A significant decrease in the number of children living in poverty in 2007 wasn’t enough to keep British Columbia from having the worst childhood poverty rate in the country for the sixth year in a row.
According to Statistics Canada, 13 per cent of children in B.C. lived in poverty in 2007 — a 3.5 per cent improvement over the previous year.
The national average in 2007 was 9.5 per cent.
B.C. NDP Leader Carole James described the numbers as “very worrisome.”
“Those figures are from 2007 when the economy was booming,” James said. “When times are good you should take care of the fundamentals so when times are bad people can take care of their families.”
Julie Norton, provincial chairperson of First Call, a child and youth advocacy coalition, said the current recession is likely to lead to more children living in poverty.
“People are losing their jobs ... we’re certain to see many more poor families as a result,” Norton said.
James said investments in childcare, affordable housing and stimulus spending, as well a minimum wage increase are needed to pull children and their families out of poverty.