Poverty Trends 2020

Rights & Realities in Canada

Using the latest data from Statistics Canada and research reports by advocacy groups across the country, Poverty Trends provides us with a snapshot of poverty in Canada from year to year. We maintain that poverty is a violation of people’s rights and dignity and that the Government of Canada has a legal and moral obligation to make people’s rights a reality in their daily lives.

For Poverty Trends 2020, we adopt an intersectional approach by looking specifically at how experiences of poverty differ depending on overlapping identities such as race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and immigration status, as well as where we live and our family status.

Canada’s laws and systems are legally required to protect people’s right to an adequate standard of living. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for millions of people in Canada.

  • We all have the right to food, but 1 in 4 single-mother households are food insecure.
  • We all have the right to education, but students with disabilities living on reserve or in rural settings do not have access to the same level of supports and services as their peers living off-reserve in urban settings.
  • We all have the right to health, but 11.2% of people 12 years or older reported not receiving health care when they needed it.
  • We all have the right to safe and fair employment conditions, but 13% of Black Canadians reported experiencing discrimination at work or during hiring, compared to 6% of non-Black Canadians.
  • We all have the right to safety & security, but 39% of self-reported violent crimes involved a victim with a disability.
  • We all have the right to adequate housing, but 40% of youth experiencing homelessness identified as LGBTQ or Two-Spirit.

According to the low-income measure, 5.9 million people in Canada were living in poverty in 2018.

Poverty Trends 2020 is meant to be a quick reference guide for education and advocacy. We encourage readers to read and reflect on the realities of poverty and systemic oppression in Canada, and we invite you to take action! Recommendations for government and tips for advocates are included in the report, and we hope that this report itself will prove a useful tool when speaking to people in our communities and in our government.

Each year, CPJ marks the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17) with our Chew on This! campaign and our Poverty Trends report.

Poverty Trends 2020
Rights & Realities in Canada

By Natalie Appleyard

Published on 2020-10-17

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