We have one of the highest child poverty rates in Canada, as approximately 1 in 5 children live in poverty in BC. We are doing a great disservice to our future generations.

Poverty has a profound impact on the health and well being of children and families. When children go to school hungry or poorly nourished, their energy levels, memory, problem-solving skills, creativity, concentration and behaviour are all negatively impacted. As a result, these children may not reach their full physical and social developmental potential.

The under-funding of public education has meant an increase in school fees, such as those now collected for field trips, supplies, sports and arts, and specific course materials. This causes great family stress and children from low-income families often exclude themselves from activities and programs. The role of public education in giving every child an equal chance is seriously undermined by the inequity created by school fees.

Post-secondary education is inaccessible. Tuition fees put such studies out of reach of too many and fear of debt keeps many low-income people away.

Poverty is concentrated in specific populations, such as Aboriginal people, people with disabilities, recent immigrants, refugees and temporary foreign workers (including farm workers and live-in caregivers), and lone-mother households, so children within these families are far more likely to live in poverty.

Let’s get to the heart of the problem. The best returns on investments are the ones contributing to the well-being of children, as dollars spent in the early years create savings in future spending on health, social and justice services.


  1. 2018 BC Child Poverty Report Card (First Call BC, Campaign 2000,  with SPARC BC, November 2018)
  2. Shameful Neglect: Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada (CCPA, May 2016)
  3. $10 a day Child Care Plan: Community Plan for a Public System of Integrated Early Care and Learning (Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC, Early Childhood Educators of BC, February 2019)
  4. UNICEF REPORT CARD 13: Fairness for Children (UNICEF, April 2016)
  5. Walking the Line to Put Their Families First Lone Mothers: Navigating Welfare and Work in British Columbia (First Call, SFU, Single Mothers Alliance and SPARC BC, January 2016)
  6. First Nations Child Poverty: A Literature Review and Analysis (First Nations Children’s Action Research and Education Service, 2015)
  7. Are We Doing Enough? A status report on Canadian public policy and child and youth health (Canadian Paediatric Society, May 2016)
  8. Housing need in Canada: Healthy lives start at home (Canadian Paediatric Society, October 2015)
  9. BC’s Shame: Radio Documentary on Child Poverty (BCIT, December 2011)