October 17 was the UN’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and this year also marks the international community’s third decade of its mission to eradicate poverty. While extreme poverty (defined as living on less than $1.90 a day) rates have been cut by more than half since the program’s initial inception, much work is left to be done around the world.
Closer to home, First Call Child and Youth Advocacy Society’s 2020 BC Child Poverty Report Card shows that 1 in 5 BC children are still poor. The report, which was conducted before the pandemic, found 59,000 poor children were under the age of six. There is no reason not to believe that COVID-19, as well as the recent unrelenting increases in the cost of living, has worsened those outcomes. In fact, a current study indicates that 1 in 4 working Canadians spend their entire paycheque in each pay period, while almost 1 in 6 parents are spending beyond their income. With economic hardship at home, the likelihood of disrupted family processes increases and consequently, this may affect child development, as research suggests.
The BCTF has named November Antipoverty Month. As teachers, we know firsthand the effects of poverty on our students. Please take the time to look through available resources, book workshops, apply for grants, and continue to affect change. Join the Committee for Action on Social Justice’s Economic Justice Action Group and people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and social origins in renewing your commitment to and showing solidarity with the disadvantaged.
- Marcus Tse, Economic Justice Action Group, Nelson BC