Rate of child poverty in B.C. 'scandalous' advocate says

Adrienne Montani, the provincial co-ordinator with First Call B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, says child poverty in British Columbia is becoming normalized and accepted.

Adrienne Montani says child poverty in the province is becoming normalized and accepted

According to the latest Hunger Count report from Food Banks Canada, one-third of the people who access food banks are children. (CBC)

An advocate is calling out British Columbians for accepting child poverty in the province as a fixed fact.

Yesterday, a Hunger Count report from Food Banks Canada revealed that food bank use in B.C. is at a record high, with children accessing the service at disproportionately high rates.

In fact, in 2016, one-third of B.C. food bank users were children.

Adrienne Montani, the provincial co-ordinator with First Call B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, told CBC's The Early Editionwe've allowed families to fall by the wayside.

We can do more but we're choosing not to.- Child advocate Adrienne Montani

"We have allowed our governments not to step up," she said. "We've allowed the narrative around poverty to be individualized and say it's these individual families' problems to struggle through this."

Systemic problems are the root cause of poverty in the province, Montani said, pointing out food often takes a back seat when families have to pay high rents on low wages.

"The majority of poor kids in this province have parents who work but they are stuck in low wage work or precarious work ... or they're not being able to work if you're a single parent and you can't afford childcare."

She said the solutions are clear — making sure people have access to better paying work and adequate childcare.

"This is not rocket science," she said. "We can do more but we're choosing not to."

With files from The Early Edition


To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled Stop the normalization of child poverty advocate says