One in five children are living in poverty in B.C. but the good news is there has been a decrease in the poverty rate.
Data from the 2016 B.C. Child Poverty Report Card released by First Call shows a very slight decrease in B.C.’s child poverty rate from 20.4 per cent in 2013 to 19.8 per cent in 2014.
Using the most recent data the small drop is reflected in the poverty rate for children in coupled families from 13 per cent to 12.4 per cent.
However, there was no decrease in the 50.3 per cent poverty rate of children living in lone-parent families – the vast majority of which are single-mother families.
B.C. Teachers Federation President Glen Hansman says children are sleeping in shelters, even vehicles and going hungry.
“Oh absolutely in all regions of the province our members will share stories first hand of students who didn’t have breakfast, may not have had dinner the night before.”
The report also says 33,000 kids rely on food banks.
In a statement, the Minister for Children and Family Development says the government is working to reduce poverty in B.C. through a focused approach.
Stephanie Cadieux cites well-paying jobs, and financial commitments to housing, in particular, more rental units across the province.
Cadieux says “there is no easy solution for poverty, but B.C. is in a better position than many other jurisdictions,” and that poverty remains a persistent problem across Canada.”
She says a formal poverty plan does not guarantee success, and that progress takes time.