Poverty in Canada

Poverty in Canada remains prevalent within some segments of society and according to a 2008 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the rate of poverty in Canada, is among the highest of the OECD member nations, the world's wealthiest industrialized nations.[1] There is no official government definition and therefore, measure, for poverty in Canada. However, Dennis Raphael, author of Poverty in Canada: Implications for Health and Quality of Life[2][3] reported that the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and Canadian poverty researchers[notes 1][4] find that relative poverty is the "most useful measure for ascertaining poverty rates in wealthy developed nations such as Canada."[1][5][6][7] In its report released the Conference Board.[8]

Poverty in Canadian Provinces

Currently, an income inequality measure known as low income cut-off (LICO) published by Statistics Canada is frequently used as a poverty rate and is 10.8% as of 2005.[9] The Central Intelligence Agency uses the LICO as the relative measure results in a higher poverty figure than an absolute one. Statistics Canada has refused to endorse any metric as a measure of poverty, including the low-income cut off it publishes, without a mandate to do so from the federal government. Statistics Canada is looking into creating an initiative on how to better calculate the poverty line. The Government of Canada has announced that Market Basket Measure (MBM) will become the official poverty measure in Canada.[10]

Some elements that work towards reducing poverty in Canada include Canada's strong economic growth, government transfers to persons of $164 billion per annum as of 2008,[11] universal medical and public education systems, and minimum wage laws in each of the provinces and territories of Canada.

In recent times, after a spike in poverty and low-income rates around the 1996 recession, relative poverty has continued to decline. Certain groups experience higher low-income rates, including children,[12] families with single-parent mothers, aboriginals, the mentally ill, the physically handicapped, recent immigrants,[13][14] and students.


Canada's history is marked by identified periods of growth and recession, and an evolving response of government intervention to assist low-income Canadians.

Reflecting the practice in the British Isles, organized assistance to the poor was largely the realm of churches.[15] In the early 20th century, the Catholic Encyclopedia reported that there were eighty-seven hospitals in Canada under the control and direction of various Catholic religious communities.[16]

After the Great Depression, Bennett and Mackenzie King spurred the first stages of Canada's welfare state, and the size and role of the government began to grow immensely over the next decades. Many social programs developed during this time designed to increase the Canadian citizen's quality of life.

According to one estimate, 15% of Canadians lived in poverty by 1961,[17] while at the end of the Sixties, Statistics Canada estimated that the number of Canadians living in poverty (using measurements drawn up by Jenny Podoluk) had fallen from about 25% of the population in 1961 to about 18% in 1969.[18] A Senate inquiry in 1969, however, estimated that as many as 1 in 4 Canadians were living in poverty that year.[19] From 1969 to 1982, the proportion of families with incomes below the poverty line fell from 20.8% to 13.9%.[20] According to one definition, nearly two-fifths of Canadians lived in poverty in 1951, falling slightly to more than one-fifth in 1961 and to slightly less than one-fifth by 1968.[21]

In recent years, newly arrived immigrants have higher than average low-income rates, although each immigrant arrival cohort year experiences a declining low-income rate over time.

Measures of poverty in Canada

As of 2018, Canada has no official poverty measure.[22] Instead, researchers and governments have used a variety of measures of the depth and extent of poverty in Canada.[23][24]

Market basket measure

The Government of Canada's Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada developed the Market Basket Measure (MBM) of poverty in 2003.[25][26] MBM thresholds take into account community size, location and household and composition, estimating the disposable income required to meet basic needs.[27][28] Forty eight Canadian communities have been included in the measure.[24]

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador are now developing a market basket measure which is more granular, costing out a set of basic goods in over 400 communities in the province.[24]

In August 2018, it was announced that the Government of Canada was going to use the MBM as the official poverty line.[29]

Low-Income Cut-Off

Canada low-income rate
Source: Statistics Canada

Low-income cut-off (LICO) rates are often quoted by the media as a measure of poverty[30] even though Statistics Canada has stated it is not a poverty measure.[22] It is also used by statistics collators like the Central Intelligence Agency in lieu of an official measure, although the CIA also notes that it "results in higher figures than found in many comparable economies".[31]

The measure has been reported by Statistics Canada since the 1960s.[32] They were reported only in their "pre-tax" form until 2000, at which point Statistics Canada started to publish both pre and after-tax LICO rates. After-tax LICO rates have been retroactively calculated back to 1986. The measure is intended to represent an income threshold below which a family will likely devote a larger share of its income on the necessities of food shelter and clothing than the average family.[33] As of 2011, 8.8% of Canadians are in a family whose income is below the after-tax low-income cut-off.[34]

There are 7 family sizes and 5 community sizes, resulting in 35 total LICO groups, each one evaluated on a pre and after-tax basis (70 calculations in total). The LICO is currently set at 63% of the average family income within each group. This stems from the 1992 Family Expenditures Survey, which showed the average family spent 43% of its after-tax income on food, shelter and clothing, plus Statistics Canada added an additional 20% margin.

Statistics Canada prefers using the after-tax LICO over the pre-tax LICO "to draw conclusions about [families] overall economic well-being";[35] however, the pre-tax measures are needed depending on the study being conducted because some sources of data, such as the census, contain only pre-tax income information. It can also be useful to know the pre-tax income profile of groups before the effects of progressive tax rates.

Low Income Measure

The Low Income Measure is a purer measure of relative income. It is defined as 50% of median income, adjusted for family size. In effect, this measure indicates the percentage or number of people in the bottom income quartile.

It is considered an especially useful measure for international comparisons, and is popular with anti-poverty groups and some foreign governments (e.g., Ireland).[36] It results in a higher measure of poverty compared to other measures. In 2017, it was estimated to be 12.9% on an after-tax basis.[34]

Gini coefficient

Gini Coefficient World CIA Report 2009
Gini coefficient, income distribution by country.

The Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion most prominently used as a measure of inequality of income distribution or inequality of wealth distribution. It is defined as a ratio with values between 0 and 1: the numerator is the area between the Lorenz curve of the distribution and the uniform distribution line; the denominator is the area under the uniform distribution line. Thus, a low Gini coefficient indicates more equal income or wealth distribution, while a high Gini coefficient indicates more unequal distribution. 0 corresponds to perfect equality (everyone having exactly the same income) and 1 corresponds to perfect inequality (where one person has all the income, while everyone else has zero income). The Gini coefficient requires that no one have a negative net income or wealth.

Serious consideration of the Gini coefficient for public policy implications is rare in Canada. Discussion of income inequality in the Canadian media generally implies that income inequality should be continually reduced as an objective, whereas international economists evaluating Gini coefficients generally focus on the idea of targeting an optimal range for the Gini coefficient. Some researchers have suggested the optimal Gini coefficient range is about .25-.40 (Wolfgang Kitterer, 2006, More Growth through Redistribution?). As of 2004, the Gini coefficient for Canada was estimated to be 0.315 on an after-tax basis.[37]

Poverty reduction strategies

Several Canadian provinces are introducing poverty reduction strategies, following the examples set by the European Union, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba are all developing provincial strategies. Quebec and Manitoba have enshrined their efforts in legislation. Newfoundland & Labrador has established a provincial ministry. Ontario has set a cabinet roundtable to address child poverty, as per the Liberals's campaign promise.

Because of these moves, each province is exploring the development of a measurement tool to track any progress made on reducing poverty, such as the use of a Deprivation Index.

As of August 2018, the Government of Canada has introduced the "Opportunity for All" which is being deemed Canada's first official poverty reduction strategy.[38]

Indigenous children in Canada

According to a left-wing think tank, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, "Based on data from the 2006 census, this study found that the average child poverty rate for all children in Canada is 17%, while the average child poverty rate for all Indigenous children is more than twice that figure, at 40%." "50% — of status First Nations children live below the poverty line. This number grows to 62% in Manitoba and 64% in Saskatchewan."[39] The study referred to used the Low Income Measure as their definition for poverty, which always shows a high rate. Nonetheless, the much higher LIM statistics for indigenous families indicates a much higher level of poverty among that demographic.

Assistance for poor people in Canada

Government transfers and intervention

Reduced tax burden

The Canadian income tax system is highly progressive. This can be seen by comparing the 2005 pre-tax low-income cut-off rate of 15.3%[40] with the after-tax rate of only 10.8%.[41] It is also evident in the Gini coefficient, which was estimated to be 0.428 on a pre-tax basis but only 0.315 on an after-tax basis.[37] The Conference Board of Canada 2013 study noted the Canadian system provides relief to the poor which contributes to lowering poverty rates in Canada. Their 2013 report stated that without Canada's tax system and transfers, the poverty rate would have been 23 per cent not the current 12 per cent.[4]

Social programs

The Conference Board of Canada 2013 study noted "that due to the tax system and transfers to the poor, income inequality is 27 per cent lower than it otherwise would be."[4] Canada has a wide range of government transfers to persons, which totaled $176.6 billion in 2009.[11] Some of the transfers designed to assist low-income people in Canada include Welfare and Old age security. There is also an extensive mandatory Employment Insurance program designed to assist workers who have become unemployed to lessen the chance of them falling into poverty.

In addition to government transfers, there are number of other publicly funded services and social programs that benefit those with low-incomes like Medicare, Public education for grade school; subsidized post-secondary education, Subsidized housing, and Employment equity programs, which often target various groups of people who are deemed to be susceptible to having low-incomes.

Working income tax benefit

The WITB was introduced in 2007 to encourage low income people to enter the labour force, and to provide them with increased financial support. The WITB has been expanded considerably since its introduction. As of 2012, it is worth up to $970 for a single individual, $1762 for couples and single parent families.[42] A person or couple must have at least $3,000 in employment income, and not be a student, to be eligible for WITB. Benefits increase, and then decrease, with income, and are completely clawed back at an income of $11,011 for singles, $15,205 for couples or single parents (in 2012).These credits are not taxed (see Income taxes in Canada#Income not taxed).

Child credits

Low-income Canadians are eligible for the Canada Child Tax Benefit (a federal benefit), and provincial child tax credits or benefits and Québec family allowances. For example, Ontario pays a benefit scheduled to grow to $180 per month by 2011 for a family earnings less than $20,000 with two children.[43] These credits are not taxed (see Income taxes in Canada#Income not taxed).

Minimum wage laws

Under the Constitution of Canada, the responsibility for enacting and enforcing labour laws including minimum wages in Canada rests with the ten provinces, the three territories also having been granted this power by virtue of federal legislation. This means that each province and territory has its own minimum wage. The lowest general minimum wage currently in force is that of the Nova Scotia ($10.85/hour), the highest is that of Ontario ($14.00/hour).[44] Some provinces allow lower wages to be paid to liquor servers and other tip earners, and/or to inexperienced employees

Although listed here under assistance, some theories suggest that minimum wage laws are a net detriment to low-income people as a whole, because they reduce the attractiveness of hiring low-skilled staff (see Minimum wage#Debate over consequences).


  1. ^ The Conference Board of Canada "uses the OECD's relative measure of child poverty, which calculates the proportion of children living in households where disposable income is less than 50 per cent of the median in each country." The Conference Board 2013 cautioned that Canada's high poverty rate, ranks among the worst of the 17 countries they compared. "Canada's child poverty rate was 15.1 per cent, up from 12.8 per cent in the mid-1990s. Only the United States ranked lower.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Growing unequal? Income distribution and poverty in OECD countries". Paris, France: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 2008. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. ^ Dennis Raphael Foreword by Rob Rainer and Jack Layton (13 April 2007). Poverty in Canada: Implications for Health and Quality of Life (1st ed.). Canadian Scholars Press. ISBN 155130323X. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012.
  3. ^ Dennis Raphael Foreword by Rob Rainer and Jack Layton (2011). Poverty in Canada: Implications for Health and Quality of Life (1st ed.). Canadian Scholars Press. Archived from the original on 2012-04-06.
  4. ^ a b c "Child Poverty". Ottawa, ON: Conference Board of Canada. 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-06-04.
  5. ^ Raphael, Dennis (June 2009). "Poverty, Human Development, and Health in Canada: Research, Practice, and Advocacy Dilemmas". Canadian Journal of Nursing Research. 41 (2): 7–18.
  6. ^ Child poverty in rich nations: Report card no. 6 (Report). Innocenti Research Centre. 2005.
  7. ^ Human development report: Capacity development: Empowering people and institutions (Report). Geneva: United Nations Development Program. 2008.
  8. ^ "Canada falling behind on poverty, inequality, says report of Canada ranked 7th out of 17 developed countries". CBC. February 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-06-19.
  9. ^ "Poverty Measure in Canada Analysis". CBC. Archived from the original on 2 January 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2007.
  10. ^ Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics. "Measuring low income and Canada's Official Poverty Line". www.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  11. ^ a b Government transfer payments to persons Archived 2008-11-04 at the Wayback Machine, Statistics Canada, 8 November 2007, URL accessed 4 December 2007
  12. ^ Innocenti Report Card (PDF) (Report). UNICEF. 2001. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-06-17.
  13. ^ The rise in low-income rates among immigrants in Canada Archived 2013-06-24 at the Wayback Machine, Analytical Studies Branch research paper series, Statistics Canada, June 2003, URL accessed 20 September 2006
  14. ^ Chronic Low Income and Low-income Dynamics Among Recent Immigrants Archived 2009-10-01 at the Wayback Machine, Statistics Canada, January 2007, URL accessed 30 January 2007
  15. ^ Poverty - A short history Archived 2011-10-27 at the Wayback Machine, Tristat Resources, URL accessed 2 December 2007
  16. ^ Poverty and Pauperism Archived 2006-06-14 at the Wayback Machine, Catholic Encyclopedia, URL accessed 2 December 2007
  17. ^ Brown, Craig (1 October 2012). "Illustrated History of Canada". McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. Retrieved 9 May 2018 – via Google Books.
  18. ^ The Canadian economy: problems and policies by G. C. Ruggeri
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-08-12. Retrieved 2012-08-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ Daniel Drache; Duncan Cameron, Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada (1985). The Other MacDonald Report: The Consensus on Canada's Future That the MacDonald Commission Left Out. James Lorimer & Company. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-88862-900-5.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  21. ^ Annual Report, United Church of Canada. Board of Evangelism and Social Service, 1970
  22. ^ a b On poverty and low income Archived 2007-09-16 at the Wayback Machine, Statistics Canada, 1997, URL accessed 2 December 2007
  23. ^ Low Income in Canada: 2000-2006 Using the Market Basket Measure - October 2008 Archived 2009-06-22 at the Wayback Machine, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
  24. ^ a b c Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities Archived 2009-06-24 at the Wayback Machine, 17 April 2008
  25. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2009-03-10.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ "What do we Mean by Poverty?". Shillington.ca. 1999-01-15. Archived from the original on 2011-02-01. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
  27. ^ "Market Basket Measure Report now available". Rhdcc.gc.ca. 2005-03-07. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
  28. ^ "Low Income Incidence / Financial Security / Indicators of Well-being in Canada". .hrsdc.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
  29. ^ Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics. "Measuring low income and Canada's Official Poverty Line". www.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  30. ^ Poverty Measure in Canada Analysis Archived 2007-01-02 at the Wayback Machine, CBC, URL accessed 4 January 2007
  31. ^ Population below poverty line Archived 2015-11-09 at the Wayback Machine, The World Factbook, CIA, updated on March 20, 2008.
  32. ^ What's behind a poverty line? Archived 2007-12-14 at the Wayback Machine, Canadian Council on Social Development, 9 June 2000, URL accessed 2 December 2007
  33. ^ Low Income Cut-offs for 2005 and Low Income Measures for 2004 Archived 2007-03-20 at the Wayback Machine, Statistics Canada, 2006, URL accessed 2 December 2007
  34. ^ a b "Persons in low income, by economic family type". 0.statcan.gc.ca. 2013-06-27. Archived from the original on 2016-01-22. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  35. ^ Low income definitions Archived 2007-03-05 at the Wayback Machine, Statistics Canada, 2005, URL accessed 2 December 2007
  36. ^ "LICOs - Absolute or relative poverty measure??". Canadiansocialresearch.net. 2008-06-04. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
  37. ^ a b Income Inequality and Redistribution in Canada: 1976 to 2004 Archived 2007-12-02 at the Wayback Machine, Statistics Canada, 11 May 2007, URL accessed 2 December 2007
  38. ^ Canada, Employment and Social Development. "Poverty Reduction Strategy - Canada.ca". www.canada.ca. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  39. ^ Macdonald, David; Wilson, Daniel (June 2013). Poverty or Prosperity Indigenous Children in Canada (PDF) (Report). Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  40. ^ Persons in low income before tax, by prevalence in percent Archived 2007-12-21 at the Wayback Machine, Statistics Canada, 1 May 2007, URL accessed 4 December 2007
  41. ^ Persons in low income after tax, by prevalence in percent Archived 2007-11-23 at the Wayback Machine, Statistics Canada, 1 May 2007, URL accessed 4 December 2007
  42. ^ Woolley, Frances. "Five Years of the Working Income Tax Benefit". Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
  43. ^ Making It A Little Easier For Low-Income Ontario Families Archived 2009-06-21 at the Wayback Machine, Government of Ontario press release, 22 February 2008, URL accessed 22 February 2008
  44. ^ "Minimum Wage by Province". retailcouncil.org Retail Council of Canada. November 2017. Archived from the original on 25 December 2017. Retrieved 24 December 2017.

Further reading

External links

Andrew Hutchison

Andrew Sandford Hutchison (born 18 September 1937 in Toronto) is a retired Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. Prior to his election at the General Synod of 2004, he was the bishop of Montreal and metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of Canada (which, despite its name, covers southern Quebec, the Maritimes, and Newfoundland). He was viewed as one of the more liberal contenders in the primatial election, and was Canadian Chair of Affirming Catholicism.He was elected amid controversy over his support for blessing of same-sex unions (he had stated he does not favour same-sex marriage as such).

Hutchison began his ecclesiastical career as a transitional deacon at Christ Church Deer Park in the Diocese of Toronto. He is a graduate and lifelong supporter of Upper Canada College. He studied at York University and the Trinity College, Toronto. Hutchison is fluent in English and French.

Following his confirmation as Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Hutchison toured Cuba in February 2005, meeting with religious leaders of the Episcopal Church of Cuba and theology students in Cuba, as well as government officials and the Roman Catholic Archbishop.

Hutchison delivered a response in late 2005 to the call for the destruction of Israel by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, condemning Ahmadinejad for his remarks which incite "hatred of the Jewish people and supporting violence against them."

During the 2006 Canadian federal election, Hutchison co-authored a letter with the Bishop of Toronto and Bishop Michael Pryse of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada's Eastern Synod in delivering a plea for more funding to alleviate poverty in Canada.

In April 2006, Hutchison announced that he would be retiring in 2007, just after the General Synod elected his successor as well as attaining the retirement age for Anglican clergy (between 65–70 years of age), as he reached his 70th birthday that year.

He was replaced by Fred Hiltz, the Bishop of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, who was elected Primate on 22 June 2007.

Basic needs

The basic needs approach is one of the major approaches to the measurement of absolute poverty in developing countries. It attempts to define the absolute minimum resources necessary for long-term physical well-being, usually in terms of consumption goods. The poverty line is then defined as the amount of income required to satisfy those needs. The 'basic needs' approach was introduced by the International Labour Organization's World Employment Conference in 1976. "Perhaps the high point of the WEP was the World Employment Conference of 1976, which proposed the satisfaction of basic human needs as the overriding objective of national and international development policy. The basic needs approach to development was endorsed by governments and workers’ and employers’ organizations from all over the world. It influenced the programmes and policies of major multilateral and bilateral development agencies, and was the precursor to the human development approach."A traditional list of immediate "basic needs" is food (including water), shelter and clothing. Many modern lists emphasize the minimum level of consumption of 'basic needs' of not just food, water, clothing and shelter, but also sanitation, education, healthcare, and internet. Different agencies use different lists.

The basic needs approach has been described as consumption-oriented, giving the impression "that poverty elimination is all too easy." Amartya Sen focused on 'capabilities' rather than consumption.

In the development discourse, the basic needs model focuses on the measurement of what is believed to be an eradicable level of poverty. Development programs following the basic needs approach do not invest in economically productive activities that will help a society carry its own weight in the future, rather it focuses on allowing the society to consume just enough to rise above the poverty line and meet its basic needs. These programs focus more on subsistence than fairness. Nevertheless, in terms of "measurement", the basic needs or absolute approach is important. The 1995 world summit on social development in Copenhagen had, as one of its principal declarations that all nations of the world should develop measures of both absolute and relative poverty and should gear national policies to "eradicate absolute poverty by a target date specified by each country in its national context."

Campaign 2000

Campaign 2000 is a movement to eliminate poverty in Canada. Founded in 1991, it has been influential in the law because of its concern with government and public discussions towards the issue of poverty amongst families and children and the government policy. Furthermore, they have lobbied all parties in federal and provincial parties to enhance social policies, which relate to child care, labour market supports, social housing, community services, and the national child benefit, as well as other significant policy regions.

Canadian Flowers for Food Society

The Canadian Flowers for Food Society (Flowers for Food) is a non-profit organisation started in 2005 in Vancouver, BC, Canada by Marrett Green. Flowers for Food collects floral discards from major flower growers and distributors in the Vancouver area and delivers them to other charitable programs, services, and homeless persons, who in turn market them streetside for donations. Flowers for Food is a registered Canadian charity under paragraph 149(1)(f) of the Income Tax Act and is also a registered BC Society (BN: 84141 0756 RC001).

Citizens for Public Justice

Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) is an ecumenical, non-profit organization that promotes justice in Canadian public policy through research and analysis focused on poverty reduction, ecological justice, and refugee rights.CPJ defines public justice as the political dimension of loving one's neighbour, caring for creation, and achieving the common good. CPJ's mission statement is "to promote public justice in Canada by shaping key public policy debates through research and analysis, publishing, and public dialogue. CPJ encourages citizens, leaders in society, and governments to support policies and practices which reflect God's call for love, justice, and the flourishing of Creation."CPJ is a registered charity in Canada whose work is funded through donations from private individuals and members, as well as from churches and foundational grants. Its board of directors is made up of 13 representatives from all regions of Canada. Directors can sit a maximum of two three-year terms. In 2013, CPJ celebrated its 50th anniversary. CPJ is an affiliate member of the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC).

Dennis Raphael

Dennis Raphael is a professor of Health Policy and Management at York University in Toronto. Raphael received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1975. He completed his M.Sc. in 1974 and B.Sc. in 1972.

Most of his over 300 scientific publications have focused on the health effects of income inequality and poverty, the quality of life of communities and individuals, and the impact of government decisions on Canadians' health and well-being. Over the course of his career he has published 12 books, 58 book chapters, and 156 refereed journal articles.

Raphael has recently published on the affinities between the social determinants of health and the social determinants of oral health, health discourses among disease associations, and concepts of legitimacy and competency of governing authorities in liberal welfare states. He has articles under review concerning health inequalities in the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Rwanda. He also has published two articles on the health of Nordic nations in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health Raphael's extensive contributions to the field were recognized by his being promoted to full professor and being the recipient of the 2009-2010 York University Faculty of Health Dean's Award in the Research — Established Career Category. Since 2004, he has managed the Social Determinants of Health Listserve at York University.

During his recent study leave, he updated Staying Alive: Critical Perspectives on Health, Illness, and Health Care with Toba Bryant and Marcia Rioux, and with Toba Bryant, prepared the volume The Politics of the Welfare State: Implications for Health. In June 2019 he gave a keynote address at the 9th Nordic Health Promotion Research Conference in Roskilde, Denmark. In the Fall of 2019 he is updating Poverty in Canada: Implications for Health and Quality of Life.

Downtown Eastside

The Downtown Eastside (DTES) is a neighbourhood in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The area, one of the city's oldest, is notable for its levels of drug use, poverty, crime, mental illness, prostitution, and homelessness. It is also known for its strong community resilience and history of social activism.

Around the beginning of the 20th century, the DTES was the political, cultural, and retail centre of the city. Over several decades, the city centre gradually shifted westwards and the DTES became a poor, although relatively stable, neighbourhood. In the 1980s, the area began a rapid decline due to several factors including an influx of hard drugs, the de-institutionalization of mentally ill individuals, policies that pushed prostitution and drug-related activity out of nearby areas, and the cessation of federal funding for social housing. By 1997, an epidemic of HIV infection and drug overdoses in the DTES led to the declaration of a public health emergency. As of 2018, critical issues include opioid overdoses, especially those involving the drug fentanyl; decrepit and squalid housing; a shortage of low-cost rental housing; and a high prevalence of severe mental illness, which often co-occurs with addiction.

The population of the DTES is estimated to be around 6,000 to 8,000. Compared to the city as a whole, the DTES has a higher proportion of males and adults who live alone. It also has significantly more First Nation Canadians, who are disproportionately affected by the neighbourhood's social problems. The neighbourhood has a history of attracting individuals with mental health and addiction issues, many of whom being drawn to its drug market and low-barrier services. Law enforcement policies are among the most progressive in Canada; however, many vulnerable members of the community have low trust in the police.

Since the real estate boom began in the early 21st century, the area has been increasingly experiencing gentrification. Some see gentrification as a force for revitalization, while others believe it has led to higher displacement and homelessness. Numerous efforts have been made to improve the DTES at an estimated cost of over $1.4 billion as of 2009. Services in the greater DTES area are estimated to cost $360 million per year. Commentators from across the political spectrum have said that little progress has been made in resolving the issues of the neighbourhood as a whole, although there are individual success stories. Proposals for addressing the issues of the area include increasing investment in social housing, increasing capacity for treating people with addictions and mental illness, making services more distributed across the city and region instead of concentrated in the DTES, and improving co-ordination of services. However, little agreement exists between the municipal, provincial, and federal governments regarding long-term plans for the area.

Great Depression in Canada

The worldwide Great Depression of the early 1930s was a social and economic shock that left millions of Canadians unemployed, hungry and often homeless. Few countries were affected as severely as Canada during what became known as the "Dirty Thirties," due to Canada's heavy dependence on raw material and farm exports, combined with a crippling Prairies drought known as the Dust Bowl. Widespread losses of jobs and savings ultimately transformed the country by triggering the birth of social welfare, a variety of populist political movements, and a more activist role for government in the economy.

Homelessness in Canada

Homelessness in Canada has grown in size and complexity by 1997. While historically known as a crisis only of urban centres such as Montreal, Laval, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto the increasing incidence of homelessness in the suburbs is necessitating new services and resources.The demographic profile of Canada's homeless population is also changing. By the end of the 20th century it was reported that, while previously, men comprised the vast majority of homeless persons, now men and children represent the fastest-growing subgroup of the homeless population, followed by youth. In recent years homelessness has become a major social issue in Canada.

In Action Plan 2011, the Federal Government of Canada proposed $120 million annually from April 2014 until April 2019—with $700 million in new funding—to renew its Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS). In dealing with homelessness in Canada, the focus is on the Housing First model. Thus, private or public organizations across Canada are eligible to receive HPS subsidies to implement Housing First programs.

Jane and Finch

Jane and Finch is a neighbourhood located in the northwest end of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in the district of North York. Centred at the intersection of Jane Street and Finch Avenue West, the area is roughly bounded by Highway 400 to the west, Driftwood Avenue to the east, Sheppard Avenue to the south, and Steeles Avenue to the north. The intersection itself was the location of a historic hamlet named Elia.

The Jane and Finch community is a high density, multicultural and low-income neighbourhood. It is made up of single-family detached and semi-detached houses, along with several high-rise apartment buildings.

As part of a rebranding strategy in 2008, Toronto City Councillor Anthony Perruzza had banners attached to hundreds of hydro poles in Jane and Finch, calling the area University Heights, referencing the existing name of the neighbourhood in municipal planning documents.

Make Poverty History

Make Poverty History is the name of organizations in a number of countries, which focus on issues relating to 8th Millennium Development Goal such as aid, trade and justice. They generally form a coalition of aid and development agencies which work together to raise awareness of global poverty and achieve policy change by governments. The movement exists or has existed in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Romania, South Africa, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom. The various national campaigns are part of the international Global Call to Action Against Poverty campaign.

National Council of Welfare

The National Council of Welfare (NCW) was a Canadian arm's length advisory body to the federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development on poverty and the realities of low-income Canadians.

Its legal mandate was to "advise the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development in respect of any matter relating to social development that the Minister may refer to the Council for its consideration or that the Council considers appropriate".

The Council consisted of members drawn from across Canada and appointed by the Governor-in-Council. All members served in their personal capacities rather than as representatives of organizations or agencies.

The Council published reports and communicated with the Minister on a wide range of issues involving poverty and public policy. It also presented submissions to Parliamentary Committees and Royal Commissions and participated in a range of government and non-government workshops and events on poverty-related issues.

It released regular publications about the level and adequacy of welfare incomes in Canada and statistical profiles of poverty in Canada.

The Council also published special topic reports, for example, 'The Dollars & Sense of Solving Poverty'. Over the years, subjects included:

a national anti-poverty strategy

Aboriginal children and youth

poverty lines and statistics

income security programs and policies

the cost of poverty

child benefits

the tax system

the retirement income system

employment programs

social services, such as child care and child welfare

legal services

women and children

Poor No More

Poor No More is a 2010 documentary film directed by Canadian filmmakers Bert Deveaux and Suzanne Babin. The executive producer is David Langille. Hosted by Canadian actor and comedian Mary Walsh, the film is set at the height of the late 2000s recession and looks at solutions for Canada's working poor. The film follows two working Canadians and Mary Walsh to Ireland and then to Sweden, where they take a closer look at how the Nordic Model has affected living standards for the Swedish.

The characters are Durval Terceira and Liquor Control Board of Ontario employee Vicki Baier. Each compares their standard of living in Canada with the standard of living for the Swedes and Irish. The film discusses Canada's need for better social services in regards to unemployment insurance, universal health care, pensions, and full-time union-protected jobs. Poor No More shows how, in Sweden, the labour movement works hand-in-hand with corporate entities to ensure a stronger social safety net offering universal child care, and income and training systems for the unemployed.

A rough cut sneak preview of Poor No More was screened in several provinces as part of the first Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLIFF), held in November 2009.

Poverty in Ontario

Poverty in Ontario refers to people living in Ontario deprived of or facing serious challenges in meeting basic needs such shelter, food, clothing and other essential needs. Based on relative and absolute measures, there is a significant level of poverty in Ontario.

Rural poverty in Canada

Rural poverty in Canada is part of rural poverty worldwide, albeit Canada is among the richer countries in the world.

Skid row

A skid row or skid road is an impoverished area, typically urban, in English-speaking North America whose inhabitants are people "on the skids". This specifically refers to the poor, the homeless, or others either considered disreputable or forgotten by society. A skid row may be anything from an impoverished urban district to a red-light district to a gathering area for the homeless. In general, skid row areas are inhabited or frequented by individuals marginalized by poverty or through drug addiction. Urban areas considered skid rows are marked by high vagrancy, and they often feature cheap taverns, dilapidated buildings, and drug dens as well as other features of urban blight. Used figuratively, it may indicate the state of a poor person's life.

The term skid road originally referred to the path along which timber workers skidded logs. Its current sense appears to have originated in the Pacific Northwest. Areas identified by this name include Pioneer Square in Seattle; Old Town Chinatown in Portland, Oregon; Downtown Eastside in Vancouver; Skid Row in Los Angeles; the Tenderloin District of San Francisco; and the Bowery of Lower Manhattan.

The People of the Kattawapiskak River

The People of the Kattawapiskak River is a 2012 documentary film by Alanis Obomsawin exploring conditions inside the Attawapiskat First Nation, which in October 2011 declared a state of emergency due to health and safety concerns over a lack of housing and infrastructure, and remained in the public spotlight during the Idle No More protests.Obomsawin was present in the community in 2011, working on another film for the National Film Board of Canada, Hi-Ho Mistahey!, when the housing issue came to national attention. The film follows the crisis up to the Federal Court of Canada decision in August 2012 that ruled the appointment of a third-party manager to fix the housing crisis was unjustified. In addition to filming conditions in the community and interviewing residents, Obomsawin recounts the history of the village, which dates back to 1850 when Catholic missionaries built a chapel on the land.Obomsawin has stated that she uses the name "Kattawapiskak" in place of Attawapiskat in the film and its title because she believes it to be the community's correct name.

United Way of Canada

United Way Centraide Canada (French: Centraide United Way Canada) is the national organization for the 79 autonomous, volunteer-based United Ways and Centraides across Canada.The United Way Movement is a federated network of local United Way offices serving more than 5,000 communities across Canada, each registered as its own non-profit organization and governed by an independent volunteer-led local Board of Directors. Each United Way works locally to raise funds and invest in improving lives in its community.In French, both in Quebec and across Canada, the organization is known as Centraide. The organization often uses the United Way and Centraide names together, recognizing the bilingual nature of the country’s culture and people.

United Way Centraide Canada is the national office and has a distinct role to provide leadership, guidance and support to local United Ways across the country. Together, local United Ways and United Way Centraide Canada form the United Way Movement.

Due to donors' generous support, United Ways and Centraides invest every year in local communities across Canada. The over 80 United Way and Centraide offices operating across Canada offer or support more than 6,000 programs supporting those in need, and engage over one million donors, staff and volunteers who work to change lives in local communities.

United Way Centraide's work focuses on three key strategies that create opportunities for everyone in our communities: moving people from poverty to possibility, helping kids be all they can be, and building strong and healthy communities.

Working income tax benefit

The Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) is a refundable tax credit in Canada, similar to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in the United States. Introduced in 2007, it offers tax relief to working low-income individuals and encourages others to enter the workforce. The WITB has been expanded considerably since its introduction.

Poverty in Canada (by province or territory)
Poverty in North America
Sovereign states
Dependencies and
other territories
and territories
Article overviews

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