What will it take to overcome child poverty in Saskatchewan

The co-author of a 2019 report into child poverty in Saskatchewan says their findings are alarming.

The Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Regina says the true number of children in the province living under the poverty line is just over 28 per cent based on the accepted formula from the United Nations and the international community.

Co-author Miguel Sanchez believes the government’s formula derived by Social Services Ministers understates the problem and feels Saskatchewan missed an opportunity to put enough money aside during good economic times between 2004 and 2014 to address the problem adequately.

The report “Child and Family Poverty in Saskatchewan” also finds Saskatchewan’s wealthiest workers who earn just over 60 per cent of the province’s wages, shelter a great deal from taxation which has cost government’s valuable revenue for poverty-busting social programs.

Sanchez has called for tax reform to increase revenue, more provincial money set aside when the economy rebounds and a provincially-run daycare system like in other jurisdictions to give struggling parents more disposable income to put toward food, shelter and clothing.

Sanchez stresses government funding is the best route to lifting children out of poverty, noting the rate would be about 12 per cent higher without the money the Saskatchewan government is putting into social programs.

However, he feels government’s need to make a fundamental shift in their approach to social policy from one focused on growth and limitless production to a concentration on sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Sanchez says if nothing changes it will take 155 years to eliminate child poverty in Canada.


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