Fast facts about poverty in Canada


  • The cost of poverty to Canada has been estimated at $72 to $86 billion per year, or about 5-6% of GDP (Ontario Association of Food Banks)
  • In Hamilton, there is a 21-year difference in life expectancy between people living in high and low income neighbourhoods (Hamilton Spectator);

  • In March 2010, 867,948 Canadians (38% of them children) turned to food banks for food support - a 28% increase over March 2008 and the highest level of food bank use ever (Food Banks Canada);

  • In 2010, 150,000 to 300,000 persons were visibly homeless, another 450,000 to 900,000 were "hidden" homeless, 1.5 million households were in "core housing need", and 3.1 million households were in unaffordable housing (Wellesley Institute)

  • In 2010, 59% of Canadian workers lived paycheque to paycheque, "saying they would be in financial difficulty if their paycheque was delayed by a week" (Canadian Payroll Association)

  • In 2009, per capita household debt, at $41,740, was 2.5 times higher than in 1989; in 2010, 20BG% of Canadians reported they had too much debt and trouble managing it (Certified General Accountants Association of Canada)

  •  In 2009, the average annual income ($6.6 million) of Canada's best-paid CEOs was 155 times higher than the average worker's income ($42,988); a third of all income growth in Canada over the past two decades has gone to the richest one percent of Canadians (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives)

  •  At the end of 2009, 3.8% of Canadian households controlled 67% of total household wealth (Investor Economics)
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