Poverty is hard to measure. There are many aspects besides living on low income, including having disabilities or costly health problems, not being able to find decent housing, not being able to understand and communicate in an environment with increasing technological and legal complexity and being unable to find nutritious food at reasonable prices.

Still, the federal government has embarked on formulating a major poverty-reduction strategy and it would presumably like to have meaningful ways of measuring and monitoring progress toward the goal of reducing poverty in Canada – what Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has called the 3Ms.

It’s time the federal government established an official poverty line – a dollar amount of income below which a person or family would be deemed to be “poor.”

New limits on fees for cashing cheques and high-cost loans will take effect on Sept. 1 in British Columbia.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says in a statement the changes tighten the rules for payday-loan businesses and aim to protect people from paying high fees to cash cheques and borrow money.

Farnworth says the changes will help some of B.C.’s most vulnerable people who use non-traditional lenders and credit providers to cash social assistance or disability cheques.

The changes that go into effect Sept. 1 include: lowering the maximum fee to $15 for every $100 borrowed and capping the fee for cashing a social assistance or disability cheque at $2, plus one per cent of the value of the cheque, up to a maximum of $10.

Tampons and pads fill the office cupboards for Nellie’s women’s shelter.

That’s because, at any point during a given month, around 30 women are on their periods while using the Toronto facility.

“Can you imagine the number of sanitary pads we need?” said Margarita Mendez, the executive director.

Shelters like Mendez’s don’t receive funding targeted at menstrual hygiene products, so they wind up buying supplies or seeking donations for their homeless and street-involved clients who typically can’t afford them on their own.

Although various groups have debated the extent of Halifax’s rental crisis, data from the 2018 Canadian Rental Housing Index shows rental prices in Nova Scotia are pushing families to the brink.

The numbers highlight an issue that plagues the province but more specifically Halifax, which sees roughly one in five renter households spending more than half their income on housing and utilities.

The index, which was led by the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association but included national partners, found that Nova Scotia’s rental market is the fourth unhealthiest in Canada. The province also ranks as the most unhealthy rental market in Atlantic Canada.

A national report released on Monday found that close to one in four children in Charlottetown is living in poverty.

The report, released by the national anti-poverty coalition Campaign 2000, broke down child poverty rates for each federal riding in Canada. The riding of Charlottetown saw the highest rate in P.E.I., with 23.5 per cent of children living in poverty.

The Island’s overall rate of child poverty stands at 17.4 per cent, according to the most recent report card on child and family poverty on Prince Edward Island.

Canada is home to 1.2 million children that live in poverty, according to a report from the organization Campaign 2000. That figure represents 17 per cent of children. The poverty rate for First Nations children is more than double, 37.9 per cent.

The group used 2015 income tax data to determine child poverty rates split up by federal election ridings. Saskatchewan is home to one of two ridings where a majority of children live in poverty.

Desnethé–Missinippi–Churchill River, a riding that extends from Meadow Lake, Sask. north to the Northwest Territory border, has a child poverty rate of 57.8 per cent. Manitoba’s Churchill-Keewatinook Aski is the only riding with greater child poverty, 64.2 per cent.

In the midst of mounting controversy surrounding the removal of children from their parents by U.S. officials at the Mexican border, Canada’s own trend of child removal was put on display before the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples Tuesday.

Cora McGuire-Cyrette, executive director of the Ontario Native Woman’s Association (ONWA), told the committee Ontario’s child welfare services and the Child, Youth and Family Services Act are working together as “today’s current residential school system.”

While Indigenous people under age 15 represent 4.1 per cent of Ontario’s population, Statistics Canada data shows they make up 30 per cent of those in foster care. The Ontario Human Rights Commission recently recognized this may result partly from bias within the province’s child welfare agencies.