Census data reveals poverty still at critical levels in Canada

Census data reveals poverty still at critical levels in Canada

September 13, 2017


Statistics Canada released the 2016 Census data on income today, revealing that while the income gap between the country’s richest and poorest is narrowing slightly, poverty is still a pressing concern across Canada.

The new Census data shows poverty is on the rise for seniors, particularly men aged 65 or above, and has also increased in Québec and Atlantic Canada. Canada Without Poverty (CWP), a national charitable organization dedicated to the elimination of poverty, sees the data as an indication that, while the low-income rate has decreased in some areas like Newfoundland and Labrador, it is still at critical levels across the country, with 14.2% of people in Canada living in low-income.

With 4.8 million people in Canada living in poverty and an economy which is adding more part-time and precarious jobs than full-time jobs, it is a critical time for federal leadership on income inequality. Canada ranks lower than many of its international peers on social spending and other methods of combatting economic inequality, despite having signed on to the Sustainable Development Goals which set global objectives for 2030 including the elimination of poverty.

“With this data revealing that the rate of people living in low-income remained virtually unchanged in ten years, it’s evident that we have a long way to go to meet our human rights obligation to ensure an adequate standard of living for all,” said CWP Executive Director Leilani Farha.

“While the Census data is helpful in reviewing income trends, we need to review multiple indicators, including food bank and shelter usage alongside qualitative data, to have a clear picture of the impacts of poverty across the country as a whole,” said CWP Deputy Director Harriett McLachlan. “However, it is clear that we need a comprehensive and national plan to address the causes of poverty at their root and that takes into consideration the perspectives of those who have lived experience.”

In order to adequately address the income gap, along with high rates of poverty and homelessness, CWP believes the federal government must develop a national anti-poverty plan that is based in human rights and receives sufficient funding in Budget 2018.


About Canada Without Poverty

Canada Without Poverty (CWP) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, and charitable organization dedicated to ending poverty in Canada. The organization was created in 1971 as an outcome of the Poor People’s Conference, a national gathering of low-income individuals, under the name National Anti-Poverty Organization (NAPO). For over 40 years, CWP has been championing the rights of individuals experiencing poverty and marginalization through research, awareness-building campaigns, public policy development, and educational programming. See more at: www.cwp-csp.ca.

For more information, please contact:

Laura Neidhart
Canada Without Poverty – Communications and Development Coordinator
Phone: 613-986-7761 | Email:  [email protected]