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Poverty report cards: Which provinces got the worst grades?

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Poverty and food insecurity have worsened in most of Canada in the past year and most provincial governments aren't doing enough to address the problem, according to a just-released series of report cards.

Food Banks Canada, a national charity based in Mississauga, Ont., gave the federal Liberal government a near-failing grade of D-.

"Most concerning is that all but three provinces are on the edge of failing (receiving a D- overall)," according to the report.

Food Banks Canada, which works with more than 5,100 food banks and community groups in all provinces and territories to relieve and prevent hunger, released its second annual poverty report Wednesday. The charity also advocates all levels of government for long-term policies to tackle poverty and food insecurity. It looked at the overall situation with poverty across the country, comparing the progress of every government.

The report card incorporates data from a national population survey, which was designed and paid for by Food Banks Canada, analysis from Statistics Canada and Maytree's Welfare in Canada Report, and information about legislative action taken by the government to help the charity grade each jurisdiction.

Most provincial governments in Canada received grades in the D range and seven out of 10 provinces got a D- for their "insufficient approach to poverty reduction."

Nearly half of those surveyed (44 per cent) feel they are doing worse financially compared to last year, according to the report card.

As well, it found one in four are experiencing food insecurity and all jurisdictions except one province are failing to provide enough affordable housing.

'It's devastating'

"It's devastating -- just a depth of need right across the country that unfortunately is not being met with a sense of urgency to deal with what we think is an urgent issue and a massive scale of an issue right across the country," said Kirstin Beardsley, CEO of Food Banks Canada, in an interview Wednesday with CTV News Channel.

While the scores are low, there are provinces that are making legislative progress, including Nova Scotia and P.E.I., Beardsley said. She noted that B.C. and the federal government have done "significant investments" in housing.

"We want that momentum to continue because so many people are struggling right now," she said.

2024 grades for federal government, provinces and territories

  • Federal government: D- (down from D awarded last year)
  • British Columbia: D+ (same as 2023)
  • Alberta: D- (lower than a D compared to 2023)
  • Northwest Territories: inconclusive (not enough data available)
  • Yukon: inconclusive (not enough data available)
  • Nunavut: inconclusive (not enough data available)
  • Saskatchewan: D- (down from D awarded in 2023)
  • Manitoba: D- (a significant drop from C- awarded in 2023)
  • Ontario: D- (same as 2023)
  • Quebec: C+ (lower than a B- awarded in 2023)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: D- (same as 2023)
  • New Brunswick: D- (same as 2023)
  • Nova Scotia: D- (higher than an F awarded in 2023)
  • Prince Edward Island: C- (higher than a D+ awarded in 2023)

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