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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Canada's children getting needed attention from two very different groups.

Two papers of utter importance in relation to the state of our children are essential reading. 

Campaign 2000 that continues to remind us of Canada’s failed commitment to eliminate poverty by the year 2000 issued its annual report on the lack of success of the last 25 years of effort.  Most notable in the report card is the need to migrate to the Low income measure based on half of the median level of income in an area since the long form census shifted to the National Household Survey(NHS).  By its very nature the NHS will undermeasure those in poverty, those in single parent situations, and those that are less engaged with community. 

The good news is that poverty levels continue to creep down slowly, but still 19.1% of Canadian children are living in impoverished conditions. Regrettably this is still an increase over the base year of the parliamentary resolution in 1989 of 15.8%

Restructuring the low income level (poverty) level, has significantly shifted relative rankings of provinces in respect to poverty rates.  The Yukon and Alberta at the lowest end, while Nunavut, Manitoba and Saskatchewan at the highest levels. 

Welcomed in the report is emphasis on the state of indigenous children with estimated rates of poverty approaching 40%

The full report can be accessed from Campaign 2000

Balancing activism with academics is becoming a natural linkage when change is required.   The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada , a body that rarely wanders into advocacy issues, has released one of the best and most comprehensive policy statements on children’s wellbeing punctanted by a message from the CEO.  This body steeped in tradition is taking a bold step by adopting and communicating a position on early childhood development. 

One needs to remember that the  Royal College oversees only the specialists of the country, of the 40,000 active fellows only 5% or so are pediatricians.  That the Royal College recognizes the lifetime investment and health benefits in substantive attention to the early years is an endorsement of the required attention. 

Read the 15 recommendations of the policy statement on early childhood development from the Royal College, and compare with the Campaign 2000 recommendations.  When such disparate organizations are saying almost the same thing, is it possible that someone may listen?  

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