B.C.'s powerhouse economy must help the 1 in 5 kids living in poverty: report

VANCOUVER – A advocacy group for children and youth in British Columbia says one in every five children in the province lives in poverty.

The 2016 report from First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition says that number rises to more than 50 per cent of children in single-parent families.

The study says poverty among children has dropped marginally in B.C. by 0.6 per cent since the group’s last report card last year, but more than 163,000 youngsters are still growing up poor.

B.C.’s economy is currently among the strongest in the country and First Call co-ordinator Adrienne Montani is calling for a provincial plan to help young and vulnerable residents.

She says most impoverished children have a working parent, so key recommendations of the report card focus on raising the minimum wage and welfare rates, providing affordable housing and daycare, and setting a living wage — pegged at about $20 an hour in Vancouver.

In response to the report, Children’s Minister Stephanie Cadieux says in a statement that the B.C. government’s steady approach to reducing poverty is working with targeted supports and more affordable housing, helping to cut the number of people living on low income by 27 per cent since 2006.