Beyond the Breakfast Program: Addressing the Impact of Poverty in Our Schools

Shernett Martin

workshops, contact  Jim  Giles  at provincial office:  jgiles@etfo.org.

Recent Statistics on Poverty in Canada*

In  1989,  the  House  of  Commons resolved to end child poverty by the year 2000 . But 18 years later the child poverty  rate (11 .7%)  is exactly the same .

  • Despite a growing economy, soaring dollar, and low unemployment, one in six children, or 1 .13  million kids, are  living in poverty, before income taxes .
  • A job is not enough – 41% of low-income children live in families where at least one parent works full-time all year.
  • The risk of living in poverty is not the same for all children. Poverty affects children in racialized,  First  Nations,  and  recent  immigrant communities much more often .
  • The average two-parent, low-income family lives on an income that is $11,000 below the poverty line .
  • The average low-income, single-parent family lives on an income that is $9,200 below the poverty line .

*  All of the statistics quoted are from “It Takes a Nation to Raise a Generation: Time for a National Poverty Reduction Strategy, Campaign 2000  Report Card on Child and Family Poverty” (2007).  Available at campaign2000.ca/rc/rc07/2007_C2000_NationalReportCard.pdf

1.  Ben Levin, “Poverty and Inner-City Education” (2004).  Policy Research Initiative paper. Available at  policyresearch.gc.ca/page.asp?pagenm=v7n2_art_08
2.  Poverty is a global challenge. According to the organization Make Poverty History  (makepovertyhistory.org), every three seconds a child dies from extreme poverty somewhere in the world.
3.  “10 Things You Can Do in Your School to Address Child Poverty,” Eastern Ontario Child Poverty Resource Network  publication  (n.d.).  Available at spcottawa.on.ca/EOCPRN/PDFs/PrincipalsTenThings.PDF


Photo of school with road in foreground and heavy HDR post-editing

Darlene Ciuffetelli Parker from Brock University, and Joe Flessa from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto – studied 11 schools in poor neighbourhoods. Their case studies focus on seven of these schools and what they do every day to ensure that all students are provided with the best opportunity for success.

cartoon of ontario sightseeing bus

The past year of negotiations has been difficult for ETFO and other public sector unions.