Child advocates are indicating that new statistics confirm that COVID-19 has a direct threat to child health and well-being in Canada. According to Raising Canada 2020, young Canadians are facing harsh realities during the pandemic, which have worsened threats to mental illness, physical inactivity, poverty, food insecurity, and child abuse.
Sara Austin, the founder and CEO of Children First Canada, said they had been worried since the outset of the pandemic that children were disproportionately impacted. Sara added that early indicators from the report show that the health of children is in jeopardy. She confirmed that the way the government chooses to respond would change the course of children’s lives.
The Raising Canada 2020 report is the third in an annual series jointly published by Children First Canada. The statistics show that one-in-five Canadian children live in poverty, and that has affected access to nutrition. Also, the report shows 15 percent of Canadians live in a household where they experienced food insecurity in the past 30 days. Besides, 57 percent of participants aged 15 to 17 reported that mental health is worse than it was before physical distancing measures.
For children aged 10 to 14 in Canada, suicide is the leading cause of their death. The report also shows that one-in-three Canadians had experienced abuse before the age of 15. There has been an increase in conversations about physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, according to the Kids Help Phone. Reports of alleged child abuse may possibly increase with children coming across trusted adults as they go back to school. Also, to tackle the top 10 threats, Children First Canada’s Council of Champions is advising the authority to appoint a federal Commissioner for Children and Youth, a Children’s Budget, and a national strategy.