Poverty Reduction

“Poverty can be understood as the condition of a person who is deprived of the resources, means, choices and power necessary to acquire and maintain a basic level of living standards and to facilitate integration and participation in society.” (Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy, 2018)

The Bible is filled with verses which underscore God’s concern for the poor and call on us to act with justice as well as generosity towards those living in poverty.

How is poverty measured?

Since 1992, Statistics Canada has published the low-income measure-after tax or LIM-AT, which is half the median family income after tax, taking into account family size. The LIM-AT has typically been used as the “unofficial poverty line” to calculate poverty in Canada.

Another way of measuring poverty is based on  a Market Basket Measure, or the annual cost of a typical basket of goods and services that individuals and families require to meet their basic needs, including shelter and utilities, nutritious food, clothing, transportation, and personal care items. The new federal Poverty Reduction Strategy, released in August 2018, has introduced an official poverty line based on a Market Basket Measure adjusted for 50 different regions across Canada, to reflect differences in cost of basic goods and services.  Because this measure is so new, it has not been used in recent reports.

A 2018 report from Campaign 2000, based on the LIM-AT, found that about 13% of Ontarians live in poverty.  Even worse, 18.5% of all children in Ontario live in poverty, compared to 17.4% nationally. Of the thirty federal ridings with the highest child poverty rates, nine fall within the Diocese of Toronto, including Toronto Centre (40%), Scarborough-Guildwood (32.9%), Etobicoke North (30.8%), York-South Weston (29.9%) and Don Valley East (28.7%)

Poverty intersects with other forms of inequality.  Women, racialized and Indigenous people, and people with disabilities (including children), are more likely to live in poverty.

Food insecurity

Health

Housing

Working poor

Cost of poverty