Children are this nations future and Canada’s most precious resource. In Canada, families have the primary reponsibility to care for, nurture and guide their children throughout the various stages of development. Canadian families are facing a difficult time. Challanged by economic insecurity, unemployment and a disintegrating system of social services and support, many parents are unable to meet the developmental needs of their children. In November 1989, all parties of the House of Commons voted secretly to work to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000. Eight years later, child poverty has risen by 46 percent. A serious national strategy to eliminate child poverty must address problems such as; insecure employment and low wages, inadequate social assistance, and inadequate child care and housing.
Child poverty is an indicator of the hardships experienced by an increasing number of Canadain families. One in five Canadain children are growing up poor. Children are poor because their parents are poor. One of the main reasons for poverty amoung parents in the lack of well paying , stable jobs. Campaign 2000 a coalition of national partners workng together to reduce child poverty has clearly demonstrated that poverty rates move up and down with changes to the unemployment rate. As a result, children are extemely vulnureable to the impacts of high unemployment and and unstable labour market. In particular, children living in lone parent families and families with parents under 30 years of age are more likely to live in poverty. Addressing child poverty requires that Canadian families have acess to stable employment, appropriate training or post secondary educational oppurtunities and social support. After seven years of growing child poverty rates, rising unemployment and massive cuts to federal spending on health, soical services and post secondary education, federal, provincial and territorial goverments are now developing a joint strategy to reduce child poverty throug a National Child Benefit Fund (NCB). The 1997/98 federal budget commited to $600,000,000 as a “down payment” on the new benefit program. This is only the first step. A comprehensive approach to eliminationg child poverty must combine a range of income support and full employment strategies.