The latest numbers are in and they are concerning when it comes to child poverty in the Maritimes.

All three provinces are at or above the national average.

The good news is, there are plenty of efforts on the ground to change all of that, but it continues to be a difficult battle.

A lot has changed over the last 30 years, but one thing that hasn’t changed enough is Canada’s still-staggering number of children living below the poverty line.

According to the annual B.C. Child Poverty Report Card, almost a fifth of the province’s children are still living in poverty.

And for the first time in the report card’s 23 years, children in single-parent families constituted more than half of those living below the poverty level.

In a January 14 news release, First Call: B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition announced that in 2017, the most recent year for which there are complete statistics, 163,730 children and youth lived in poor households, almost one in five.

A national report card on child and family poverty in Canada spanning 30 years says that one in five children are living in poverty, with rates exceptionally high for children of Indigenous and First Nation heritage.

Campaign 2000, a non-partisan network of organizations focused on ending childhood and family poverty, released the report card entitled “Child and Family Poverty 30 Years Later.” It provides an analysis of childhood and family poverty in the country using the most recent data available, creating a picture of the status of childhood poverty in 2019.

One in five children in British Columbia continue to live in poverty, according to a provincial child poverty report card released today by First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition.

But there are signs the federal child tax benefit that began in 2016 has started chipping away at family inequality. And several B.C. organizations have suggestions for how the province can further decrease child poverty.

Using 2017 Statistics Canada data, the most recent available, the report card found that 19.1 per cent of B.C. children under 18 lived in poverty. This is the eighteenth year in a row (2000 to 2017) that B.C.’s child poverty rates have been higher than the Canadian average, which was 18.6 per cent. B.C.’s child poverty rate was also higher than its 18.4-per-cent overall poverty rate.

A projected $487 jump in food costs for the average Canadian family in 2020 could be the tipping point toward even more widespread food insecurity in Quinte, says the head of a social planning charity group in the region.

Ruth Ingersoll, executive director of the non-profit Community Development Council of Quinte, said while the added cost may seem incidental to some, the rise may represent a small fortune for one in nine families living on the edge of poverty.

“This could be a tipping point for some people. With this $487 increase they won’t be able to buy enough food,” warned Ingersoll, an 18-year veteran with CDC which provides a raft of food and social programs at no cost to help families cope.

The number of homeless people in Thompson may be growing, as increasing numbers of people are being turned away from the homeless shelter because it is full.

Thompson Homeless Shelter and Canadian Mental Health Association – Thomson executive director Paullette Simkins said at the city’s Jan. 9 public safety meeting that the number of people being turned away has increased in recent months.

“We’ve noticed that there’s new faces in town,” Simkins said, including many in their 20s and 30s.

Choosing not to act in the fight against financial insecurity could be detrimental to the municipality as Kathy Kennedy, Executive Director of Prince Edward Learning Centre (PELC), pointed out during Thursday’s Committee of the Whole Meeting at Shire Hall.

Kennedy approached council asking for $35,000 to be carved out of the 2020 municipal budget so PELC can expand their array of services. In 2019, programming offered by PELC brought in about $1.1 million to Prince Edward County residents who utilized the tax, benefit and financial-related specific programming offered by the adult education centre.

Kennedy explains that PELC’s goal is to help bring $7.5 million to residents-thereby the local economy- over the next two years in part through increasing their financial literacy and tax clinic programs.