Media releases | November 21, 2008

EDMONTON—A new provincial report on Child and Family poverty released today by the Edmonton Social Planning Council (ESPC) reveals that 77,595 children are living in families below Statistics Canada’s Low Income Cut Off (LICO). This means one in ten children in Alberta live below the poverty line.

The report, We Can Do Better, also shows that low income children in Alberta live deeper in poverty than children in other parts of Canada, and four out of five live in families where their parent or parents are working. 35,585 of these children live in a family with at least one parent working part-time or full-time part of the year, a further 20,855 had one parent working full time, full year and a further 3,840 had both parents working full time, full year.

John Kolkman, the ESPC’s Research and Policy Analysis Coordinator, noted that, “child poverty is a daily reality in all Alberta communities, and made worse by this province’s high cost of living. Children living in lone parent, aboriginal and recent immigrant families are particularly vulnerable and significantly more likely to live in families struggling with low incomes.”

“This report challenges us to look beyond the numbers and see that dollars spent to reduce poverty for children and families are investments in the current social infrastructure and the future of our communities,” said Janice Melnychuk, Executive Director of Vibrant Communities Edmonton. “Once people learn that we have 25,010 children in the City of Edmonton who live below the poverty line (one in six) we hope that the next step will be for our municipal leaders, businesses, community organizations and citizens to recognize that we can work together with the provincial and federal government to reduce poverty and build healthy vibrant communities.”

“We are pleased to be able to bring together various partner organizations from around Alberta to build awareness of the situation of child and family poverty and to look for real comprehensive solutions to poverty in this wealthy province,” said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “As the Alberta representative of Campaign 2000, a national coalition of organizations advocating for the elimination of child and family poverty, we feel Alberta should be joining with other provinces like Quebec, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Ontario in setting firm poverty reduction targets and implementing policies and programs that will achieve these goals.”

This report coincides with the release of the national report on child and family poverty by Campaign 2000 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and with several other reports being released in provincial capitals on the same day.

- 30 -