It has been 30 years since the all-party resolution in the House of Commons to eliminate poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000. It is also almost 30 years since Canada ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991. Article 27 of the Convention directs signatories to “recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral, and social development.”

As we enter the beginning of a new year and a new decade, we mourn for the generations of children whose parents want nothing more than to provide them with what they need to thrive.

As a society in the 10th wealthiest nation in the world, we have an obligation, moral and legal, to support these families, to uphold the rights of the child and to end poverty. Unfortunately, a significant number of children remain in poverty across Canada

“That sounds really interesting…but there aren’t any homeless people around here. Not really. Right?”

I often get this response when I tell friends and neighbours what I do as a volunteer for the Compass, a foodbank and outreach centre located in Port Credit (part of south Mississauga). When folks hear I am volunteering at a foodbank, they assume I’m sorting cans of beans. They are surprised to learn that I am part of a small group focusing on advocacy related to housing and homelessness in our neighbourhood.

In this City Budget Watch post, we look at the city’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis and the 2020 budget, share the latest budget analysis from partners and media, and connect you with City of Toronto budget resources.

The city’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis has intensified over the decade. SPT’s “Toronto After a Decade of Austerity” report uses 20 indicators to assess the state of the city at the end of the ’10s. By every measure, the housing situation is dire.

ACORN members across the province are gathering on the second Thursday of every month to protest and demand the government increase social assistance rates and abandon plans to adopt stricter federal definitions of disability.

Last year the Ontario government announced, but eventually had to walk back from, a proposal to cut more than $1 billion worth of benefits to Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program.

The government was forced to walk back their proposed changes in the fall, after documents leaked to The Toronto Star showed civil servants warning the government that people would probably start dying if all these changes were pushed through. More alarming might be the anxiety of those working on the frontlines of poverty, who warn (without a hint of hyperbole in their voices) that going through with changes as substantive as last year’s proposal would lead to an uptick in suicides, drug overdoses, and general hopelessness.

Nearly one in five children living in the Fraser-Fort George Regional District live in poverty, according to a report released last week.

First Call: B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition says 3,860 children, or about 19 per cent of those living in the FFGRD, live below the after-tax low-income measure or 50 per cent of the adjusted median household income.

Louise Smith-MacDonald says the latest figures that indicate that a large number of Cape Breton children continue to live in poverty are disheartening but not surprising.

As executive director of Every Woman’s Centre, Smith-MacDonald sees first-hand the effects of poverty on Cape Breton families.

“Unfortunately, it’s exactly what I would expect to see,” she said.

In Ontario, a program called ‘cash relief’ replaced hampers of clothes and food in so-called ‘bankrupt’ municipalities in 1935. The Minister responsible in Mitch Hepburn’s Provincial Cabinet was the 35 year old visionary David Croll.

The implementation of cash relief came after the new federal government of R.B. Bennett had provided provinces 5 consecutive cash infusions that began in 1930 following Mackenzie King’s declaration that he would not give a provincial conservative government ‘a five cent piece’. These infusions amounted to Canada’s first cost sharing agreements.