Poverty in Canada
- 1 in 7 people (over 4.5 million Canadians) live in poverty1
- 1 in 10 households with children experience food insecurity2
- At least 30,000 individuals are homeless on a given night3
- Compared to a decade ago, a higher number of Canadians are precariously employed4,5
Poverty as a Key Determinant of Health
- 50% of health outcomes can be attributed to the social determinants of health6
- Lower income is associated with increased burden of diseases and higher mortality7
- Premature death is 8 to 10 times higher among people who are homeless8
- In one Canadian city, there is a 21-year gap in life expectancies between the highest and lowest income neighbourhoods (Hamilton, ON)9
Statistics Canada Measures of Poverty
Low-Income Cut Off (LICO) – relative measure
The LICO is the income level at which families spend 20% more of their income than the average family on food, shelter, and clothing and is based on family and community size. The 2016 after-tax LICO for a family of 4 in a large urban centre was $39,092.
Low Income Measure (LIM) – relative measure
The LIM identifies families with income below 50% of the median income for a given family size. The 2016 after-tax LIM for a 4 person household was $45,314.
Market Basket Measure (MBM) – absolute measure
The MBM is based on the cost of a specific basket of goods and services representing a modest, basic standard of living for a reference family of 2 adults and 2 children. The 2016 MBM for a family of 4 in Toronto was $41,287.
- Statistics Canada. Persons In Low Income Before Tax. Statistics Canada, 2013.
- Roshanafshar S, Hawkins E. Food Insecurity in Canada. Statistics Canada, 2015.
- Gaetz S, Donaldson J, Richter T, Gulliver T. The State of Homelessness In Canada. Toronto (ON): Canadian Homelessness Research Network Press, 2013.
- Lewhuck W et al. It’s More Than Poverty: Employment Precarity and Household Wellbeing. Hamilton (ON): Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario Research Group, 2013.
- Galarneau D. Temporary Employment In The Downturn. Ottawa (ON): Statistics Canada, 2010.
- Keon WJ, Pepin L. Population Health Policy: Issues and Options. Ottawa (ON): Senate of Canada, 2008.
- Dorman K, Pellizzari R, Rachlis M, Green S. Why Poverty Is A Medical Problem. Ontario Medical Review, 2013.
- Mikkonen J, Raphael D. Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts. Toronto (ON): York University School of Health Policy and Management, 2010.
- Hamilton Spectator. Worlds Apart. Hamilton (ON): Hamilton Spectator, 2010.