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Manitoba has second-highest poverty rate in country: report card

One in five children in Manitoba is living in poverty, and government isn’t doing enough to alleviate the situation, the Social Planning Council says in its latest Poverty Report Card.

In real terms, social assistance cheques aren’t as generous as they were 20 years ago when Gary Filmon was in power, the planning council says.

And when it comes to child poverty, only Prince Edward Island has a higher rate in Canada at 22.5 per cent to Manitoba’s 20.9 per cent. The national average is 14.5 per cent.

The planning council, at a news conference at Winnipeg Harvest this morning, called on the province to boost the Employment and Income Assistance allowance to $500 from $200 and to increase the minimum wage to $13 an hour from the current $10.25.

The Opposition Progressive Conservatives said the government has no problem handing out cheques but it "needs to start taking results more seriously."

Reacting to the Social Planning Council report, Leanne Rowat, the PC family services critic, said it’s no wonder Manitoba leads the country in food bank use.

"The tax burden on Manitobans is so severe that even those with jobs are not able to make ends meet. This is an embarrassment for a government that claims to care about families," she said.

 

History

Updated on Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 1:16 PM CST: adds reaction from Progressive Conservatives

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