Children’s Aid Society of Toronto co-author of 2015 poverty report: child poverty rates worst in Toronto


Toronto leads in child poverty rates amongst large urban areas in Canada, says a report released October 13 by the Alliance for a Poverty-Free Toronto. The release comes a week before Toronto City Council debates the adoption of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy. The report is based on data from Statistics Canada, and is an update of a 2014 report on poverty in Toronto called The Hidden Epidemic. One of the key findings of the report is that poverty rates in Toronto have either flatlined or are on the rise. The Children’s Aid Society of Toronto is a member of the alliance, which also includes Family Service Toronto, Campaign 2000, Social Planning Toronto, and Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change.

Toronto Child and Family Update 2015 key statistics

  • 28.6% of children aged 0–17 years were living below the poverty line
  • Five downtown neighbourhoods had a child poverty rate of over 40%
  • 18 of 25 neighbourhoods in Scarborough had a rate greater than 30%
  • Children of colour, Indigenous children, children from single-parent or newcomer families, and children with disabilities are more likely to experience poverty
  • Individuals of non-European backgrounds are up to three times more likely to be living on low incomes

Impact of poverty on children

  • Poverty affects children’s immediate quality of life, as well their future life prospects
  • Low socioeconomic status is associated with poorer health and developmental outcomes, both in childhood and later in adulthood
  • The unintentional neglect caused by poverty means that children cannot thrive and perform well in school due to lack of access to nutritious food, lack of quality housing, and lack of recreation

OACAS Child Welfare Report 2014: early intervention and social support are key to preventing child abuse

Children’s Aid Societies play a significant role in the lives of children and families affected by poverty. OACAS has long advocated on behalf of the child welfare sector to ensure the following messages are heard by government:

  • Early help is key: giving parents support when a child protection concern first emerges means the need for long-term and (or) more intensive services can be averted
  • Poverty and isolation often mean that parents with additional challenges brought on by these issues have few options for informal help
  • Government must commit to addressing the other issues besides poverty that are related to child abuse and neglect, such as social isolation, substance abuse, and violence
  • With continued government investment, Children’s Aid Societies can help families build strong social safety networks, leading to communities that are more resilient and able to care for their most vulnerable members

Child & Family Poverty Update 2015
The Hidden Epidemic 2014
OACAS Child Welfare Report 2014