More Islanders living in poverty now than in 1989

Mitch MacDonald
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Mary Boyd

A new report showing the level of poverty in Prince Edward Island is “extremely disappointing,” says a well-known social activist and author of the report.

Mary Boyd, of the MacKillop Centre for Social Justice, said the report shows that poverty rate for P.E.I. now stands at 17.5 per cent.

That is a 26.8 per cent increase since the 13.8 per cent in 1989, the same year the House of Commons passed a unanimous resolution to seek the goal of eliminating poverty for all Canadians by the year 2000.


“It’s almost hard to find words to describe a situation like this,” Boyd said in an interview with The Guardian.

“And to find words describing what kinds of choices and priorities our leaders have when they allow a situation like this to happen.”

Campaign 2000, which is a network comprised of 120 groups across Canada working for the realization of the 1989 resolution, released its 23rd report card on child and family poverty in Canada over the weekend.

The report, which marks the first time that P.E.I. has produced a report card on child poverty, shows the small province isn’t the only one to see an increase.

Since the 1989 resolution, the level of poverty in Canada has increased from 1,066,150 (15.8 per cent) to 1,331,530 (19.1 per cent) by 2012.

Boyd said that P.E.I. showed the third highest rate of increase in the country, despite a provincial government promise in 2009 to implement a poverty eradication strategy.

“In one way, it’s not a surprise because we’ve been watching this,” said Boyd. “What we are surprised at is the lack of leadership on this very vital issue by our leaders.”

Boyd said while there have been a few weak attempts to combat poverty in P.E.I., there has been no progress and the province has to be the first to tackle the issue.

Organizations: MacKillop Centre for Social Justice, House of Commons

Geographic location: Canada, Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • Liberal Dong
    November 24, 2014 - 22:01

    @Agree 100% ,Those dire hard liberals need to give their heads a good twist around and see what their die hard liberal vote has done to this so called gentle island,Im hearing alot of dire hards will not vote this election that might put a different twist on election day,lets empty the trough.

  • Cromwell
    November 24, 2014 - 18:27

    This article needs to be viewed with proper perspective. While there is a need for concern, it has to be stated that (a) the national average for 'child poverty' (a proper definition needs to be provided by the social activists) is 19%, with Nunavut at 33%, Manitoba at 30% (under a NDP government!), St. John is at 30%, as is Toronto (several ethnic communities in Toronto have child poverty rates in excess of 40%). There has been an increase in child poverty across Canada over the course of the last 25 years, with a significant reason being the constantly high rate of immigration - 1% per year of the Canadian population (largest in the G8 countries), most of whom are unskilled and unable to secure/maintain employment, and hence totally reliant on increasingly fragile social services, together with a significantly higher birth rate of said ethnic minorities (more than double the Canadian average). There is no doubt of the impact that job opportunities make on poverty statistics (and Provincial governments have a responsibility here), but in Alberta, with its booming economy, the relevant child poverty statistic is 10% of the population.

  • Not surprised
    November 24, 2014 - 14:08

    I'm not surprised. The price of food on this island is ridiculous. Our government wants to put money in to stupid things like a giant leaf statue instead of investing in jobs and people. Such a shame but I don't expect anything different.

  • John Islander
    November 24, 2014 - 13:57

    "Mary Boyd, of the MacKillop Centre for Social Justice..." I'd like to see some impartial data on this. An institute like this has a pretty strong incentive to sway the results in a particular direction. More information about their methodology would be nice, but seeing as there's very little on how they reached their results, I would take anything this woman says with a grain of salt.

    • so sad
      November 24, 2014 - 15:13

      Some people cant afford salt. And what would you do with more data complain about it also.

    • sentance
      November 24, 2014 - 17:43

      The data are from Stats Canada, so in that sense they are impartial. That being said, Statscan has three measures to look at low income - a low income cutoff, a market basket measure, and a low income measure. The latter of these is I gather the one used, and it is the one that is more relative rather than absolute in its approach, so its more a matter of who falls below average than how well off people are. Stats Canada incidentally doesn't describe any of them as indicating a 'poverty line', though they are commonly used as such.

  • Taxpayer
    November 24, 2014 - 12:51

    Maybe if we focus more on jobs than on EI, we wouldn't have to deal with such situations.

  • don
    November 24, 2014 - 11:58

    sad but you see ghiz and his family of big shot liberals re not poor. but the day will come hen they are POOR and has nothing and i mean POOR and ghiz will be in the food bank line. and his gang that is killing us just so they can be rich. and that ghiz said he has a placqe on his desk but does not know what it means. "but for god there go i" ghiz you and your GANG needs to learn what that means.

  • Quiet Observer
    November 24, 2014 - 09:56

    And we sheep will re-elect the Liberals ...

    • in the country
      November 24, 2014 - 13:33

      Agreed. Absolutely guaranteed. I'd bet on it.

    • Agree 100%
      November 24, 2014 - 16:17

      Great comment! Islanders will follow like sheep and re- elect the liberals; despite all the broken promises- no HST, a doctor for every Islander, low electrical rates, no patronage, among many, many more! Consider also; the PNP scandal, Plan B, doubling the net debt of the province in just 8 years, the 29 million waste for the 2014 "celebration", and NOTHING to show for it! Yes; Islanders will follow like sheep and re-elect the Liberal team of MacKinley,Sheridan, Roache, Docherty, Greenan, Vessey, Webster, Sherry and McIssac!God help us!!