Published: July 12, 2018
BY SHAYLA BRADLEY
The rate of child poverty in the Kenora riding is higher than the rate across Canada, a new study says.
The average child poverty rate across Canada is 17.4 per cent, but in the Kenora Riding it rises to 34.7 per cent. According to Campaign 2000, Canada’s ridings with the worst child poverty rates are home to the highest proportions of Indigenous and racialised people, recent immigrants and mostly mother headed lone parent families, as well as the highest unemployment and lowest labour market participation rates and the highest proportion of renters and people spending more than 30 per cent of their income on housing.
“Child and family poverty knows no boundaries in Canada,” said Anita Khanna, Campaign 2000’s national coordinator. “It is a reality in every single riding. Poverty means there are too many children suffering hunger, ill health and stress beyond their years in communities across the country.
“Given Canada’s wealth, no child should go to bed hungry. No parent should be forced to choose between paying rent and buying medication or miss out on work or training for lack of quality affordable child care. With every riding affected by poverty, every riding will benefit from a strong federal strategy.”
The federal government is expected to release Canada’s first poverty reduction strategy (PRS) soon. “With every single federal riding in Canada home to significant numbers of children and families in poverty, all communities, all Members of Parliament and all political parties have a stake in the eradication of poverty in Canada,” Khanna said.
“For the new PRS to deliver on its promise it must involve all three orders of government and Indigenous governments as well as the private and non-profit sectors,” said University of Manitoba’s Dr Sid Frankel. “But, the federal government must play a special leadership role. This includes intellectual and moral leadership in establishing targets and timelines and conditions for poverty reduction programs delivered by the provinces and territories to which the federal government contributes funds. The federal government must also exercise fiscal leadership in enabling provinces and territories to take bold action.”
On June 25 the Kenora District Services Board (KDSB) announced the awarding of its 2018 child poverty reduction reinvestment funding within the region. KDSB will provide a total of $130,145 committed in the 2018 budget, to ten programs in the district. “Our board’s annual funding contribution ensures children are supported and connected to their communities,” said Sarah Stevenson, KDSB director of integrated social services.
“It reflects a commitment to support children’s ability to learn grow through supporting basic needs as well as participation in sports and recreation.”
Funding includes $10,000 for Red Lake’s Kids are Recreationally Equal program, $14,800 to Sioux Lookout P.R.O Kids, $5,900 to the Northwestern Health Unit’s Nutrition on Weekends program, and $42,000 to the KDSB back to school program.