Late last November, Hydro One put a moratorium on disconnects. For another winter, electricity will not be cut for those who can’t afford their bills — most with good reason.

Recently, I spoke with executive director of United Way of Bruce Grey Francesca Dobbyn, a woman who has been working to stop disconnects in Owen Sound, not unlike the members of our community. When it comes to the hydro fight she’s stood out by standing up, landing interviews with the Roy Green Show, the Globe and Mail, and local media in Owen Sound.

Dobbyn said there are tons of groups that are involved including Facebook groups which she called informal, grassroots organizations popping up. In North Hastings we have Take Back Your Power Hydro Bills Unplugged. We’ve also heard about antipoverty groups such as Put Food In The Budget or North Hastings Community Trust. Political parties such as the NDP have come out and said stop the disconnects. She said that news of disconnects being stopped Nov. 25 was a victory for Ontario — it’s been a provincewide fight.

“No end in sight for poverty in the NWT.”

That’s not the most encouraging headline; it’s even more concerning when it comes from the blog of your local MLA.

But that’s what Yellowknife Centre MLA Julie Green wrote following the GNWT’s fourth annual anti-poverty roundtable in Inuvik last week.

“I was disappointed in the meeting because it didn’t provide any new or tangible help for people who are living in need right now,” Green told Moose FM

A recently released report awards Manitoba the dubious distinction of having Canada’s highest child poverty rate for the second year in a row. In his research, the University of Manitoba’s Sid Frankel showed that one in 3.5 children in Manitoba is living in poverty. That translates to 85,110 children in this province who are living with the daily realities of being poor.

A Winnipeg Harvest symposium last week provided an opportunity for several parents to put a human face to these statistics. Parents spoke about the daily struggle to put food on the table for their kids, including by visiting stretched-to-capacity food banks. One single mother described extra-curricular activities for her kids as completely prohibitive unless she could obtain charitable assistance for these activities. These stories are heartbreaking for me to read, as I’m sure they are for anyone with the slightest twinge of empathy.

The long-term consequences of child poverty are both numerous and well established, so much so that the American Psychological Association has compiled a veritable online library summarizing them. Two in particular are notable.

First, poverty robs kids of their homes and the security that often comes with them. While the prospect of kids living on the street or in homeless shelters is bad enough, homelessness has many long-term consequences for children. The instability of homelessness for kids means their schooling is often interrupted, and academic achievement suffers accordingly. Children who experience homelessness are, for example, twice as likely as other kids to have a learning disability and repeat a grade at school.

Today, “food security” is a term we hear more and more often, particularly as the Trudeau government works to develop Canada’s first national food policy.

Canada is grappling with hunger on its own turf, with over four million Canadians experiencing food insecurity. Most startling, perhaps, are the numbers coming out of the Arctic territory of Nunavut, where roughly 80 per cent of the population is Inuit. Nearly half (46.8 per cent) of Nunavut households were reported food insecure in 2016, compared with 12 per cent of households across the country. One survey found that almost 70 per cent of Nunavut’s preschoolers live in food-insecure households, with 15 per cent of kids eating nothing at all on one day or more out of a year.

Unfortunately, things do not appear to be getting better. Hunger in Nunavut rose to its highest recorded rates in 2014.