Child Poverty Reaches Epidemic Proportions in Toronto

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Almost one in three Toronto children are living in low-income families, according to new data from Statistics Canada, says a report being released today by Toronto groups including the Children's Aid Society of Toronto.  That ties Toronto with Saint John for the highest child poverty rate amongst 13 major Canadian cities.

“The magnitude of child poverty is shocking and requires action now,” said Laurel Rothman, National Coordinator, Campaign 2000 and Director of Social Reform, Family Service Toronto. “How can Toronto residents and our city accept this level of child poverty which puts children’s development and opportunity to thrive at risk?”

Other key findings from the report, available here based on 2012 Taxfiler data include

  • 146,000, or 29% of all Toronto children, live in low-income families
  • There is a striking disparity of child poverty at the neighbourhood level in Toronto from a low of 5% in Lawrence Park North, Leaside-Bennington, and Kingsway South, to a high of over 50% in Regent Park, Moss Park, Oakridge and Thorncliffe Park
  • The child poverty rate in Toronto increased in both 2011 and 2012, with an increase of 10,000 children living in low-income families
  • Toronto has the highest child poverty rate in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area

“We simply can’t stand by while tens of thousands of children in Toronto live in poverty,” said Diane Dyson, of WoodGreen Community Services. “Toronto's next Mayor and Council must make poverty reduction a priority for action.” 

In April 2014, Toronto City Council voted unanimously to develop a poverty reduction strategy for the city by early 2015.   The motion can be found here

Over 40 cities across Canada and the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area have already adopted poverty reduction strategies

On Thursday, August 28, at 10 am at the Church of the Holy Trinity, leading Toronto Mayoral candidates will share their vision for tackling poverty and building a more prosperous and equitable city.  Mayoral candidates will be challenged to sign an Action on Poverty Pledge indicating their commitment to implement an anti-poverty strategy for Toronto with targets, timelines and annual reporting.

For more information, contact:  Michael Polanyi, Community Worker, Children's Aid Society of Toronto at 416-712-6573.