Yesterday, PC MLA Brian Comer introduced legislation aimed at measuring and reducing childhood poverty across the province. With one in four children in our province living below the poverty line, Comer stresses the importance of putting in place a strategy immediately.
Tragically, this statistic goes up to one in three children on Cape Breton Island.
“It’s overdue,” said Comer. “Nova Scotia hasn’t seen much success in helping vulnerable children and it’s time we make a change.”
An Act To Reduce Childhood Poverty would mandate the Minister responsible to table a report every year, and require updates and progress towards that five-year poverty reduction targets every year. The Bill points out that the child poverty rate in Nova Scotia is relatively unchanged since 1989.
“When we ask the Minister about Nova Scotia’s troubling childhood poverty statistics, we’re told that the federal government’s numbers are wrong,” says Comer. “Since the province and Stats Canada can’t always agree, it’s time we start monitoring child poverty with some consistency.”
The Minister’s report would call for consultation with poverty experts and require inequalities faced by Indigenous peoples, African Nova Scotian communities and other historic targets of systemic racism. Estimates have shown over 40,000 Nova Scotia children live in poverty.
This legislation lays out a foundational framework that will allow for all three levels of government to work alongside impacted communities to collaborate and achieve a common goal of childhood poverty reduction in Nova Scotia.
“I hope this legislation provides a clear roadmap for future governments to attack the problem,” says Comer. “It starts with putting that problem down on paper.”