Powell River Voices is hosting a public conversation on a topic that desperately needs attention, child poverty. And to ensure those with children are able to attend the event, free childcare will be provided.
The discussion takes place Tuesday, March 1st starting at 7:00 pm at the Trinity Hall, Powell River United Church, at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Duncan Street. Admission is by donation.
Guest speakers for the event include:
- Adrienne Montani, Provincial Coordinator of First Call: BC Child & Youth Advocacy Coalition;
- Lyn Adamson, Executive Director of the Powell River Employment Program Society;
- Russell Brewer, Powell River City Councillor.
Children who experience poverty, especially persistently, are at higher risk of suffering health problems, developmental delays and behavioural disorders, according to the Conference Board of Canada. They tend to attain lower levels of education and are more likely to live in poverty as adults.
Moreover, the failure to address poverty may place a heavy burden on a country’s economy. As the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has concluded, “failure to tackle the poverty and exclusion facing millions of families and their children is not only socially reprehensible, but it will weigh heavily on countries’ capacity to sustain economic growth in years to come.”
The Conference Board of Canada uses the OECD’s relative measure of child poverty, which calculates the proportion of children living in households where disposable income is less than 50 per cent of the median in each country.
When Canada is benchmarked against 15 other countries, this is where our country stands:
- Canada scores a “C” grade and ranks 15th out of 17 peer countries.
- More than one in seven Canadian children live in poverty.
- Canada’s child poverty rate increased between the mid-1990s and the late 2000s.
The Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden – have the lowest rates of child poverty, with less than 7 per cent of children living in poor households. The relationship between social spending and poverty rates has become more obvious over time, so it is no surprise that the leading countries boast strong traditions of wealth redistribution.
The US still has the highest poverty rate among industrialized countries, earning a “D” grade.