Calgary

1 in 10 Alberta children live in poverty, finds study

One in 10 Alberta children are living in poverty, according to a new study that shows more than half of those kids have at least one working parent.

Thousands of Alberta kids in poverty despite working parent

A new report is calling on the government to make drastic changes to reduce child poverty in Alberta. (CBC) (File photo)

One in 10 Alberta children are living in poverty, according to a new study that shows more than half of those kids have at least one working parent.

A report by Public Interest Alberta released Tuesday shows that 84,000 children in the province live in poverty, with 29,800 of those children under the age of six. They say it's costing the province up to $9.5 billion a year.

Many of those kids have at least one parent with a job, says report co-author Bill Moore-Kilgannon.

“Close to 60 per cent of those children are actually living in a family where at least one parent worked full time, full year. So what that tells us is that a job itself is not in and of itself a pathway out of poverty,” he said.

"There has to be much more that's done to support families that are working incredibly hard, but just aren't making ends meet.”

Anti-poverty groups are calling on the provincial government to take some dramatic steps, including raising the minimum wage and bringing in a progressive tax structure. They also want the province to follow Ontario's lead and offer a $1,200 a year child benefit.

In a Calgary kitchen, volunteers prepare lunches for kids who would otherwise go hungry.

"It's a harsh reality," said Tanya Koshowski, who runs Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids.

"I received an email on Thursday from a school in the northeast and she said that the dad is not sending four of his kids to school because they're embarrassed because they have no food."

The report measured poverty by using Statistics Canada's Low Income Measure After-Tax. It places the cut off for a family of four at $40,000.

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