Toronto called 'child poverty capital of Ontario'

A new report says Toronto is "the child poverty capital of Ontario."

A new report says Toronto is "the child poverty capital of Ontario."

Half of all Ontario children that struggle to survive live in the Toronto area, according to the report, which was released Tuesday and was prepared by the Children's Aid Societies and Social Planning Network.

The report, called "Greater Trouble in Greater Toronto, Child Poverty in the GTA,"  said its numbers show that one in five food bank users in the GTA are single parents.

For most of those parents the reason they can't work is because of a lack of affordable child care, while another severe problem facing families is affordable housing.

"A poverty reduction strategy for Ontario needs to demonstrate a strong commitment to affordable housing. The cost of housing and rising utility costs are the single biggest expense for most low-income families. Without access to safe, affordable housing families and children cannot break the cycle of poverty," said Tracey Vaughan of the Community Development Council in Durham Region in a statement.

The study also stated there is a fundamental racial aspect to child poverty, especially among new immigrants who flock to the GTA.

"Non-white children make up about half of the GTA's child population, however, they compose 70 per cent of the GTA's children living in poverty," said David Rivard, executive director of the Toronto CAS.

"Persons who are black or from Africa: one in two children are living in poverty," said Paul Zarnke, the head of the Peel Children's Aid Society.

On Wednesday, the provincial government will release details of its poverty reduction plan.