We can’t leave 20 per cent of students behind

Nanaimo-Cowichan MP Jean Crowder notes that almost 20 per cent of students in this school district live in poverty.

The report from Dr. Paul Hasselback, medical health officer for the Central Island region, was stark — almost 20 per cent of students in this school district are living in poverty.

This means those students are less ready for school and their chances of doing well in the classroom are greatly reduced.

Canadians said they wanted to end child poverty in 1989 when the House of Commons passed Ed Broadbent’s motion in 1989 calling on Canada to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000.

The sad truth is we didn’t manage to eliminate child poverty, and it has actually increased, especially here in British Columbia, which has the highest rate of child poverty in Canada.

There are solutions to child poverty, and the federal government can help by making targeted investments where the evidence proves they actually help families.

A significant number of children living in poverty come from single-parent families. It seems obvious that having access to secure, affordable, convenient child care would help these families.

The group “Living Wage for Families” has said that a publicly-funded child care system in B.C. that offered subsidies similar to that of Quebec would reduce monthly costs to $280 for the average family.

Right now, families who pay for child care spend nearly 20 per cent of their budget on fees. With a publicly-funded system, that percentage would drop to less than seven per cent.

When Quebec introduced its (then) $7-a-day child care system, many people worried it would be a burden on taxpayers.

But research has shown that labour productivity increased, mainly from the numbers of women who could enter or re-enter the workforce and start earning taxable income.

That could be a strong incentive to work.

Of course, not every parent can or is able to work, so targeted assistance can also help.

Increasing the main federal transfer to help young families, the Canada Child Tax Benefit, is another option. First Call: the BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition recommends the benefit be raised to $5,500 and be universal, so all families with children receive it regardless of whether their income is from earnings or government transfers.

Like the baby bonus of previous decades, this would help young families with expenses. And with universality, it costs less to administer the program.

Helping families pay for expenses with a mix of incentives and assistance is a proven way to lift more children out of poverty and help them prepare for school.

Ensuring students are ready to learn is smart public policy.

Those students are more likely to do well in school and potentially go to post-secondary studies.

With looming labour shortages as our population ages, we cannot leave 20 per cent of students behind.


Just Posted

Woman speaks out after alleged sexual assault at Duncan Walmart

Allegations launched against man with ties to Ladysmith community

BC local elections: CVRD Area G voters ask questions about water, community centre

Saltair voters gathered under the roof of the community centre, a building… Continue reading

Ladysmith Public Art strategy holding back alleys and forgotten corners walk

Thanks to those who attended our Public Arts 101 Talk at the… Continue reading

BC local elections: Ladysmith town council candidate Amanda Jacobson

Current occupation: I am a mortgage broker; I have been helping people… Continue reading

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

Ocean “Blob” returns to North Coast of B.C.

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Pot sales down by nearly 70% on Day 2 of legalization in B.C.

Several products on BC Cannabis Store are still sold out

B.C. jury finds man guilty of Japanese exchange student’s murder

Natsumi Kogawa was found at empty heritage mansion shortly after she was reported missing in 2016

B.C. man accused of killing Belgian tourist along Highway 1 appears in court

Sean McKenzie, 27, made second court appearance since his arrest in connection with the murder of Amelie Sakkalis

Colourfully named cannabis products appeal to youth, Tory health critic says

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says the Liberal government needs to do more to ensure cannabis products available online are not enticing to young people

Trial set for man charged with decades-old murder of B.C. girl

Garry Handlen accused of killing Merritt girl; also charged with Abbotsford murder

B.C. high school teacher faces sexual assault charges

A Mt. Boucherie teacher has been charged with child luring, sexual exploitation and sexual assault.

Fashion Fridays: You can never have enough shoes

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Most Read