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BCTF School Staff Alert


April 29, 2009

The scourge of poverty in BC


The latest figures available show that in 2006 (Source: First Call):

  • BC had the highest child poverty rate in Canada for the fifth year in a row at 21.9%.
  • average incomes for both female lone-parent families and two-parent families with children living in poverty fell more than $11,000 below the poverty line.
  • over half of BC’s poor children live in families where the adults worked the equivalent of a full-time, full-year job or more.

BC has done the least to reduce child poverty (Source: First Call).

  • BC is second to last in having the highest number of families and individuals living below the “low income cut-off” as defined by Statistics Canada.
  • BC did the least to reduce child poverty through government transfers.

The depth of poverty is worsening for BC families on income assistance. (Source: National Welfare Council)

  • The right to retain a small portion of earned income is denied to all income-assistance recipients (except those on disability).
  • BC is the only province to enact this policy.

It’s not just those on income assistance who are living in poverty and struggling to make ends meet. (Source: Human Resources and Social Development Canada and First Call)

  • In BC, the working poor make up 10.2% of the total workforce, nearly double the national rate of 5.6%.
  • The average worker earning an income below the poverty line, actually clocked more hours of work in a year than the average worker earning income above the poverty line.
  • The poverty rate in BC, among children in families where one or both parents worked in full-time, year-round, was the highest in the country—10.1% compared to 7.3% for Canada as a whole.

BC has tied with PEI for the lowest minimum wage in the country. (Source: BC Federation of Labour)

  • At $8.00 an hour, BC has the lowest minimum wage.
  • It has not been increased since the Liberals formed the government in 2001.

When will they learn? May 12