Break the Barriers

By Citizens for Public Justice

Break the Barriers: Millions in Canada still struggle to get by

October 2016

Download the Report (PDF)

People living in poverty in Canada face multiple barriers. As a country, we can do better to address these persistent challenges. We need a national anti-poverty plan that takes a comprehensive approach to the complex reality of poverty.

“Break the Barriers,” CPJ’s annual report on poverty in Canada, comes out on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and reports that 4.9 million people in Canada (or roughly 1 in 7) live in poverty.

It also provides a breakdown of poverty rates for each province and territory. Nunavut (30.5%) has the highest rate while Manitoba (18.7%) is second-highest.

The report listed the 20 big cities and small communities in Canada with the highest poverty rates. Toronto tops the list of big cities, followed by Vancouver and Windsor. For small communities in Canada, Campbellton, Que. has the highest poverty rate, followed by Leamington, Ont., and Portage la Prairie, Man.

In Canada, 18.5% of children live in poverty and 31.5% single-parent families. Meanwhile, 45.7% of children in single-parent families in Canada live in poverty. Over a third of recent immigrants and refugees live in poverty. The poverty rate of Indigenous Canadians is 25.3%.

“Break the Barriers” recommends the adoption of a national anti-poverty plan.

“In a country as wealthy as ours, there is no excuse. We urgently need an anti-poverty plan for Canada,” argued Joe Gunn, Executive Director of CPJ. “It is simply wrong to allow 4.9 million Canadians to struggle to make ends meet.”

A national plan must be comprehensive, the report says, addressing income security, health, housing, food security, child care, and jobs.

National data tell us an important part of the story of poverty in Canada. While overall poverty rates have not seen significant change in the last several years, particular groups are increasingly vulnerable.

Download the Report (PDF)

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