EDMONTON—“It is hard to imagine that in the wealthiest province in Canada we have 64,000 children (1 out of every 12) living below the Statistics Canada’s low-income cut off (LICO After Tax), said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, the Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “What is even more shocking is that 49% of these children had at least one parent working full-time, full year.”
Public Interest Alberta is on the steering committee of Campaign 2000, a national coalition of over 120 organizations that released a report card on child and family poverty in Ottawa today. The Campaign 2000 report, It Takes a Nation to Raise a Generation calls on all levels of government to set real poverty reduction goals and proposes a number of positive solutions that would reduce child and family poverty in Canada.
“The good news is that some governments like Newfoundland are willing to set firm poverty reduction strategies and are taking action. The bad news is that far too many other governments seem to deny there is a problem or pretend they are already taking the issue of poverty seriously,” says Moore-Kilgannon.
Public Interest Alberta also released new statistics that show that 21.9% of all employed Albertans are earning less than $12/hour. The majority of these low-wage workers (52%) are older than 24 years of age and 64% are women. The new statistics also show that some cities in Alberta have a higher percentage of low-wage workers: Lethbridge (29%), Red Deer (24.7%), and Edmonton (22.9%).
“With the recent announcement of a $4 billion provincial surplus, it is time all political parties and municipal politicians identify the concrete and measurable steps they are going to do address poverty in Alberta. For example, people need to put pressure on all levels of government to establish living wage policies that will make sure that anyone working full-time under contract to the government will not be living in poverty,” said Moore-Kilgannon.
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