A new report found that one in five children in B.C. lives in poverty.
The report from First Call BC also found that since 2015, B.C.’s child poverty rate has exceeded the Canadian average.
“Each year this report provides us with a very troubling reminder of the high number of children that live in poverty in British Columbia and we’re disappointed to report that the fundamental statistic remains the same, one in five children in British Columbia lives in poverty,” said Scott Graham, executive director at Social Planning and Research Council of B.C.
The report says the majority of child poverty is clustered in major downtown cores. Three-quarters of kids in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside are living in poverty.
Nanaimo, Kamloops, Prince George, and Chilliwack all had child poverty rates above 40 per cent.
“We’re not talking about children who experience going to bed hungry. We’re talking about children who live in the most marginalized group, children who are homeless, children who are growing up in shelters,” said Shawn Bayes of the Elizabeth Fry Society.
Those most at risk of living in poverty are recent immigrant children, indigenous children, and those from single parent households.
FirstCallBC made 21 recommendations to reduce child poverty in the province, including: addressing inequalities for students with diverse learning needs in public schools, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and creating a child care plan.
The government has plans to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2021, but is not expected to table its poverty reduction plan until February’s budget.