Researchers at the University of Regina (U of R) released the 2021 Saskatchewan Child and Poverty Report Card which reveals Saskatchewan’s child poverty rate, which peaked in 2004, remains well above the Canadian average.
Dr. Miguel Sanchez, a University of Regina associate professor in the Social Work Faculty, is the author of the report card. He says inadequate amount of money being made available to families and children worsens the poverty level.
“The insufficient government transfers plus low salary in the labour market make it possible for Saskatchewan to have this unacceptable level of child poverty,” said Dr. Sanchez.
The U of R professor said Saskatchewan is one of two provinces in Canada who have kept this poverty rate at this level for the last 10 years.
“We are extremely concerned of what the rates are going to be once the effects of the pandemic are taken into the count,” he said. “Hopefully, we can bring that [number] next year.”
According to the report card, Saskatchewan’s child poverty rate at 26.1 per cent, is greater than all other provinces and territories except Manitoba and Nunavut, and well above the national child poverty rate of 17.7 per cent.
“If we continue to go into the same policy election, we will continue to see an increase in child poverty,” he adds.
Dr. Sanchez says poverty has lifelong impacts on a child. The north part of the province experiences greater rates of poverty in the province, according to Dr. Sanchez. He says in order for rates to go down, changes need to be made at the legislative level.
“Government transfers program can lift all incomes up to the poverty level threshold,” he said. “That can be calculated through the tax system.”
The full report card can be viewed and downloaded the U of R’s website under the Social Work Research Centre.
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