On November 20, 2018, to coincide with National Child Day, Public Interest Alberta, the Edmonton Social Planning Council, and the Alberta College of Social Workers published a new child poverty report, One in Six is Too Many: An Alberta Child Poverty Report (download the full report).
The annual report provides an overview of the state of poverty in Alberta. It seeks to inform the public and policy makers on the effects of poverty, the current government's attempts at reducing poverty, and to present the areas and programs in which they can improve on.
Among the key findings in the report are:
- Over one in six children in Alberta live in poverty. Since 2006, the number of children experiencing poverty has grown 23.4%.
- Indigenous, racialized, and LGBTQ2S+ communities and women are disproportionately affected by poverty. 24.1% of Indigenous children and 17% of visible minority children live in poverty. LGBTQ2S+ youth are disproportionately overrepresented in the homeless population at 25 to 40%.
- Lone parent families experience higher rates of poverty compared to other family types. Additional barriers faced by female-led families include unequal pay, working fewer hours due to familial responsibilities, discrimination based on gender, race, and/or sexual orientation or identification.
Recommendations for reducing child poverty in the province are:
- Implement actions to address the significant shortage of annual tax revenue.
- Change reduction rates associated with AISH, Alberta Works, the Alberta Child Benefit, and the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit to incentivize families to increase their employment income.
- Implement a universal childcare system that improves accessibility, affordability, and quality such as expanding the Early Learning and Child Care Centres (ELCC) program.
- Continue to improve the minimum wage in order to cover the cost of living for working families.
- Improve funding and resources for the education system, including working with First Nations on reserves to improve education standards, and the Class Size initiative.
- Create and implement a provincial poverty reduction strategy with targets and timelines.
- Expand provincial coverage for pharmaceuticals through a pharmacare program, in order to keep more money in the pockets of low-income Albertans.
Public Interest Alberta and partners in the news
'One in six is too many': Report says Alberta provincial poverty reduction strategy needed by Dustin Cook, Edmonton Journal
Single-mother households at much higher risk of child poverty, report says by Omar Mosleh, StarMetro Edmonton
'One in six is too many': Report says Alberta provincial poverty reduction strategy needed by Dustin Cook, Fort McMurray Today
More Alberta kids living in poverty: Report by Troy Gillard, rdnewsNOW
1 in 6 Alberta children lives below poverty line by Vinesh Pratap, Global News Edmonton
Child poverty on the rise in Alberta by CTV Edmonton (coverage begins at the 37:25 mark)
New report on child poverty in Alberta Interview with Joel French and Sandra Ngo on the Ryan Jespersen Show (630 CHED)
Child poverty rates unacceptable by Dan Singleton, Mountain View Gazette