In The News
Learn More About ESPC In The News, News Releases, And General News About The Organization.
Slider
  • Province and federal government must commit their shares of funding to rental assistance, new Edmonton Social Planning Council report states

    Province and federal government must commit their shares of funding to rental assistance, new Edmonton Social Planning Council report states

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 12, 2020 EDMONTON - A new report released by the Edmonton Social Planning Council shows that the toll of households placed on long waiting lists for rental assistance is high and action is urgently needed. The High Cost of Waiting: Tenant-Focused Solutions to Enhance Housing Affordability sets out to document the impacts on quality of life for Read More
  • Alberta Child Poverty Report - Edmonton Journal Op-Ed

    Alberta Child Poverty Report - Edmonton Journal Op-Ed

    https://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-ending-child-poverty-in-alberta-is-our-moral-obligation Alberta Child Poverty Report Edmonton Journal Op-Ed By Joel French, Sandra Ngo, and Ajay Hartenfeld Pandhi Every night, 160,000 children in Alberta suffer the all-encompassing effects of poverty. They are more vulnerable to issues affecting mental health, educational attainment, cognitive development, housing, relationships, employment, and food insecurity throughout their lives. In a province as wealthy as Alberta, it is Read More
  • John Kolkman on CBC Edmonton AM with Mark Connolly and Tara McCarthy

    John Kolkman on CBC Edmonton AM with Mark Connolly and Tara McCarthy

    Funding to help people find affordable housing has been cut 24 per cent by the province. We'll take a look at what that means for low income Albertans trying to find housing. Click here to listen.   Read More
  • Report shows investing in families is key to ending child poverty

    Report shows investing in families is key to ending child poverty

    EDMONTON - The Alberta College of Social Workers, Edmonton Social Planning Council, and Public Interest Alberta have jointly released a report on the state of child and family poverty in Alberta called " Invest in Families: Ending Child Poverty is Good for All .” Click to download: Invest In Families: Ending Child Poverty Is Good For All Click to download: Invest In Families: Read More
  • 2019 Vital Topics - Sports and Recreation

    2019 Vital Topics - Sports and Recreation

    Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by the Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with the Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, VITAL TOPICS, that are timely and important to Edmonton.  This edition focuses on the impact of Sports and Recreation. Download: Vital Topic Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

https://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-ending-child-poverty-in-alberta-is-our-moral-obligation

Alberta Child Poverty Report Edmonton Journal Op-Ed

By Joel French, Sandra Ngo, and Ajay Hartenfeld Pandhi

Every night, 160,000 children in Alberta suffer the all-encompassing effects of poverty. They are more vulnerable to issues affecting mental health, educational attainment, cognitive development, housing, relationships, employment, and food insecurity throughout their lives. In a province as wealthy as Alberta, it is an outrage for child poverty to persist.

The Alberta College of Social Workers, Edmonton Social Planning Council, and Public Interest Alberta have recently released a new report on the state of child and family poverty in Alberta, “Invest in Families: Ending Child Poverty is Good for All.” Currently, one in six children live in poverty. While some, small progress has been made, poverty rates among children in single-parent households has actually seen an increase.

Children who grow up in low-income situations are more likely to remain in low income status into adulthood. Children living with a single parent are five times more likely to live in low-income households. Immigrant and Indigenous children are especially vulnerable. Furthermore, children who experience trauma, such as family violence, encounter poorer outcomes across all the factors of health.

Child poverty is especially persistent among Indigenous children. Nationwide, 47 per cent of First Nations children live in poverty while the rate of poverty for non-Indigenous children sits at 12 per cent. Due to this disparity, Indigenous children have higher rates of contact with child intervention services in Alberta. Sixty-nine per cent of children in government care are Indigenous, which has been on the rise. Due to a long history of discrimination, Indigenous children are more likely to be affected by trauma and mental health issues, low high school completion rates, unemployment, and homelessness. Ending child poverty is essential for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples for generations of harm.

What can we do to end child poverty once and for all in Alberta? The research shows that strong investments into Alberta’s families, including child benefits, nutrition programs, affordable housing, and subsidized, quality child care, are key to ending the cycle of poverty that block children from living lives of dignity where they’re able to thrive. To aid in reconciliation efforts, culturally responsive solutions that provide Indigenous governing bodies with oversight for the education and welfare of children on reserves is a necessity.

Child care is one of the biggest household expenses, which can be up to two-thirds of a low-income family’s monthly income. Access to high-quality, universally accessible, and affordable child care is a proven method for lowering child poverty and is an especially profound intervention for single mothers, who are among the most affected by poverty. Studies show that children in universal, low-cost child care have better physical health, developmental, and psychological conditions by age six. The $25-a-day child care program is under threat by our provincial government’s sweeping and cruel cuts to social programs. This is precisely the wrong direction for Alberta to solve the crisis in child and family poverty.

Investing in affordable housing is a necessity to prevent and combat child poverty. While multiple levels of government have created housing strategies to address homelessness and poverty, uncertainty persists on the province’s commitment to their share of affordable housing initiatives after the UCP took power. With a 24 percent cut to the Rental Assistance Program, the risk of eviction to low-income families and children will increase as a result.

What is sorely missing in the discussion surrounding the provincial government’s relentless “path to balance” is that even maintaining the status quo levels of social assistance would not be enough; yet the government has chosen to cut indexing of these supports, making life even harder for those in poverty. And if we are serious about ending child poverty, it is abundantly clear that vital public services Albertans rely on need to be strengthened, not cut. Cuts to public services hurt the most vulnerable in our province.

Our tax system raises significantly less revenue than any other province. As a result of this shortfall, our services are stretched thin and progress in tackling child poverty will continue to be stymied until significant revenue reform occurs. Alberta also remains the only province in Canada without a poverty reduction strategy, meaning we are sorely behind in setting measurable goals and tracking progress in these efforts. Without a robust strategy backed up with action, young Albertans trapped in poverty will only fall further behind.

We have a moral obligation to end child poverty in our province, and the result would be a more healthy and compassionate society for all of us.

Joel French is Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta.

Sandra Ngo is Research Coordinator of the Edmonton Social Planning Council.

Ajay Hartenfeld Pandhi is President of the Alberta College of Social Workers.

  • Donations

    Your donation helps us do our work. It keeps our social research current and comprehensive. It allows us to take on bigger projects and make a greater impact in the community. It strengthens our voice—your voice, and the voices of those who lack the opportunity to speak for themselves. All donations are tax deductible, a tax reciept will be issued upon receipt of your donation. (Charitable Tax # 10729 31 95 RP 001)

    Donate Now
  • Membership

    The strength of our voice is dependent upon the support of people and organizations concerned about social issues—people like you. By getting involved with the Edmonton Social Planning Council, you add your voice to our message of positive social development and policy change.

    Become a Member
  • Volunteer

    To inquire directly about volunteer opportunities with the Edmonton Social Planning Council, please contact johnk@edmontonsocialplanning.ca or call 780-423-2031 ext. 356. Thank you for your interest in the Edmonton Social Planning Council

    Volunteer!
  • Become a Board Member

    If you are passionate about equitable social policy and making a difference in your community, consider supporting the Edmonton Social Planning Council by joining our team as a volunteer member of our Board of Directors.

    Read More

Video Feature

Global News - 1 in 6 Alberta children lives below poverty line

Read more about the Edmonton Social Planning Council report on child poverty in Alberta.

Alberta Child Poverty Report - 2018 Click to Download