The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has released its annual report on child poverty and while the numbers have improved in Nova Scotia, the province still has the third-highest provincial child poverty rate in the country.
According to its data, 38,870 children, or more than 1 in 5 children, were living in poverty in Nova Scotia in 2015. That’s the highest rate in Atlantic Canada.
“That is a decline, so we do celebrate the fact that 1,600 children have been lifted above the poverty line but there are 35,000 plus children living in poverty in Nova Scotia,” said Christine Saulnier, CCPA’s Nova Scotia director.
Saulnier, who co-authored the report with Lesley Frank of Acadia University, says they were able to use federal census data in this report, which gave a clearer breakdown on which families were struggling.
WATCH: Last year’s annual report on child poverty
Specifically, she says rates of poverty are especially high in communities with predominately visible minority populations and First Nations reserves.
“This is a window into what’s happening in our economy generally, how this is playing out in our labour market, who’s in the labour market, who is unemployed, what regions have higher unemployment,” Saulnier said.
“And then, what are the racial barriers, what are the barriers in terms of women because we see high rates of poverty in terms of single-mother families. So those are telling us that our solutions need to be really tailored to address the differences.”
The report’s authors are calling on all levels of government to work on appropriate policy to bring about change for the province’s young people.
“It’s not just about income. So on the other hand we need to look at the public services that exist for people,” she said.
“People are paying a lot out of pocket in terms of health care needs. We also need to look at issues such as affordable housing.”