Halifax—In 2011, there were still 29,000 children living in poverty in Nova Scotia, twenty-two years after the House of Commons pledged to eliminate poverty for children in Canada by the year 2000. This represents 17.3% of all children and is the fifth highest rate in Canada. Indeed, the province has made very little progress towards reducing child poverty compared to 1989 when 18.0% of Nova Scotian children were living in low-income families.
Lesley Frank, author of the 2013 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Nova Scotia, says of her experience writing these reports for 10 years, "I have to admit that I have grown weary with the task. When you do something for ten years that was first motivated by a passionate concern for social justice, and no justice comes, it is hard to keep going sometimes. But then I think, I have groceries in the fridge, a job (at least for now), my kids are not hungry at school, they will have winter coats and my income allows for opportunities. So I write this report card another year for my Nova Scotia neighbors who may go without food to heat their homes this winter in the hope that someone is listening."
CCPA-NS Director, Christine Saulnier says of the report, "there continue to be some troubling trends: child poverty rates are still higher for children under six, and for children living in female lone-parent families. The data also reveal that it is increasingly the case that many families with children are not able to rise out of poverty despite securing full time/full year employment."
The report card does show that government income support has prevented some families with children from falling into poverty. However, the data shows that there is much more that can be and must be done.
"Ending family and child poverty is achievable and depends to a large degree on governments’ agendas for poverty reduction and eradication, as well as their broader social and economic public policy priorities," says Stella Lord, volunteer coordinator of the Community Society to End Poverty.
"Once again the data makes clear that no families who rely primarily on income assistance have enough income to meet their basic needs. Witness the rise of food insecurity. Thirty two percent of Nova Scotian’s relying on food banks are children and Nova Scotia has the highest rate of food insecurity, second only to Nunavut, with close to 1 in 4 children food insecure in 2011."
Download the full report, here: 2013 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Nova Scotia.
For more information, or to arrange interviews, contact CCPA-NS Director, Christine Saulnier at (902) 477-1252 or (902) 240-0926 (cell) or via email [email protected] or contact the author directly, Lesley Frank at Acadia University (902)585-1431 work; (902) 698-3653.
The CCPA-NS is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social and economic justice, as well as environmental sustainability.