Canadian child poverty: one step forward, two back

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

Twenty-five years ago the Canadian House of Commons prioritized the plan to eradicate child poverty by the year 2000. 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the decision and the nation is no way near closer.

Although Canada doesn’t have an official poverty line, it bases the status from Statistics Canada Low Income Cut Off. Andrew Jackson of Toronto’s York University supported his report using a 2014 study by Campaign 2000. He stated that child poverty in Canada has risen from “15.8% in 1989 to 19.2% in 2012.”

Although government social programs have been put in place, there is still a lack of progress. Child benefit initiatives were put in place in 1998 such as the National Child Benefit Supplement and the Canada Child Tax Benefit. “Today, a combined pay out $10.8 billion per year, of which $3.9 billion goes to low income families through the National Child Benefit Supplement,” Jackson stated. The government is attempting to dispel poverty by using finances, but instead, fueling middle income families.

One factor that is underreported in media is how a nation such as Canada doesn’t have an official poverty line. However the issue still runs deeper than the measurement of low income, but poverty itself. The mainstream media coverage has frequently pointed out child poverty in Canada but has failed to keep the government accountable. Poverty undoubtedly needs to be tackled but “the federal government must show real leadership, and the needs of low income families must be given priority,” said Jackson.


Andrew Jackson, “How the Conservatives have failed on child poverty”, November 29, 2014,

Carolyn Ferns, Christa Freiler, Martha Friendly, Liyu Guo, Anita Khanna, Alan Meisner, and Laurel Rothman, Campaign 2000, November 2014,

Student Researcher: Rebekah Lesko (University of Regina)

Faculty Evaluator: Patricia Elliot (University of Regina)