Poverty in Canada

Take Action: Poverty

A biblical perspective on poverty must start with the recognition that all people are created in the image of God. Our love for God therefore requires that we respect our neighbours' dignity and care for their well-being. The Bible also calls us to practice justice, protecting and uplifting the weakest members of our society.

Even according to the lowest commonly accepted measure, 2.96 million people in Canada are poor. Compared to other developed countries, our poverty rate is shocking: Canada ranks 24th out of 34 OECD countries. It’s estimated that the financial cost of poverty in Canada is between $72.5 billion and $86.1 billion per year. The federal government has the tools to create positive, measurable change to significantly reduce poverty. Recent progress – specifically on children’s and seniors’ poverty – confirms this capacity.

CPJ’s Work

CPJ works to advance federal policy measures that will reduce poverty, including measures on income security, affordable housing, childcare, progressive taxation, and jobs and training. CPJ specializes in providing timely political analysis on these issues, and our research is often referenced in the media and is well used by groups at both the national and community level.

Staff members regularly meet with parliamentarians to provide input on poverty-related legislation. In 2012, CPJ helped establish the All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus, a group of MPs and Senators who work across party lines to develop and promote policies for a more equitable Canada.

CPJ is a co-leader of Dignity for All: The campaign for a poverty-free Canada, a non-partisan initiative calling for a federal poverty elimination strategy. In this role, CPJ helped host poverty-related policy summits, bringing together the country’s foremost experts, academics, and organizations to formulate the campaign's model National Anti-Poverty Plan for Canada.

We often work specifically with churches and denominational groups to help them take action on poverty. CPJ was instrumental in bringing together the Interfaith Declaration on Faith and Poverty, and every year we provide opportunities for engagement around the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.  

In 2011 we published Living Justice: A Gospel Response to Poverty. This ecumenical worship and action guide continues to be used by small groups across the country ready to move beyond acts of charity when confronting poverty.

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