SOUTH DUNDAS – One in every five children in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry are living at or below the poverty line. That number comes from a report released Monday by Campaign 2000 which ranked each of Canada’s 338 federal ridings using information from Statistics Canada.
“Child and family poverty knows no boundaries in Canada,” said Anita Khanna – national coordinator with the non-partisan advocacy group. “Given Canada’s wealth, no child should go to bed hungry. No parent should be forced between paying rent and buying medication or miss out on work or training for lack of quality affordable childcare.”
The group released its report showing the child poverty rates ahead of the federal government’s planned Poverty Reduction Strategy. That plan by the Trudeau government will lay out a framework for addressing child poverty levels across the country.
In SDSG, 19.9 per cent of children aged 0-17 live at or below the poverty line. The poverty line, or Low-Income Measure according to Statistics Canada is set at $25,516 per year before deductions for an individual. That amount goes up by the number of people in the household. A four person household has a before-tax income of $51,031.
“We may not have the highest percentage of child poverty in Canada, but 19.9 per cent is still too high. It means that one in five children in our area are living in poverty. Let that sink in,” Linking Hands coordinator Sandy Casselman told The Leader. “Some may find this number surprising, but rural poverty, like rural homelessness, isn’t always visible. Thrift stores, food banks, and school lunch programs are just some of the ways that those living in poverty are seeing some of their needs met and remaining ‘hidden’ at the same time.”
While SDSG is ranked 116th overall out of 338 ridings across the country, it has the highest child poverty rate of its neighbouring ridings. Glengarry-Prescott Russell is one of the lowest as a percentage, sitting 294th overall with 10.9 per cent.
Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes was 207th overall with 14.9 per cent.
Among the highest percentages in Campaign 2000’s report were ridings with high rural, Indigenous, or racialized and immigrant communities. A total of 162 ridings have child poverty rates at or above the national average of 17.4 per cent.
The northern Manitoba riding of Churchill-Keewatinook Aski has the highest child poverty rate in the country according to the report, at 64.2 per cent. Federal finance minister Bill Morneau’s riding of Toronto-Centre has the highest child poverty rate in Ontario at 40 per cent.
The rates were calculated using data from Statistics Canada from the 2016 Census.
Campaign 2000 is cross-Canada network of 120 national, provincial and community organizations, that is committed to working to end child and family poverty. The group was founded in 1991.