B.C. has Canada's highest child poverty rate at nearly 19 per cent: report

A coalition of advocacy groups says British Columbia's child poverty rate is the highest in Canada, at almost 19 per cent.

First Call says the most recent Statistics Canada numbers peg the rate of child poverty at 18.6 per cent in 2011, up from 14.3 per cent in 2010.

The coalition of provincial and regional child, youth and family advocacy groups notes that one in five B.C. children, or 153,000 kids, is living in poverty.

The report measures Manitoba's child poverty rate as the second-worst in Canada at 17.3 per cent, but points out that B.C.'s rate is five percentage points above the Canadian average of 13.3 per cent.

First Call's provincial co-ordinator, Adrienne Montani, says B.C. has done the least of any province to alleviate child and family poverty through government programs and that a poverty reduction plan is long overdue.

The group makes 16 recommendations, including increasing and indexing the minimum wage and welfare rates and adopting a $10-a-day child care program to cut B.C.'s child poverty rate to seven per cent within the next seven years.

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