Teacher leaders advocate for Canadian families living in poverty

April 16, 2013

OTTAWA…. Canada’s teachers see ways to help the growing number of children whose needs are not being well met by society and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF)’s Board of Directors members are meeting today with MPs, senators and senior government officials to discuss ways of supporting Canadian families.

“We know the majority of students experience success at school,” says CTF President Paul Taillefer. “But we also know there are students who are slipping through the cracks because of poverty, mental health problems, bullying, discrimination, lack of fluency in the language of instruction and insufficient resources. Our society can do better for these children.

“Our main concern is child poverty and how it remains embedded in a nation as wealthy as ours,” adds Taillefer referring to a report by the Conference Board of Canada (CBC) which found that more than one in seven Canadian children live in poverty, ranking Canada 15th out of 17 peer countries.

“We know that governments understand that failure to address poverty may place a heavy burden on a country’s economy. As the OECD has concluded, “failure to tackle the poverty and exclusion facing millions of families and their children is not only socially reprehensible, but it will also weigh heavily on countries’ capacity to sustain economic growth in years to come.”

“Teachers witness first-hand the effects of poverty on their students, including hunger, fear, shame and mental health issues,” adds Taillefer. “Certain vulnerable groups continue to experience higher levels of poverty than others.

“All parties in government have committed to finding ways to reduce poverty. Because teachers are in touch with the issues, they have much to add to the discussion. That’s why we are here to talk with government and to offer the teachers’ perspective on social issues that can help us help these children and youth experience success at school and in life. Our focus is on finding ways to better support Canadian families and, more specifically, on finding ways to remove societal barriers that impede a child’s access to the full benefits of publicly funded education,” concludes Taillefer.

An alliance of 15 Member organizations and one Affiliate Member representing nearly 200,000 teachers across the country, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) is a member of the international body of teachers, Education International (EI).

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Paul Taillefer, CTF President


Francine Filion, Director of Communications, 613-899-4314 (office), or 613-899-4247 (cell)