Evidence of meeting #36 for Status of Women in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was work.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

My question, which will be brief, is addressed to Ms. Turpel-Lafond.

We know that there is a correlation between mistreatment and economic costs—we know how much it costs. Canada committed itself to reducing and eliminating child poverty several years ago. The poverty rate has gone from 11% to 9%. So there is still a great deal of poverty.

Who funds your organization? Has the Canadian government reduced funding to alleviate youth poverty, the poverty of those who are under 19?

4:25 p.m.

Representative, British Columbia, Representative for Children and Youth

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond

Well, I'm an officer of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, so I oversee the child welfare system. In British Columbia the child poverty rate is around 12% or a bit higher than the national rate.

In terms of effective interventions to reduce child poverty, I think there is a fairly broad consensus among everyone with respect to the market basket measure and allowing a parent or parents adequate social assistance to attend to the immediate needs of their children, with an adequate amount of money for housing, shelter, healthy food, and basic necessities, all of which are required.

In many places, particularly in British Columbia, social assistance rates fall below what is required to have healthy child development in terms of access to good quality food, and many children are reliant through their parent or caregiver on food banks. In terms of state direct support, there are the social assistance issues.

Quite apart from that, there is the social mobility issue of why it is that children living in low-income families are not advancing as successfully in elementary and secondary schools and not transitioning to post-secondary education. Education is a very significant leveller in the life and democratic nature of our society, but it is not working effectively. This is an additional issue of what other supports—

4:25 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Marie-Claude Morin

Excuse me, Ms. Turpel-Lafond, I have to stop you now. Thank you very much. Ms. Day has used up all of her time.

I will now give the floor to the government members.

Ms. Ambler, you have seven minutes.

May 28th, 2012 / 4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Stella Ambler Mississauga South, ON

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Thank you to both of our guests today for your presentations and for all of the good work you're doing with children and youth in Canada.

Ms. Flanagan, I'd like to ask if Actua works with aboriginal youth and/or girls in rural communities?

4:25 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Actua

Jennifer Flanagan

Broadly, within Actua's mandate of reaching boys and girls, we engage 225,000 youth a year in 500 communities. A major focus for us is to engage the youth that no other organizations are engaging, that is, the under-represented youth.

The biggest program we have is our national aboriginal program, which engages 30,000 aboriginal youth a year in 200 communities across the country. It's a huge geographic reach and area of focus for us, including rural and remote communities as well. A significant emphasis for us is to get into every possible tiny fly-in and boat-in community in the country.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Stella Ambler Mississauga South, ON

That's great.

Does the funding you receive from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency help with that?

4:30 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Actua

Jennifer Flanagan

Yes, it does.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Stella Ambler Mississauga South, ON

Can you tell us a bit about that?

4:30 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Actua

Jennifer Flanagan

Yes. In fact I neglected to mention that before. We have a grant that is helping us to deliver programming across the three territories. This past year we delivered programming in 35 communities across Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon. Again, that is the same type of programming, but very much focused on being relevant to the community context. There's a heavy focus on engaging local community leaders and elders.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Stella Ambler Mississauga South, ON

Excellent. That's great.

You did mention FedDev Ontario. That's something I know a little bit about. Would the funding be specifically for literacy programs, or for STEM—?

4:30 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Actua

Jennifer Flanagan

It's all STEM. It's STEM as it relates more specifically to innovation and economic development—so the business of science, entrepreneurship, and those types of topics.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Stella Ambler Mississauga South, ON

And it's always for youth?

4:30 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Actua

Jennifer Flanagan

Always for youth aged 6 to 16, and always STEM.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Stella Ambler Mississauga South, ON

With a few minutes to think about it, I can figure out what NSERC stands for: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.

I'm not very good with these short-forms. As for CIHR, I can't figure that one out.

4:30 p.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Actua

Jennifer Flanagan

It's the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.