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Saskatchewan's NDP Leader Ryan Meili speaks after being elected party leader at the Saskatchewan New Democrats leadership convention at the Delta Hotel in Regina on March 3, 2018.

Michael Bell/The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili says the provincial government isn’t doing enough to combat child hunger and child poverty.

A Food Banks Canada report for 2018 shows that Saskatchewan had the highest rate of children using food banks in the country.

The report says 43.5 per cent of individuals who used food banks in the province were children compared with the national average of 35.2 per cent.

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Meili says the province should come up with a plan to deal with the problem.

He says Saskatchewan is the only province without a poverty reduction strategy.

Food Banks Canada is a national charity that represents 10 provincial associations, more than 500 food banks and 3,000 food agencies.

“No child should be going to school or to bed hungry, but that’s the reality facing far too many Saskatchewan families,” Meili said Friday.

“The poverty underlying food bank usage hurts children and costs our provincial economy billions each year in increased health, social services and justice costs.”

Meili said the best way the provincial government could mark the Family Day holiday on Monday would be to announce a plan to reduce child poverty.

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