Poverty in Canada and Globally

Meet “Sunshine”- a Ray of Hope for our children’s generation. Let’s combat both poverty and climate change now to ensure a safe and bright future for all children. Sunshine © Linda Woods 2019

The latest available statistics state that nearly *6,000,000 people in Canada live in poverty. This figure includes *1,337,570 children. *Status First Nations children experience the highest level of poverty, with 53% living in poverty in First Nations communities on reserve, and 41% living in poverty in all other communities–totally unaccceptable. Additionally, Income Inequality, the gap between the rich and poor, has grown to unjustifiable heights. *Campaign 2000: 2020 National Report. Click here to access this report and its recommendations. www.campaign2000.ca

In Canada and other high income countries, child poverty is expected to rise above pre-COVID levels for at least five years*. Yet, only 2 per cent of government-provided financial relief across OECD and EU countries, including Canada, was allocated to support children and their families during the first wave of the pandemic. *Canadian UNICEF Committee. To view in full this very concerning report , please click here.

A Canadian family of four can expect to spend almost *$700 more on food in 2021, *according to the 11th annual edition of Canada’s Food Price Report, released in December 2020. It forecasts an overall food price increase of 3 to 5 per cent for 2021 – the highest predicted annual increase ever. The most significant increases are predicted for meat at 4.5 to 6.5 per cent, bakery at 3.5 to 5.5 per cent and vegetables at 4.5 to 6.5 per cent. This reflects pandemic-related challenges, from COVID-19 outbreaks in processing plants to low oil prices, which have faced Canada’s food supply chain in 2020. Women, Black people, Indigenous people, people of colour and families with children are most at risk.

Globally, early indicators are that Covid-19 is ushering in the greatest rise in Economic Inequality in decades. In January 2021, *Oxfam reported that it took just nine months for the top 1,000 billionaires’ fortunes to return to their pre-pandemic highs. But for the world’s poorest people, recovery could take 14 times longer, more than a decade. Globally, women are over-represented. The increase in the 10 richest billionaires’ wealth since the crisis began is more than enough to prevent anyone on Earth from falling into poverty because of the virus, and to pay for a COVID-19 vaccine for everyone. Visit Oxfam’s site to see their initiatives to combat the frightening rise in Global Economic Inequality. www.oxfam.ca

The *World Bank estimates that *100,000,000 people will fall back into extreme poverty this year due to the pandemic. Click here for the full report. The *UN World Food Program, winner of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, estimates that *the number of those facing extreme hunger will double this year to 265,000,000.

You can find many networks fighting poverty locally, nationally, and around the world on our Networking page – https://arwsej.ca/networking

Climate Change is dramatically affecting families with children living in poverty. In his 2015 Encyclical Letter Laudato Si – On Care For Our Common Home, Pope Francis pointed out clearly that exploitation of the environment often goes hand in hand with the exploitation of the poor; people in poverty often suffer most when air quality declines or weather disasters strike. Also, as food supplies are becoming scarcer, due to extreme weather patterns, prices become even more unaffordable for the poor. Among other aggravating factors is the reality that low incomes often force families and children in poverty to live in areas more susceptible to weather disasters and pollution. Visit the site of the ecumenical organization For The Love of Creation – https://fortheloveofcreation.ca

Climate Change. Hell or Hope for our children?
It’s up to us. “Sunshine” with globe and flowers © Linda Woods 2021

%d bloggers like this: