For two decades, Dr. Miguel Sanchez has been writing about child poverty and each year he’s profoundly disturbed by what he finds.

“Year after year we have been reporting the very same number of children living below the poverty line,” says Sanchez. “It is unacceptable that in a society that claims to cherish children, we have close to 25 per cent of this province’s children living in abject poverty.”

Sanchez, Associate Dean in the Faculty of Social Work, has co-authored a report on child and family poverty in Saskatchewan, with Dr. Garson Hunter, Associate Professor in the Social Work Faculty.

The report using the latest numbers from Statistics Canada (Annual Income Estimates for Census Families and Individuals Final Estimates 2015), states that 24.1 per cent of children in Saskatchewan live below the poverty line, compared to the national average of 17.1 per cent

One in five B.C. youth under the age of 18 were living below the poverty line in 2015, according to the latest child poverty report from First Call BC.

In Williams Lake, the percentage of children living in poverty was 21.1 per cent or 810 out of 3,840 children, while in the entire Cariboo-Chilcotin region, the percentage was 23.2 per cent, the report noted.

Tsilhqot’in National Government Chair Chief Joe Alphonse said the “high” percentage is concerning because where there is poverty a host of other issues will arise.

A former child protection worker, once with the Ministry of Child and Family Development, says, in her experience, Indigenous children are largely being apprehended due to poverty, and their parents are being over policed when trying to reunite with them.

Portia Larlee started her role in communities in north central B.C. in 2015 and said she lasted a year and a half before she quit out of frustration. She said most of her clients were Indigenous.

“It was mostly neglect related to poverty that would put parents at risk of state intervention,” she explained.

The situation of food insecurity—struggling to put food on the table due to financial constraints—is a reality for 3,900 people in Northwestern Ontario.

According to an annual food costing survey conducted by the Northwestern Health Unit, the average cost for a family of four to purchase nutritious food in 2017 is $225.45 per week or $976.20 per month.

While the cost of food has increased 6.5 percent since 2010, the issue runs deeper than just the price of healthy food.

“The real issue is that people with low incomes do not have enough money to pay the rent and all the bills, plus buy healthy food,” says Julie Slack, a registered dietitian with the Northwestern Health Unit.

“Food is a basic human right,” she stressed.

Housing and homelessness are the topics de jour for Nov. 22.

National Housing Day is being recognized across the country, and in Whitehorse, governments and community partners are hosting a Yukon housing forum.

Pauline Frost, the minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corp., Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Doris Bill, Ta’an Kwäch’än Council Chief Kristina Kane, and Mayor Dan Curtis provided the forum’s opening comments.

“It is no secret homelessness and vulnerability issues have been part of this community for some time,” Bill told forum participants at the Westmark Whitehorse Hotel.

“We have all seen it. We have all heard about it in the media. And from all accounts, it has not gotten any better.”

The issue of homelessness in the Yukon is “complex and multifaceted,” she said, and it requires “meaningful solutions” beyond just temporary shelter.

Approximately 3.2 million to 5.0 million Canadians have low income.

In 2016, the Government committed to developing a poverty reduction strategy. To support parliamentarians in their deliberations regarding this strategy, the Parliamentary Budget Officer initiated a census of all existing federal support and services to low income Canadians and vulnerable groups.

Overall, we identified 75 federal initiatives that provide roughly $57 billion of financial support or services to people with low income and other vulnerable groups in 2017-18—55 programs with expenditures of $39.3 billion and 20 tax expenditures that provided $17.5 billion.

Importantly, the various programs and tax expenditures we identified are diverse in their purpose, design and target populations. They were created independently of one another, at different times and in response to different policy problems. Problematically, while the Financial Administration Act mandates program evaluations every five years, there is no similar requirement for tax expenditures. The absence of these evaluations creates an information gap.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould says the Liberal government will back a bill that calls for full implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), a move that could have wide-ranging consequences in Canadian law.

Speaking in Gatineau, Que., late Monday at an event commemorating UNDRIP, the Vancouver-area minister said the Liberals are now prepared to support an NDP private member’s bill that would force the government’s hand to implement all provisions of the declaration — something the government has been loath to do in the past.