New Brunswick Report Card on Child and Family Poverty, 2016

Summary: 

Childhood is a precious time of life, and it is also a vulnerable time of life—we are dependent on others for our survival and care. Because of this, children are protected under a specific set of rights—the UN Convention on The Rights of The Child, of which Canada is a signatory.

Poverty undermines the rights of children, and impacts their growth and development. In Canada, unacceptably high rates of child poverty led to the passing of a federal all party resolution to end child poverty by the year 2000 in 1989. Sadly, this goal has not been achieved. The rates of child poverty have been stubborn – too high for too long. 

Every year we produce a New Brunswick Child Poverty Report Card in partnership with Campaign 2000, to track progress and serve as a reminder that much remains left to do. This year we are hopeful as we write this report. For many years, organizations ranging from FoodBanks Canada, to the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, to Campaign2000 have been advocating for an enhanced and streamlined child benefit, indexed to inflation. This makes sense, because child poverty does not exist in isolation from food security and hunger, homelessness and Canada’s affordable housing crisis, health care, or a number of other issues—it is all connected. 

The federal government introduced the new, enhanced Canadian Child Benefit, which took effective July 1, 2016. The new CCB is streamlined (it replaced a number of other benefits, so the process is simpler), targeted to those who need it most and enhanced. This means more money for the Canadian families who need it most. The new CCB is also indexed to inflation. The Budget Implementation Act, 2016 includes a measure that indexes the new CCB to inflation, as of July 1, 2020, “so that its real value is not eroded over the long term”. Given, however, that Canadians have seen an 11.7% increase in the price of fresh vegetables this year , the new 1 CCB should be indexed to inflation immediately so that its value does not erode over the next four years. The impact of these changes are not yet reflected in our child poverty statistics, but it is an excellent first step in addressing child poverty—one that is expected to lift hundreds of thousands of Canadian children out of poverty. We are picking up steam; Canada has begun making the changes necessary to give each and every Canadian child the chance they deserve to succeed. With renewed federal leadership and a provincial government in the midst of its second five year poverty reduction strategy, we have a window of opportunity to shape our country so that the lived reality of its citizens is a reflection of our core values. We must act now and take advantage of the momentum that exists. Our children are our future; when they have the opportunity to grow, explore, learn and be all that they can be, everybody wins.

 

Publication date: 
Nov 2016
Author: 
Jenny O'Connel
Publisher: 
Human Development Council
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