Research: Poverty in Canada
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Want to learn more about poverty in Canada?
Every October, CPJ releases our report on poverty in Canada. It highlights the unequal effects of poverty on racialized people, single-parent families, single seniors and adults, children, persons with disabilities, and Indigenous peoples. We also report on poverty rates of provinces, territories, and communities across Canada.
Highlights from CPJ's 2018 report, "Poverty Trends 2018":
5.8 million people in Canada live in poverty
Poverty in Canada is persistently leaving people and communities on the margins. According to the Census Family Low Income Measure (CFLIM-AT), 1 in 6 people in Canada (or 16.8%) live in poverty.
Although regular commitments have been made in Parliament since 1989 to end child poverty, including a 2015 motion, M-534, unanimously approved (save one abstention), child poverty in Canada persists.
We know that poverty rates only tell us part of the reality of poverty in Canada. The reality also includes isolation and marginalization, as well as social and health impacts.
High poverty rates for single parents, Indigenous Canadians, and racialized people
According to the CFLIM-AT, 36.0% of all single-parent families live in poverty. Meanwhile, 47.4% of children in lone-parent families live in poverty.
The legacy of colonialism and exploitation has inflicted deep and intergenerational damage on Indigenous communities. The poverty rate of Indigenous people is 23.6% (LIM-AT).
Racialized people in Canada, whether recent immigrants (including refugee claimants, convention refugees and landed immigrants) face challenges, including a lack of access to affordable housing and childcare, difficulty finding adequate employment or training, and a lack of recognition of credentials. According to the LIM-At, 20.8% of racialized people experience poverty.
Poverty rates of provinces and territories
British Columbia, with a poverty rate of 18.7%, is the only province without a poverty plan in place. Among the 10 provinces, Manitoba has the highest poverty rate, at 20.7%.
The 2014 Saskatchewan Government Speech from the Throne committed to a provincial poverty reduction strategy. In 2015, New Brunswick was recognized for the Economic Social Inclusion Plan – Overcoming Poverty Together.
Nunavut's poverty rate, the highest among the territories, is 29.0%.
Ranking of poverty rates in communities across Canada
Many communities across Canada have continued their hard work to develop poverty reduction/poverty elimination strategies, task forces, and councils.
Among big cities, Toronto (20.0%), Vancouver (20.4%) and Windsor (18.2%) have the highest poverty rates.
This paper provides an introduction to guaranteed or basic income, highlighting the policy debates and the history of the idea in Canada. Participants in the BIEN Canada Ottawa conference should read this paper to provide context for the detailed policy discussions and conversations of the conference.