TORONTO — New research suggests Canadians have a distorted view when it comes to the well-being of the country’s children.
The latest poll from Children First Canada, to be released Wednesday as part of National Child Day, suggests 71 per cent of Canadians believe Canada ranks within the top 10 among wealthy nations when it comes to children’s well-being, when in reality, a global index from UNICEF ranked Canada 25th.
“It’s discouraging to know there is so much work that needs to be done to improve the health and well-being of Canada’s children, but Canadiansaren’t aware of the problem,” Sara Austin, the founder and CEO of Children First Canada, said in a news release.
After being told of Canada’s standing when it comes to children’s well-being, 91 per cent of respondents said they believe improving a child’s well-being should be a high priority, with 4 in 10 indicating it should be of very high priority.
The respondents also noted they believe mental health (48 per cent), bullying/cyberbullying (34 per cent) and health/obesity (32 per cent) to be the top issues affecting children today. These issues align with the Children First Canada’s report on the Top 10 threats to Canadian kids from earlier this year.
“It’s heartening to hear that Canadians are concerned about the issues that matter most to our children,” Austin said.
The study also indicates only 54 per cent Canadians believe children are receiving everything they need to reach their full potential and 92 per cent of respondents believe spending on children now leads to savings in the future.
As part of National Children’s Day, Children First Canada is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to put children at the top of the agenda when he swears in his new federal cabinet on Wednesday and is calling for an independent Commission for Children and Youth.
“Children have a right to be at the table when decisions are being made that impact their future. They have a voice and it needs to be heard,” Austin said.