|Aboriginal peoples are a growing percentage of Canada's population, but the poverty rate for children is being called 'staggering.' (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)|
Half of status First Nations children in Canada live in poverty, a troubling figure that jumps to nearly two-thirds in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, says a newly released report."The poverty rate is staggering. A 50 per-cent poverty rate is unlike any other poverty rate for any other disadvantaged group in the country, by a long shot the worst," said David Macdonald, a senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and co-author of the report.The study released late Tuesday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Save the Children Canada found that the poverty rate of status First Nations children living on reserves was triple that of non-indigenous children.
Co-author Daniel Wilson cautions that for many of them, "the depth of the poverty … is actually greater than the numbers themselves tell you."
"Imagine any typical First Nations child living on a reserve," said Wilson, a former diplomat and policy consultant on indigenous issues. "They're waking up in an overcrowded home that may have asbestos, probably has mould, is likely in need of major repair, that does not have drinking water and they have no school to go to."