Poverty at Your Doorstep

Five reports that paint vivid portraits of what poverty looks like in Montreal, Hamilton, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver have been released today. Written by CPJ’s Katherine Scott with information from our Poverty Trends Scorecard series and published by World Vision, they use info and stories to share what’s happening in each community and how local organizations are responding.

Each is a goldmine of info about the impact of poverty, looking at both the long-term story and what happened during and after the 2008–2009 recession. Easy-to-read charts show whether the city is still behind or making progress in nine areas: overall poverty rate, child poverty, employment, unemployment, job creation, social assistance caseload, EI beneficiaries, food bank use, and rental affordability.


Hamilton shows improvement in employment after the high profile plant closures that happened, as well as a decrease in the child poverty rate, and has the lowest overall poverty rate of the five cities. However, rent increases, food bank usage, and social assistance numbers are still high.

Read the Hamilton report.


Winnipeg’s poverty rate has decreased in the last twenty years, but has started to grow since the recession. The impact has been particularly strong on Aboriginal peoples, lone-parent families, and youth. The child poverty rate is the third highest in Canada’s large cities.

Read the Winnipeg report.


Vancouver has both the most expensive housing market in Canada, and the highest overall poverty rate of the five cities – 15 per cent. And although the number of jobs is growing, the number of those seeking work is growing more quickly.

Read the Vancouver report.


Montreal’s overall poverty rate has decreased since the recession: some credit for this can go to Quebec’s Action Plan to Combat Poverty and Social Exclusion. However, rent rates and food bank use are rising, and the gap between rich and poor continues to grow.

Read the Montreal report (en français – in English).


Toronto was recently called Canada’s most expensive city, with high housing costs. Food bank use is higher than it was before the recession, and the neighbourhoods that are growing poorer also have a disproportionate number of newcomers and visible minorities.

Read the Toronto report.

Citizens for Public Justice calls persistently for a life of dignity for all. An essential step in that direction is a federal poverty elimination plan that includes long-term solutions such as adequate housing, a fair taxation system and investment in social programs.

We hope these reports will help people across Canada in their diverse ways of working towards this vision of dignity and of building a better Canada for everyone.

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