State Of Canada’s Children: Poor

Staggeringly high rates of mental health issues, poverty, obesity and mortality

Canada may be considered one of the world’s most prosperous nations but the well-being of its children is being called into question.

A study by Children First Canada and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health finds high rates of suicide, child abuse and struggles with mental health among the nation’s young people.

While Canada is ranked fifth among the world’s 41 most prosperous nations it ranks 25th on the list when it comes to the well-being of children

Researchers found the number of mental health-related hospitalizations among those aged 5 to 24 soared 66 per cent in the last ten years while hospitalizations, in general, rose 55 per cent.

Ontario recorded the most mental health and emergency room visits – more than 16-thousand in 2016, double the number in Quebec.

The spike in hospital visits is also out of proportion with global trends.

Other findings of the study include:

  • one in three Canadians report suffering some form of child abuse before turning 16
  • infant mortality rate of five deaths per 1,000 people placed Canada 30th among 44 Organization of Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) countries

The report calls on the federal government to take three steps to address the system’s shortcomings:

  • set up a children’s commission
  • disclose all children-related spending to the public
  • establish a children’s charter of rights

banner image via Children First Canada/Facebook