Grande Prairie has the second lowest child poverty rate of major Alberta centres, but it’s still in the double digits. Almost 13 per cent of children in the Swan City live in low income families. Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta Joel French says the provincial rate is even higher at around 16 per cent.
“We should keep in mind too that this data is from the latest available data from Statistics Canada, which is from 2013, so this wouldn’t take into account the current downturn, and so things would be, I think, slightly worse that this, but we won’t know until the data catches up with it.”
A family is considered to be poor if their income is less than half of the median income for their community. The lowest rate for a major community is Wood Buffalo at 10.2 per cent.
French says the NDP government has made some positive moves the Child Tax Benefit, but adds there’s much work to be done. French argues child poverty is preventable and often the result of government policies.
“Our history with minimum wage is one actually, and we’re thankful that the new government is taking a new approach to that. Under the PC government previously, the last increase they made to the minimum wage was a mere 25 cents in 2014.”
French believes more money should be raised through upping income taxes or creating a sales tax.