Coalition demands plan for child poverty

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Manitoba continues to have Canada’s worst child poverty rate.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/11/2017 (1901 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Manitoba continues to have Canada’s worst child poverty rate.

A report to be released at 10 a.m. today by the Campaign 2000 anti-poverty coalition will call on Premier Brian Pallister to announce plans in this afternoon’s throne speech to improve the lives of Manitoba children. The most recent data in 2015 show that Manitoba continues to be behind the rest of Canada in solving child poverty.

“The crisis that became a chronic nightmare continued in 2015,” said University of Manitoba social work Prof. Sid Frankel, author of the report.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS files Sid Frankel will release Campaign 2000’s report today ahead of the throne speech.

“Mr. Pallister, you have made a promise for a Poverty Reduction Strategy in 2017. We’d like to see you start to keep that promise this afternoon” in the throne speech.

The Manitoba report card will be released at the same time as a national child poverty report and a similar report in each province.

U of M law Prof. Lorna Turnbull urged support for the report’s recommendation for gradual implementation of a “universal, unconditional income guarantee for all Manitobans, adequate to meet their basic needs.”

Frankel said that more than two of every seven Manitoba children live in poverty. As of 2015 data, Manitoba has a 27.5 per cent child poverty rate compared to 17.4 per cent nationally.

Manitoba’s figures are 4.5 points higher than they were in 1989, when Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories were worse than Manitoba — but they’ve made improvements Manitoba has been unable to match, Frankel said.

The coalition wants a $15-an-hour minimum wage by 2019 — it’s now $11.15.

Frankel said the anti-poverty coalition advocates a guaranteed annual income, raising and indexing the child benefit to improve families’ purchasing power, and making major improvements to child care and early years education and to social and affordable housing.

Campaign 2000 is represented in Manitoba by Winnipeg Harvest and the Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg. Frankel said that Campaign 2000 is a non-partisan, cross-Canada network of 120 national, provincial and community partner organizations committed to working to end child poverty in Canada.

The 2017 report card marks 28 years since the unanimous House of Commons resolutions to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2000 and eight years since the House voted “to develop an immediate plan to end poverty for all in Canada,” he said.

The release of the Manitoba report in Winnipeg this morning is co-ordinated with the release of the national report card in Ottawa and provincial report cards in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Alberta will be releasing its provincial report card shortly after Nov. 21.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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