by Heather McIntyre
November 24, 2011
With five children between the ages of nine months and seven years, Edmonton mother Amie Johnston and her husband use all the help they can get.
She credits her in-laws with help with keeping their home as well as clothes on their backs.
A report released yesterday proves her case that its tough for many families out there, as child poverty has increased 40 per cent.
Its hard to really think about it because were all going through it in different ways, said Johnston, whose husband is a government worker and university student.
The report, written by Edmonton Social Planning Council research co-ordinator John Kolkman, says there were 53,000 children living in poverty in 2008 and 73,000 in 2009, proving that many go without today, he said.
For all Albertans and our provincial government, this report should be a very serious wake up call, said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, with Public Interest Alberta.
Kolkman said a provincial child tax benefit that would parallel the federal one would be a very, very effective way to lift children out of poverty.
Other solutions Kolkman suggests include hiking minimum wage to at least $10.25.
We had it frozen for quite a while and that was an unfortunate thing, he said.
As of Nov. 1, we have the dubious distinction of having the lowest minimum wage of the country.
Overall, said Kolkman, the goal should be to create an overall comprehensive poverty reduction strategy, something seven other provinces have.
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