The first official B.C. Family Day statutory holiday is on Feb. 11, 2013. Chances are most of us will be putting our feet up watching TV, going shopping, or taking off to the ski slopes for a fun-filled break.
We suspect few will be pondering child poverty rates in our province. But, more of us should.
The Child Poverty Report Card released on Tuesday reveals that B.C.'s child poverty rate is still the worst of any province in Canada - the exception being Manitoba.
The number of children estimated to be living in poverty in B.C. in 2010 was 119,000 or about one in every seven B.C. children. About two thirds, or 80,000, of those children lived in the Lower Mainland.
Dr. John Millar of the Public Health Association of B.C. said, "poverty robs children of their potential and increases ill health. High rates of income inequality are known to produce higher levels of infant mortality, crime, mental illness, addictions, obesity, and lower levels of education and social mobility and trust. This is a recipe for a very sick society, unless we turn this around."
Imagine: one in seven children in our province lives in poverty, n a province that boasts one of the highest living standards in the world.
And consider this: Forget the stereotype of a welfare mom with six kids living in poverty. In 2010, 43 per cent of the poor children in B.C. - 41,300 children - lived in families with at least one adult working full-time, for the full year.
Can the situation be changed? Experts say if you adjust the child tax benefits, enhance EI benefits, provide affordable accessible daycare - you can at least make a start.
Or, here's an idea: Take the dollar amount of lost productivity on Family Day and put that towards helping poor kids in B.C. We suspect that might make quite a difference.
© Copyright 2013