Opinion

LETTER: Provincial child poverty rate is alarming

According to Statistics Canada, British Columbia leads the country in child poverty.

B.C. has a child poverty rate of 24 per cent. That’s almost one in four children.

This figure does not include the 20,000 aboriginal children living on reserves where the child poverty rate is twice that of non-aboriginal children.

Our wonderful neighbour next door, Alberta, has a child poverty rate of only 12 per cent and Prince Edward Island has the lowest in the country with nine per cent. 

With these alarming statistics, you would think the provincial government would be passing legislation to help eliminate child poverty in B.C. 

There are many things the government can do, such as abolishing the training wage and increasing the minimum wage to help low-income working families; providing all new mothers who are living below the poverty line with a monthly baby bonus; enhancing the parental leave program; funding more child care subsidies and creating more child care spaces; skipping the GST cut or increasing the PST to fund child poverty programs; and there should be nutritious free or low-cost lunch programs in all public schools.

There is no excuse for a rich province like British Columbia to have so many children living in poverty.

Let’s hope the premier and the B.C. government seriously start addressing this problem before we become the child poverty capital of not only Canada, but of North America.

Amar Sangha

Delta

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