Poverty Trends 2023

Reimagining a Rights-Based Social Safety Net

Released annually, CPJ’s Poverty Trends reports provide readers with a review of data on poverty in Canada and the state of government action, as well as a vision for how we can move forward.

This year’s report is titled, Poverty Trends 2023: Reimagining a Rights-Based Social Safety Net.

Download the report as a PDF here.

The persistent trends we see in low-income, core housing need, and food insecurity are the result of policy choices that shape how we allocate resources, and how we view the people who access supports. Rather than creating a social safety net to help people bounce back from times of crisis, we’ve constructed a web that keeps many stuck. Worse yet, we blame people for needing the social safety net, when we created the need in the first place.

To interrupt these trends, we need to change both the web and the reasons why people are falling into it. We need to redesign our systems so they work for our mutual well-being, rather than exploiting some for the benefit of a few. We need to find ways to come together and put the “social” back in the “social safety net!”

With this goal in mind, Poverty Trends 2023 uses the most recent available data to evaluate the impacts of current policies, and to hold decision-makers accountable to their legal human rights obligations. The report analyzes current trends in our policy landscape and calls for the strengthening of coordinated standards, supports, and action, grounded in treaties, human rights, environmental justice, and the realities of people’s day-to-day lives.

Let’s Connect!

Our hope is that you will share this report with others in your community, workplace, place of worship, school, or other networks, and explore ways to act on the information and ideas offered. There is a wonderful variety of people, communities, sectors, and movements committed to our shared vision for a more just and sustainable society – and there is a place for you, too!

Stay tuned via our e-newsletter or on social media for discussion guides coming soon.

You can also request a CPJ workshop or webinar to explore the report with colleagues, friends, classmates, or members of your faith community.


Citizens for Public Justice gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Public Service Alliance of Canada for our Poverty Trends 2023 report and ongoing collaborative advocacy initiatives.

We also gratefully acknowledge the research and editing contributions to this report by Dula Deb and Jenna Williams. Special thanks to Tim Li of PROOF at the University of Toronto for sharing his expertise on household food insecurity and data collection in the territories.

Poverty Trends 2023
Reimagining a Rights-Based Social Safety Net

By Natalie Appleyard
Edited by Dula Deb and Jenna Williams
Published on 2023-10-16

Additionally, CPJ is available to facilitate workshops and discussion groups for churches, students (typically high school or above), and community or workplace groups. Please see the details below and contact us to discuss how we can best customize your learning experience.

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