Nov. 24, 1999
FREDERICTON (CNB) - All sectors of society must come together to address the complex challenges of child poverty, Human Resources Development Minister Percy Mockler said today. The minister made the comments in response to Campaign 2000, a national report on child poverty released today in Ottawa.
"Poverty is everybody's business," Mockler said. "We want to see all sectors of society come together to tackle this problem. We as government can play a leading role, but we need to make a co-ordinated attack on this issue. Therefore, we need the help of the federal government, the business sector and the non-profit community agencies to address this very complicated issue."
The Campaign 2000 report indicated child poverty rates across Canada have increased since 1989, but there is good news in the report for New Brunswick. Child poverty in New Brunswick actually dropped in the last period studied - from 1996 to 1997.
"This drop is excellent news; I believe it's the beginning of a downward trend," Mockler said. "Since 1997, significant investments have been made in low-income families in New Brunswick - including the introduction of the National Child Benefit in 1998. This program means direct dollars to families with children and new services such as help with child care costs. With additional new programs like the Healthy Minds initiatives we introduced in October, we feel these investments are starting to make a real difference for today's children."
"We are refocusing government priorities right now, and looking at several new initiatives for low-income families with children," the minister said. "In addition, we know helping people find work and make a better life is our most important task. This too will be a major focus, because a job is the best security people can have in the fight against poverty."
MEDIA CONTACT: Brent Staeben, Human Resources Development, 506-453-3391.