One in four Saskatchewan children are living in poverty, and if it wanted to, the government could fix the problem.

That’s the crux of a new report by Paul Gingrich, Garson Hunter and Miguel Sanchez of the University of Regina Social Policy Research Unit.

In 2014, 24.6 per cent of the province’s children lived in poverty, along with 14.8 per cent of the general population. That’s 64,000 children and 160,000 people overall.

The average is so high largely because of First Nations child poverty: In 2010, 57 per cent of First Nations children and 69 per cent of children living on reserves were poor, compared with 12 per cent of white children.

“Those are astounding figures,” said Gingrich.

Toronto continues to be the capital of child poverty in Canada with 27 per cent of all children living in poverty, according to a report released on Nov. 14.

The report, called “Divided City: Life in Canada’s Child Poverty Capital,” was compiled by Family Service Toronto, Social Planning Toronto, the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and Colour of Poverty-Colour of Change. The social agencies examined child poverty in 140 neighbourhoods and found that Toronto is a “deeply divided city” in terms of living conditions and opportunities for children.

“When you cross Laird Avenue to go from Leaside to Thorncliffe, the rate of child poverty rate increases from four to 52 per cent,” said Jessica Mustachi of Family Service Toronto in a media release.

A coalition of more than 100 social organizations is calling on the province to boost social assistance rates as part of a plan to end poverty.

During a well-attended Make Poverty History Manitoba (MPHM) campaign launch on Wednesday, chairman Josh Brandon set the stage for the group’s expectations of the provincial government.

“We have the resources to end poverty, it’s just how we set out priorities,” Brandon said.

A new report says Toronto has the highest percentage of children living in poverty of any large city in Canada — 27 per cent — and that the closest runner-up is Montreal.

In Montreal, 25 per cent of children were living in poverty in 2014. At 24 per cent, Winnipeg was third on a list of Canadian cities with a population higher than 500,000.

The report, titled Divided City: Life in Canada’s Child Poverty Capital, says 133,000 children in Toronto were living in low-income families in 2014, the year the data were collected.

The concept of guaranteeing people a minimum income is not a new one. There are several countries testing similar programs — some with a universal amount for everyone; others where income is topped up to a certain level — and Ontario wants to test it out

Mike Moffatt, an economist who spoke at the Northern Policy Institute’s Basic Income Guarantee conference and who has worked with the Mowat Centre and the Lawrence National Centre for policy and management, estimates to go beyond current Ontario Works cheques, which average about $650 for a single person with no dependents, the provincial government would need to spend upwards of $15 billion. He also said the government would have to start by returning to the rates paid out in the early 1990s, which with inflation means about $11,000 per person per year. Even that would still be far below what a family would need to purchase groceries, pay rent and pay for public transport.