Canada

Child poverty levels in Canada constant

According to a new study by Campaign 2000, a coalition of anti-poverty groups, 49 per cent of immigrant children who've been in Canada at least five years live in poverty.

According to a new study by Campaign 2000, a coalition of anti-poverty groups, 49 per cent of immigrant children who've been in Canada at least five years live in poverty.

"If we have a group of immigrants that are arriving with credentials that are not being recognized then they are not going to be able to find those better jobs that will help sustain themselves," said report co-author Laurel Rothman.

CBC News obtained an advance copy of the study which is scheduled to be released on Thursday.

The study says immigrants are struggling more now than ever before.

In the Chinese community, for example, some newcomers are choosing to break up their families.

"They send their children back to the home country because they thought the grandparent might have more time to take care of the children, and also they have more toys and better living," said Florence Wong, who works for a community program in Toronto.

But child poverty doesn't exist only within immigrant families. It's been a wider problem in Canada for decades and Campaign 2000 says the situation is not getting any better.

The group's annual report says 1.2 million children in Canada – one out of six – continue to live in poverty; a rate that hasn't changed in almost 30 years.

Food banks across the country continue to do a bustling business.

In Toronto alone, 175,000 people use them every month – and it's not just the unemployed.

According to the study nearly half of all poor children, 48 per cent, live in families with working parents.

"People are no longer guaranteed a full time permanent job," says Sue Cox, executive director of Toronto's Daily Bread Food Bank. "There is more casual work, more part-time work, and that is what families are trying to struggle with."

Minister of Social Development Ken Dryden says he's reviewing the problem.

"Everybody is really ready to come up with a really workable definition, a definition that the public understands and accepts, and then out of that there's a much better chance ot setting targets," he said.

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