Poverty in Canada

A biblical perspective on poverty must start with the recognition that all people are created in the image of God. Our love for God compels us to honour our neighbours' inherent dignity and share in God’s work for justice and freedom from oppression.

In Canada, an estimated 5.9¬†million people live below the low-income level.¬†Compared to other developed countries, Canada ranks 20th¬†out of 34 OECD countries.¬† Canada has the tools and resources to create positive, measurable change to put us on a path to poverty eradication. Recent progress ‚Äď specifically on children‚Äôs and seniors‚Äô poverty ‚Äď confirms this capacity. Current initiatives, however, don‚Äôt go far enough to address existing needs, nor have they adequately reformed our systems to address the underlying causes of poverty and inequity.

CPJ works to research, develop, and advance federal policy measures that are intersectional, holistic, and based in human rights (consistent with our belief that all are created in the image of God). To do this, we collaborate with a wide range of partners across the country, centering the voices of people with lived experience of poverty and other forms of systemic oppression. Our policy work includes recommendations on measures of poverty, income security, housing, childcare, food security, health, tax fairness, jobs and training, and more. We also advocate for meaningful consultation and accountability mechanisms to ensure that people with lived experience of poverty are engaged in the design, implementation, and monitoring of federal policies and to ensure that governments are held responsible for their actions.

CPJ co-leads Dignity for All: The campaign for a poverty-free Canada, a non-partisan initiative calling for comprehensive, cross-sector solutions to poverty based in human rights. Our annual "Chew on This!" campaign takes place on October 17, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, engaging people from coast-to-coast-to coast in calling for ambitious federal action to end poverty in Canada.

CPJ is also a member the National Steering Committee of Campaign 2000 and sits on an advisory group for the Canadian Poverty Institute. We were instrumental in bringing together the Interfaith Declaration on Poverty in Canada.

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.

August 2018 saw an important win for CPJ and Dignity for All when the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development launched Opportunity for All, Canada’s first federal poverty reduction strategy. However, more work is required to strengthen the strategy.

CPJ continues to call for a stronger federal strategy that includes increased funding and accountability mechanisms. We engage regularly with the federal government alongside partner organizations and individuals with lived experience of poverty to ensure that implementation is timely, informed by meaningful consultation, and moves toward the ultimate goal of poverty eradication in Canada.

CPJ facilitates workshops on poverty in Canada, including ways you and your community can join our calls for action. Contact Natalie Appleyard for more information.


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.

Policy Statements

In a country as wealthy as ours, 5.8 million people struggle to make ends meet: to pay their rent, feed their families, and address basic needs. CPJ and the Dignity for All campaign are calling for a national plan to end poverty in Canada.

Church Resources

Interested in getting your church engaged in anti-poverty discussions and reflections? Check out a few of CPJ's resources to continue or initiate the conversation.

Take Action

Each year, on October 17, people across Canada gathered in their communities for Chew on This! an annual event to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.


Keep up-to-date with the latest news and views from CPJ on poverty in Canada by reading the articles written by CPJ staff and citing CPJ’s work.

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