Globe and Mail

Study authors defend definition of poor

The Globe and Mail
Thursday, December 2, 1999

The authors of a study on child poverty defended their statistics yesterday, a week after Ontario Premier Mike Harris dismissed their findings as "hogwash."

Mr. Harris said that a Campaign 2000 study, which concluded the number of children in the province living in poverty had jumped 118 per cent, was based on "false data."

The coalition of child advocates set the poverty line based on low-income cutoffs provided by Statistics Canada, despite warnings from the federal agency that the cutoff was an unreliable measure of true poverty.

Andy Mitchell from the Social Planning Council of Ontario conceded that there is controversy over where the poverty line lies. However, he said, Statscan's low-income cutoff has been widely accepted by social activists as akin to the poverty line.

In its national report, Campaign 2000 said that the families of 1.4 million Canadian children struggle for the basics. The coalition said that's 463,000 more poor children in Canada than in 1989, the year Ottawa promised to eliminate child poverty by 2000.

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