Nearly 1.3 million children across Canada live in poverty.
Every child deserves to have access to their basic rights and to have the opportunity to thrive. Although many consider Canada to be a wealthy nation, child poverty sadly exists within our borders. Children go to bed hungry, lack access to their basic needs and live in unsafe environments. In Canada, we still have work to do in the fight against child poverty.
The following facts highlight the challenges that child poverty creates and the urgent need to provide care and support to children and youth.
Children Make up Half of the World’s Poor
Half of all people living in poverty are younger than 18 years old. This statistic is alarming when you consider that children make up only a third of the world’s population. In Canada alone, one in five children live in poverty, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have worsened this harsh reality.
These sobering statistics show that more needs to be done to prevent child poverty from continuing. It also shows the need to address this issue by ensuring that children live in safe and healthy homes and have access to their basic necessities.
One-Third of Canadians Experience Child Abuse
In Canada, one in three Canadians experiences abuse before their 15th birthday. There are various forms of child abuse, and neglect is one of them. Children who are neglected often lack adequate nutrition, proper hygiene and the attention needed to learn and grow well.
In some cases, neglect comes as a result of child poverty. Parents struggling to make ends meet may not be able to adequately provide for their children, as there are too many competing priorities that require their limited resources.
For those living in child poverty, the home environment can also be stressful and potentially dangerous. The challenges created by poverty can cause significant pressures, which put children at an increased risk of abuse.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused financial challenges for many Canadian families, there has been an increased risk of child abuse. In a recent report, CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) revealed they have seen and treated more than twice as many infants under one year old for maltreatment concerns, specifically fractures and head trauma, since last September.
Child poverty is at the root of other challenges faced by kids. That’s why we need to continue our efforts to eradicate child poverty so young people can reach their full potential.
Child Poverty Has an Effect on Mental Health
Research shows that those living in child poverty are at risk of poor mental health outcomes. Depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions reveal the significant challenges and ripple effects that child poverty can create.
Mental health challenges experienced in childhood can also create challenges in adulthood. This makes it difficult for individuals to end the cycle of poverty in their lives. That’s why child poverty needs to be addressed without delay. Children and families living in poverty deserve to access their basic rights of survival and development.
What Else Can Be Done?
The statistics and information above are alarming. Have you considered what can be done to help end child poverty? What will your role be in ending child poverty in Canada? There are important questions that every Canadian should be asking.
One of the ways that you can help end child poverty is to donate to specific organizations that are committed to ending child poverty through their programs and initiatives. When you take action by donating or being a part of an organization, you will inspire others to do the same.
Everyone should fight to end child poverty, so children in Canada can have the hope of a brighter future.
If you want to join our efforts to advocate against child poverty, you can take action here on our website.