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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Canada's children under the global spotlight. A continuing public health crisis

An op-ed published on the plight of Canada’s children deserves a quick read.  Published in Victoria of all places, renowned as a centre for retirement in Canada, the article by University of Calgary professor Nicole Letourneau hits hard at the neglect of Canadian children in comparison to our developed country peers.

UNICEF rankings show how Canada stacks up against other developed countries UNICEF state of child 12 2014  and the 2014 report focused specifically on the impact of the recession globally on hardest hit nations and changes over the 2008-2013 period. Oddly much of Canadian statistics are excluded from the main UNICEF report, but are found in a companion Canadian document at Canadian companion UNICEF 

·         Canada’s performance remains dismal overall but some good trends are noted
·         Child poverty increased overall by 2%
·         Children are more likely to be living in poverty than adults and seniors in Canada
·         Canada still ranks 20 of 41 countries in poverty rates, and a whopping 16% absolute less than Norway where only one in twenty children lives in poverty.
·         10% of Canada’s youth either not employed or in school, however this fairs better than most countries (rank 7)
·         Canada ranked 34 of the 41 countries in the perception that children’s opportunities have declined
·         Canada ranks 32 of the 41 countries on perceptions of increased stress on children.

Both the global report and Canadian companion are excellent documents that detail the impacts of the recession and lessons to be learned from global comparisons.  Canada’s performance close to dismal based on the op-ed Times-Colonist January 11.

Both documents are to be commended for lengthy discussions of the economic rationale for supporting children, and both speak of the successes that others have accomplished.

Time for Canada to step to the plate at more than the tokenism expressed in addressing income  splitting amongst high single income earning families. 

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