A national report card on child and family poverty in Canada spanning 30 years says that one in five children are living in poverty, with rates exceptionally high for children of Indigenous and First Nation heritage.

Campaign 2000, a non-partisan network of organizations focused on ending childhood and family poverty, released the report card entitled “Child and Family Poverty 30 Years Later.” It provides an analysis of childhood and family poverty in the country using the most recent data available, creating a picture of the status of childhood poverty in 2019.

A projected $487 jump in food costs for the average Canadian family in 2020 could be the tipping point toward even more widespread food insecurity in Quinte, says the head of a social planning charity group in the region.

Ruth Ingersoll, executive director of the non-profit Community Development Council of Quinte, said while the added cost may seem incidental to some, the rise may represent a small fortune for one in nine families living on the edge of poverty.

“This could be a tipping point for some people. With this $487 increase they won’t be able to buy enough food,” warned Ingersoll, an 18-year veteran with CDC which provides a raft of food and social programs at no cost to help families cope.

Choosing not to act in the fight against financial insecurity could be detrimental to the municipality as Kathy Kennedy, Executive Director of Prince Edward Learning Centre (PELC), pointed out during Thursday’s Committee of the Whole Meeting at Shire Hall.

Kennedy approached council asking for $35,000 to be carved out of the 2020 municipal budget so PELC can expand their array of services. In 2019, programming offered by PELC brought in about $1.1 million to Prince Edward County residents who utilized the tax, benefit and financial-related specific programming offered by the adult education centre.

Kennedy explains that PELC’s goal is to help bring $7.5 million to residents-thereby the local economy- over the next two years in part through increasing their financial literacy and tax clinic programs.

The last two homeless people camping on the property at St. John’s Anglican Church found housing and moved out last week, said the church minister — yet it appears people are still living outside this winter in the seclusion of Jackson Park.

The homeless had been allowed to camp there with clergy permission after the Warming Room shelter closed for good July 1. At its summer peak, there were 18 tents on church property.

But the campers have slowly left after they found. Rev. Brad Smith said Wednesday the final two homeless men found a house last week.

Meanwhile he said homelessness is still an issue in Peterborough.

Toronto City Hall loves a good crackdown, now and again. Crackdowns are easy. They get headlines. Everyone looks busy and productive. Mayor John Tory in particular is known for requesting (entirely justified) towing sprees against illegally parked delivery trucks. But the sprees happen on pre-announced dates, so as not to upset anyone too much or solve the problem too quickly.

There was a different kind of crackdown Tuesday, this one ostensibly directed by city staff. Those affected quite rightly had 15 days’ notice that the city intended to dismantle an encampment under a bridge in the Rosedale Valley — a forested ravine with a busy two-lane road at the bottom of it — that a few people called home for lack of any other.

For people who believe poverty and social inequality can be defeated, these are not bright days.

At Queen’s Park we have a government that seems determined to destroy even modest signs of progress, such as higher minimum wages, the basic income pilot and social assistance improvements.

And in Ottawa, we have a government that talks a much better game than its predecessor, but that talk about social equity has yet to be backed up with decisive action.

The positive news is that Ottawa and Queen’s Park are investing $1.8 billion over 10 years for the Canada-Ontario Housing benefit. It promises to improve access to better quality, stable housing. It could decrease homelessness by helping people on the margins stay in housing they could not otherwise afford.

Ontario’s basic income pilot project was making a different in the lives of participants, and its cancellation was “devastating,” a Lakehead University researcher said.

Ravi Gokani, associate professor at Lakehead’s School of Social Work, has been speaking to people who participated in the pilot, people who didn’t, and community organizations about the impact the pilot had on the community.

“Most of the people that I’ve spoken to that had been on the pilot are back on some form of social assistance.”