The present essay is attempting to delve deeply into the aspect of child poverty in Canada. Henceforth, the present paper will concentrate in recognizing the long lasting effects of poverty on a child and the possible measures that can be taken to combat such a social curse. However, prior to that the paper will investigate the reasons due to which instead of being a country having abundance of resources Canada have failed to address the issue of child poverty (Smith-Carrier & Lawlor, 2016). The term child poverty refers to a situation where children fail to access the basic standards of living. According to UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund), children experiencing deprivation of basic resources in spiritual, emotional and material premises as well as being unable to enjoy basic rights to become equal members of the society (Beaujot et al., 2013).
Henceforth the aim of the thesis paper is to assess and examine the extent to which Canada has been able to address the issue of child poverty.
Canada is constantly lagging behind to put an end to a social cause like Childhood poverty. It is unfortunate to find out that Toronto is still remaining as the “child poverty capital” as near about 133,000 children are currently living below the poverty line. Specifically, Regent Park is the most neglected neighborhood of Canada that has more than 58.1% of the children belonging to extremely low-income family (Benbow et al., 2016). Besides Regent Park, the other two neighborhoods of Canada suffering with child poverty are Oakridge in the Scarborough territory and the East York. On the contrary, affluent neighborhoods such as Lawrence Park North and South and Leaside-Bennington have not more than 5% of the children who are belonging to comparatively low-income families (Martorano et al., 2014). However, as contradicted by Bradshaw and Main. (2016), childhood poverty rate is highest in the zone of Saskatchewan in the country as the statistical result of 2014 indicates that the child poverty rate of Saskatchewan is more than 24.6%. Moreover, it has been known that over two out of three Canadian children in the particular territory of Saskatchewan are living below the poverty line (Brittain & Blackstock, 2015).
Nevertheless, according to UNICEF’s “Measuring child poverty” report, it is shocking that most of the world’s richest and most affluent countries are living with child poverty such as United States, Canada, Southern and eastern European states (Currie, 2016). Therefore, it is understandable that the expectation from the richest countries for reducing the rate of child poverty is not being met. Specifically, it is to denote that the result is not expected for a nation like Canada as the existing policies for transfer and tax in Canada are relatively effective, which accompanies the country’s child poverty gap ranks 23rd among more than 35 nations with high industry growth (Herz, 2015). It is unfortunate to note that presently in Canada, immigrant, racialized and single-parent families along families having too many disable members are more likely to live in below the poverty line. Furthermore, in “out-of-school” programs for sports and arts, only half of the children belonging to families having income less than $30,000 participate. However, it should be considered in favor of Canada, that the non-patrician campaign called Campaign 2000 with the network of almost 120 organizations is working hard to end the social curse of childhood poverty (Macdonald & Wilson, 2013).
After having a coherent understanding about the current state of childhood poverty in Canada, it is significant to identify the causes of this stubborn social issue in the country. It has been found out that in Canada, child poverty is highly related with the ignorance of the affluent society of the country (Macdonald & Wilson, 2016). It is utterly shameful to denote that increasing rate of childhood poverty is provoked by the long running racism in the country. On the other hand, unaffordable price of the housing and food insecurity other two major causes behind the issue. More precisely, inadequate housing is a major constraint that largely hinders development as well as well-being of the children belonging to the low-income family. The failure to end childhood poverty is being continued as instead of promising to lift children from immense poverty, the House of Commons has not kept their promise (Martorano et al., 2014). Today, children belonging to marginalized families suffer worst in terms of living below the poverty line. Most importantly, the country is still suffering with the issue of underpayment and zero benefit employment, which is making it hard to afford the housing charges. It is unfortunate that in a place like Ontario, more than 802% of the employees work on temporary bases, which signals that lack of job opportunities is also a prime cause of poverty that is affecting the child development (Macdonald & Wilson, 2016).
Nevertheless, it is significant to mention here that unaffordable price range of healthy food is affecting on the health of the children. However, in terms of long running effects of childhood poverty, it has been identified that children belonging to low-income families are lacking easy access for early learning and numerous extracurricular activities. The UN Human Rights council with the help of “Universal Periodic Review procedure” has even criticized Canada for not taking any action to prevent effects of poverty on the upbringing of the children. Here question may be escalated about the fact that whether the role of the band-aid solutions like food bank by the federal government of Canada has worked in favor or not (Macdonald & Wilson, 2013). It is unfortunate to mention again that since 1980 when the food bank had been established to put an end to food insecurity, the initiative has shown very less progress (Weitzman & Lee, 2016). Most importantly, in terms of consequence, child labor, premature death and illiteracies are increasing the Canadian society. More than one third of the children belonging to marginalized and immigrant families along with living in poverty still lack the scopes for proper education, medical treatment on time and having nutritious foods (Brittain & Blackstock, 2015).
However, it is state in this context that, in terms of long-lasting effect of poverty on childhood, individual enduring poverty from childhood, individuals mostly grow chronic mental or physical problem. It has been measured that children living in poverty from nine to 17 have negative impact of poverty on their mental and physical health. More specifically, in terms of long-lasting effect, children become vulnerable towards conduct disorders, depression and behavior abnormality, which contribute long-lasting effects on the child (Bradshaw & Main, 2016). A behavior patter4n called “learned helplessness” is common among the adults in Canada who has lived their lives in immense poverty. The particular phase is a demonic consequence of poverty, in which children feel that they do not possess any power or opportunity for controlling their situations (Smith-Carrier & Lawlor, 2016). Most significantly, in terms of consequence of long-lasting poverty, children become more vulnerable to the criminal approaches. It has been identified that more than 80% of the juvenile criminals belong to poverty stricken locality (Herz, 2015).
In this respect, it is shocking to note down that due to long-lasting poverty children often start off with extremely high level of anti-social behavior. Children living in constant poverty with little access to healthy food, education and medical treatment tend to tell lies, break things, bully other and even inflict physical injury upon others (Simpson et al., 2014). On the other hand, long-lasting poverty harms the normal activity of brains of the children. More precisely, children belonging to the age group of 9-10 and living in poverty had impressive activity in the amygdale while they have less activity on the prefrontal context. Both of the parts of human brain are responsible for detecting any act of threat and managing stress (Currie, 2016). Therefore, it is easy to contemplate that children living in poverty suffers through the inability to regulate their emotions properly. Further in future, the grown up individual who has suffered childhood poverty could not supersede anxiety disorders, stress disorders of post-traumatic phase and tremendous aggression (Rothwell & McEwen, 2015).
Therefore, it should be contemplated here that if the nation will continue to show its lethargy in taking active actions against the social cause, then the rate of anti-social activities among the juveniles will grow in fast pace. More, elaborately, if the nation stays careless about the suffering conditions of the immigrant children and the children belonging to marginalized as well as low income families, the country have strong possibilities to increase the chances for being called a developed nation belonging to the first world (Orkin et al., 2016). Moreover, the will eventually decrease its literacy rank and may end up in having a disappointing rate of abnormality among children.
The situation indicates that the nation needs immediate measures to combat with the issue, therefore in order to accomplish that the present Canadian government should consider revising the cost of housing in the first place (Rothwell & McEwen, 2015). It means the country should lower the price of housing materials and should increase the number of housings available in very low cost to the immigrants and the marginalized family (Norris & Pendakur, 2013). Most importantly, being a country with abundance of resources, Canada should bring the price range of healthy foods to an affordable range. On the other hand, the country should consider increasing the permanent job opportunities for which the country needs to increase the number of business sectors. It would help to change the situation, if the government would attempt to provide agricultural facilities to the immigrants as well as to the individuals coming from minor communities (Martorano et al., 2014).
Nevertheless, it should be considered in this respect that the present government of Canada should think about reforming its existing tax policy as the rate of tax of federal corporate is reduced to a rate of 15% without any discernable effect on the crucial condition on employment (Rothwell & McEwen, 2015). Most importantly, it is to conclude that the nation should use education to be a powerful enabler of diminishing poverty. Therefore, the government should immediately consider increasing the number of schools for aboriginals as well as for the immigrants.
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