report.” November 26.

Ligaya, Armina. 2007. “The debate over Canada’s poverty line.” CBC News On-line. http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/economy/poverty-line.html November 12.

Marlier, E.; Atkinson, A.B.; Cantillon, B.; Nolan,B. 2006. The EU and social inclusion: Facing the challenges, Policy Press, Bristol.

McMahon. Fred. 2000. “The true measure of poverty.” Op-Ed. Peterborough Examiner on ?

Monsebraaten, Laurie; Daly, Rita. 2007. “In search of a poverty strategy.” Toronto Star. May 09.

Monsebraaten, Laurie; Daly, Rita. 2007. “Toronto families slip into poverty.” Toronto Star. November 26.

Richards, John. Reducing Poverty: What has worked, and what should come next.

Rothman, Laurel. 2000. “Richer, poorer.” Letter to the Editor. National Post. Toronto. December.

Rothman, Laurel; Shillington, Richard. 2000. “A place for every child: building an inclusive society.” Peterborough Examiner. December 7.

UNICEF. 2001. Innocenti Report Card. Issue No. 1.

UNICEF. 2007. “Child poverty in perspective: An overview of child well-being in rich countries: The most comprehensive assessment to date of the lives and well-being of children and adolescents in the economically advanced nations.” Innocenti Report Card 7, 2007. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence. http://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/rc7_eng.pdf

United Way of Greater Toronto. 2007. Losing Ground: The Persistent Growth of Family Poverty in Canada’s Largest City,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers