Child poverty rates show action needed

November 24, 2016

For immediate release.

HALIFAX – The Child Poverty Report Card, released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, raises questions about what the McNeil government is doing to address poverty in Nova Scotia. The report confirms that one in five children live in poverty, one in three in Cape Breton. Child poverty was over 30 per cent in six communities: Glace Bay, New Waterford, North Sydney, Sydney Mines, Eskasoni, and Yarmouth.

“This is scandalous, but not surprising. We know that food bank use has increased under this government and I think it is reasonable to ask how the Premier justifies allowing children to go hungry,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “Stephen McNeil has defended salary increases for his inner circle that are larger than what the government expects some people live on for a year, but we haven’t heard anything about how the Premier plans to address the crisis in child poverty.”

Last week, Food Banks Canada released a report that found food bank use was up 20 per cent in Nova Scotia over the last year. The report found that 23,840 people used foodbanks in March 2016, 30 per cent of them children.

The Nova Scotia NDP Caucus has introduced legislation to help alleviate poverty, including increasing the minimum wage, piloting a basic income program in Nova Scotia, and increasing social assistance to ensure people can afford groceries instead of visiting foodbanks.

“Instead of balancing the books of the province on the backs of the children of this province, we need a new approach that invests in people,” said Burrill. “What does investing in people look like? It looks like helping the 130,000 people who earn less than $15 an hour make ends meet. It looks like initiating a pilot project for a Basic Income Guarantee in Nova Scotia. It looks like doing whatever we can to make sure families can get their food from grocery stores or farmers’ markets, not a food bank. It looks like ending child hunger instead of handing out millions to corporations like RBC.“


For more information, contact Kaley Kennedy at 902-229-6881 or kaley.kennedy@novascotia.ca.