November 14, 2016

Toronto continues to be the child poverty capital of Canada: it has the highest rate of low-income children among large urban centres according to the Toronto Child and Poverty Report Divided City: Life in Canada’s Child Poverty Capital. The report was co-released Nov. 14 by Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Family Service Toronto (Ontario Campaign 2000), Social Planning Toronto, and Colour of Poverty-Colour of Change.

The report draws from new data to update the 2014 report, The Hidden Epidemic: A Report on Child and Family Poverty in Toronto and it describes the level – and unequal distribution – of poverty and its effect on children and families in Toronto.

Just as the Toronto City Council is considering cutting up to $600 million in spending on City-funded programs and services, the report reminds us that 27 per cent of Toronto children were living in low-income families in 2014, topping the list above Montreal (25 per cent), Winnipeg (24 per cent ) and all other urban areas with over 500,000 residents.

The report found huge neighbourhood disparities in child poverty levels, which reflect other inequities. For example, racialized families, new immigrant families, lone parent families and families with disabilities are up to three times more at risk of living in poverty. “When you cross Laird Avenue to go from Leaside to Thorncliffe, the rate of child poverty rate increases from 4 to 52 per cent” said Jessica Mustachi of Family Service Toronto. “This divide shows how we can and must do more to provide quality services to support low-income residents.”

The report also found that low-income children are struggling to succeed: children in schools in low-income neighbourhoods are less likely to be meeting provincial standards in Grade 3 math, reading and writing than children in higher-income schools.

Read Full Report and see Jessica on Global News at 5:30 pm on November 14.

Read Toronto Star article: Kids suffer most as Toronto clings to title of child poverty capital.

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