Understanding Systems: The 2021 report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty

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Employment and Social Development Canada
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In our first annual report, the National Advisory Council on Poverty provided a broad understanding of poverty in Canada. We also reported on progress made toward the Government’s poverty reduction targets and made a number of recommendations to the Government of Canada. This year, in addition to reporting on the Government’s progress, we have also sought a deeper understanding of the systems, programs and supports that exist and the role they may play in creating, sustaining and perpetuating poverty.

According to Canada’s Official Poverty Line, the poverty rate in Canada fell from 14.5% in 2015 to 10.1% in 2019. This represents a 30% reduction since 2015. While this continued progress is positive, a closer look reveals a number of concerns. First, the most recently available data comes from the 2019 Canadian Income Survey (CIS). This means that the data does not reflect the impacts of COVID-19. In addition, the overall number conceals some of the deep inequities that exist for low-income Canadians. Certain populations, including Black Canadians, racialized Canadians, immigrants, refugees, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and 2SLGBTQ individuals, all face higher rates of poverty.

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