Child poverty in the riding of SD&SG at nearly 20 percent

Nick Seebruch
Child poverty in the riding of SD&SG at nearly 20 percent
Guy Lauzon at the opening of his campaign office in September 2015. Photo credit: Adam Brazeau.

STORMONT, DUNDAS & SOUTH GLENGARRY, Ontario – According to a recent study released by Campaign 2000, Child Poverty in the federal riding of Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry is at 19.9 percent. To put it another way, one-in-five children in the riding live in poverty.

“The latest data paint a stark portrait of inequality in Canada with high- and low-income families living in close proximity while divided by wide social and economic gaps that leave too many children hungry, sick and stressed beyond their years,” Campaign 2000 stated in a media release.

Campaign 2000 claims that child poverty is more prevalent in indigenous communities, immigrant communities and in lone-parent families.

“This correlation signals the persistence of discrimination and systemic inequalities that translate to higher unemployment, lower labour market participation rates and higher proportions of renters and people spending more than 30% of their income on housing,” stated Campaign 2000.

Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry Conservative MP Guy Lauzon points to credit programs his party created while in government.

“Our previous Government took the issue of child poverty very seriously and worked to establish programs that would benefit families across the country by making life more affordable for them,” said Guy Lauzon in an emailed statement to Cornwall Seaway News. “The enhancements we made with the Universal Child Care Benefit, the raising of the basic income level one could earn before paying income tax by about $1,500, removing a million low-income Canadians from the tax rolls altogether, were just two small examples of concrete action that directly benefitted low income Canadians and by default helped to raise children out of poverty.  There were also smaller credits we created to improve child welfare such as the Sports and Arts Credit which helped lower income children participate in sports and other activities in their community.  The Transit credit which eased the burden for families who could not afford to own a vehicle and relied on public transit.  Unfortunately the current Government dismantled many of these programs and credits, which is surprising considering that the Minister of Finances own riding of Toronto-Centre has one of the highest levels of child poverty rates in Canada based on the released report”

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau’s riding of Toronto Centre has a child poverty rate of 40 percent.

Social Development Council (SDC) Executive Director Carilyne Hébert said that she was not surprised at the number.

“A lot of the clientele that are using food banks are children,” said Hébert, herself a former employee of the Agapè Centre, which operates a food bank in Cornwall.

Hébert explained that in the summer months, school meal programs that usually support kids are unavailable, forcing them to try and find those meals elsewhere.

Hébert explained that the SDC was working on a new project to tackle major community issues like child poverty.

The Vibrant Communities Roundtable project will call on resources from Cornwall, the United Counties of SD&G and Akwesasne to address major social issues. Currently the organization is gathering data for the project to help identify areas that most urgently need to be addressed.

According to the Campaign 2000 report, there are 3,970 children living in poverty in the riding of Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry.

In 1989 the Canadian government pledged to eradicate child poverty by the year 2000. Campaign 2000 formed in 1991 out of concern over the lack of progress in the fight against child poverty.  Campaign 2000 continues to do research and raise awareness around this issue.

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