Canada's tragic failing grade on child poverty | National Union of Public and General Employees

Canada's tragic failing grade on child poverty

Dismal 15th ranking out of 17 developed countries. Only Japan and the United States were worse. The top-ranked countries are Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Photo credit : Stephen Shames http://stephenshames.com
 
Photo credit : Stephen Shames http://stephenshames.com

Ottawa (21 Sept. 2009) - A report by the Conference Board of Canada says Canada ranks a dismal 15th among 17 developed countries in poverty, mainly because of alarming levels of poverty among children.

The board gives Canada a low grade for its treatment of children living in povery – as defined by the United Nations (UN) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Only Japan and the United States ranked lower.

The top-ranked countries are Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Lead author Brenda Lafleur says the child poverty rate in Canada rose to 15.1% in the mid-2000s from 12.8% in the mid-1990s.

The OECD defines child poverty as the proportion of children under 17 living in households where the disposable income is less than 50% of the median of the country. In Canada, the median income is $63,600 for families with two or more people. For single people, it is $22,800.

The report found that the working-age poverty rate rose to 12.2% in the mid-2000s from 9.4% in the mid-1990s and the elderly poverty rate climbed to 5.9% from 2.9%.

"The numbers show Canada is doing poorly compared to other countries, so we should be looking at what we can do better," Lafleur says.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

More information:
Conference Board of Canada media release

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