February 12, 2024
Ontario Campaign 2000 has released its Ontario Report Card, Envisioning a Poverty-Free Ontario. The 2023 report card on child and family poverty.
This year’s report examines the shift in direction between lowered child and family poverty rates in 2020 and the increase in child and family poverty in 2021. The number of children in poverty in Ontario fell from 17.6 % to 13.4 % between 2019-2020, largely as a result of temporary federal assistance, and then increased to 16% (449, 380 children) in 2021.
The report further looks at issues affecting marginalized communities and how we can work to eradicate poverty through decent work for all, strengthening our childcare systems, implementing affordable and accessible housing, closing the gaps on income security and investing in barrier-free public health.
This report examines some of the critical factors that contribute to heightened levels of poverty and underscores the need for immediate action and sustainable support for low-income and marginalized communities. They include:
- Inadequate minimum wage rates keep workers below the poverty line.
- Disproportionately higher poverty rates among Indigenous and racialized communities; more specifically women from these communities, due to historical systemic discrimination.
- Provincial social assistance rates keep individuals and families in a consistent cycle of poverty.
- Higher poverty rates among lone-parent households, particularly those led by women.
- Lack of investment and heightened barriers to public health further push families into poverty.
- A lack of access to childcare can hinder parents, especially mothers, from joining the workforce, limiting their income potential and contributing to poverty.
- A shortage of affordable housing choices in Ontario leads to increased housing costs, forcing families to allocate a significant portion of their income to housing expenses. A lack of affordable and adequate living conditions perpetuates a cycle of poverty by limiting economic mobility and opportunities for affected families.
It is a critical moment in the history of this province to tackle poverty. With effective public policy and program interventions, we can reduce child and family poverty and ultimately eradicate poverty in our lifetime.
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