Poverty in Canada is persistently leaving people and communities on the margins. According to the Low Income Measure, 1 in 7 Canadians (or 13.9%) live in poverty.
Although regular commitments have been made in Parliament since 1989 to end child poverty, including a 2015 motion, M-534, unanimously approved (save one abstention), child poverty in Canada persists.
We know that poverty rates only tell us part of the reality of poverty in Canada. The reality also includes isolation and marginalization, as well as social and health impacts.
In 2015, 32.4% of all single-parent families live in poverty. Meanwhile, 43.4% of children in single-parent families live in poverty.
The legacy of colonialism and exploitation has inflicted deep and intergenerational damage on Indigenous communities. The poverty rate of Indigenous people is 25.3%.
Newcomers to Canada, whether immigrants, refugees, or refugee claimants, face challenges, including precarious employment and lower wages that do not meet the cost of living; and 34.2% of newcomers live in poverty.
British Columbia, with a poverty rate of 15.3%, is the only province without a poverty plan in development or in place. Among the 10 provinces, Manitoba has the highest poverty rate, at 18.2%.
The 2014 Saskatchewan Government Speech from the Throne committed to a provincial poverty reduction strategy. In 2015, New Brunswick was recognized for the Economic Social Inclusion Plan – Overcoming Poverty Together.
Nunavut's poverty rate, the highest among the territories, is 29.0%.
Many communities across Canada have continued their hard work to develop poverty reduction/poverty elimination strategies, task forces, and councils.
Among big cities, Toronto (17.0%), Vancouver (16.9%) and Windsor (16.2%) have the highest poverty rates. Edmonton Mayor Iveson has commissioned a task force with a goal to end poverty in Edmonton in a generation.
For smaller communities, the highest poverty rates are in Campbellton, QC (38.6%), Leamington, ON (31.2%), and Portage la Prairie, MB (26.8%).