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Child Poverty and Guaranteed Income in Canada - Research Paper Example

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Date Child Poverty and Guaranteed Income in Canada 1. Introduction In this paper, I will examine key issues around Child Poverty in Canada and will argue for a guaranteed annual wage to be implemented for all Canadians, as a way to address the problem of Child Poverty and its effects…
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Child Poverty and Guaranteed Income in Canada
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Download file to see previous pages The disagreements around a guaranteed income seem to focus around the concepts of charity vs entitlement. These disagreements, rest upon differing perspectives of child poverty and guaranteed income. For the purposes of this paper, we will agree on a definition of poverty that has been cited by 111 books, from 1962 to 2008, according to the Google search listing of citations, for search phrase, “child poverty”. The poor shall be taken to mean persons, families and groups of persons whose resources (material, cultural and social) are so limited as to exclude them from the minimum acceptable way of life in the Member State in which they live (Vieminclox and Smeeding, p. 34). This is a fair definition when speaking about poverty in general, or world poverty, because it assumes differing living standards in all countries, differing national priorities, and the multiple aspects of resources rather than limiting the concept to money. Countries, of course, generally state a specific monetary level, below which is poverty, and above which is not poverty. This legalistic definition is less pragmatic, however, because people’s circumstances differ greatly and resources vary with a range of circumstances beyond income. For example, a healthy family living with three homeschooled children in a rural intentional community will require fewer resources, per capita, than a young executive couple with a staggeringly high mortgage, a parent with Alzheimer’s, maintained in a nearby facility, three family members in psychoanalysis, a high-interest credit card balance and two children in private school. The needs of each family are quite different. Highlighting the quoted definition for poverty, and adjusting it to focus on child poverty, is a suitable definition by Canadian standards also, because Canada does not specify an official poverty line but uses a lower income cut-off (LIC), relative to situational factors, below which the standard of living would be challenged, but not necessarily fitting the definition of poverty (Segal). The National Council of Welfare and most social policy researchers use the LIC as their preferred measure of poverty, even though it was never intended to be used that way and even though doing so gives a greatly inflated picture of people’s discretionary income (Goldberg). Considering this idea of poverty relativity, it is intriguing to note that Canada is one of the richest nations in the world, yet is ranked extremely low, by comparison with other developed nations, for child well-being. This is in spite of the Canadian government’s ratification of the 1991 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Free the Children; Howe and Covell), in which the elimination of child poverty was articulated as a foremost priority. Of course, ratification is not legally binding or enforceable, but it does indicate public and formal political agreement and obligation to cooperate with other nations to eliminate child poverty, and focus attention and action on this issue. It has meaning. I will address questions of why Canada is still ranked low for child well-being; whether poverty is income based and what the key variables are in urban and rural poverty in Canada; which groups are most affected; and what are the outcomes of child poverty. I will discuss evidence of social and political motivation to end child poverty in Canada and will raise social change scenarios to direct ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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