About 412,000 children and youth in Ontario were living in poverty in 2008 – even before the recession hit. The child poverty rate in 2008 (the latest year for which official statistics are available) was up from 2007. In 2010, more than 149,000 Ontario children were forced to rely on foodbanks – up from 141,000 in 2009 and a big increase from the 118,000 in 2008. Those are just a few of the sobering statistics in the latest 2010 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty, released today by Campaign 2000.
In addition to documenting child and family poverty, the report card sets out the progress (or, in some cases, lack of progress) that the provincial government has made in eight key commitments that were made in December of 2008. The Wellesley Institute has funded a significant amount of research and policy work on the links between poverty and poor health, including Sick and Tired – a comprehensive review of the health status of lower-income Ontarians. The report notes that poverty reduction is central to economic recovery, and calls on the Ontario government to step up its actions to meet its commitments.