Child poverty has worsened in Canada over the last decade, a UN official said as she completed a tour of the country.

“Canada can afford to do better,” said Marta Mauras, Vice-President of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, yesterday, citing figures from UNICEF that rank the North American country 24th out of 35 industrialised countries.

One in seven Canadian children lives in poverty, according to UNICEF statistics, and the situation is even worse among indigenous children, one in four of whom lives in poverty.

“This is a clear deterioration from 10 years ago,” Mauras said in a statement.

She was invited to Canada by children’s rights groups to observe the implementation of the UN convention on children’s rights there.

In September, according to the statement, her committee wrote a review of the situation in Canada, expressing “concern over the lack of improvement to Canada’s child poverty rate’’.

The review also highlighted “continuing Canadian health issues such as unhealthy weights and child mental illness, and inadequate monitoring mechanisms for tracking the well-being of children.”

“The review also found insufficient co-ordination between various levels of government when it comes to serving Canadian children, and unclear accounting of government spending on children,” the statement said.

(This article was published on December 8, 2012)
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