Poverty

What is it?

Poverty does not just mean financial insecurity, but rather it refers to a chronic lack of the resources, capabilities, choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living.

Causes of/Factors that Contribute to Poverty

  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Lack of jobs
  • Lack of access to health services
  • Discrimination when applying for jobs and accessing services 
  • Lack of adequate support for the elderly and people with disabilities (people who cannot work)
  • Weakening of the social safety net
  • Increasing income inequality between the rich and poor

A few quick statistics about poverty in Canada

  • 1 in 7 (or 4.9 million) people in Canada live in poverty
  • Poverty costs Canada as a whole between $72 billion and $84 billion annually
  • Precarious employment has increased by nearly 50% over the past two decades
  • Between 1980 and 2005, the average earnings among the least wealthy Canadians fell by 20%.

Marginalized Communities 

People who are already marginalized are more likely to experience poverty, including those who are:

The Impact of Poverty

Because of the lack of access to funds and opportunities, people living in poverty are at risk of experiencing numerous other challenges, including: 

  • food insecurity, or not being able to access enough (or nutritious) food
  • poor health outcomes, due to less nutritious diet, lower standard of living conditions, and lack of access to important medication or medical treatments
  • homelessness or precarious housing
  • lack of access to education & training, impacting employment prospects and future income

Living in poverty is also highly stigmatized, so many people will also experience impacts to their mental health, self-esteem and social networks which increases their risk of addiction, abuse and discrimination.

Learn more

Collection of Infographics (Canadian Council on Social Development)
Canada Without Poverty 
Background on Poverty in Canada (Government of Canada)