Five million people in Canada are living in poverty.
- On a per capita basis, the poverty rate in Canada is nearly as high as it is in the United States. With 45 million Americans out of a total population of 320 million living in poverty, that works out to roughly one in seven. In Canada, with 5 million people in poverty out of a total population of 37 million, that works out to be just marginally (one-third of a percentage point) lower than the U.S. rate. Certainly nothing to boast about.
- Three million Canadian households are living in housing conditions that are sub-standard – overcrowded, inadequately furnished, and barely affordable for low-income families. One in every five households are being forced to spend 50 percent of their income on rent.
- Canada is one of the few advanced industrialized countries with a public health care system that doesn’t cover pharmacare, dental and vision care, as well as the services of doctors and hospitals. One in 10 Canadians often can’t afford to fill their medical prescriptions.
- Three million Canadian children – one in five – are living in poverty. UNICEF ranks Canada 17thamong 29 wealthy countries due to its high rate of child poverty, and 26th for its dismal overall rate of child care. The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) has ranked Canada dead last out of 25 countries for the inadequacy and inaccessibility of its child care programs.
- Unlike most countries in Europe, Canada still doesn’t have a national, accessible, affordable, and quality child care network. Most European countries have committed to providing an ECEC (Early Childhood Education and Care) place for all children, either by legislating a legal entitlement or by making attendance compulsory. Eight European nations – Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany, Slovenia, Estonia and Malta – guarantee a legal right to ECEC for all children soon after their birth.
- 21 percent of single mothers in Canada have to raise their children while living in poverty.
- Among Canadian cities, Toronto has the most children living in poverty: 133,000 – 27 percent, one in four. Montreal is a close second.
- One in eight Canadian households struggle to put food on the table, even though 62 percent of their breadwinners have low-wage (obviously underpaid) jobs. Only the food banks save them from starvation. Since 2008, food bank usage has increased in all provinces except Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Between 1980 and 2005, average earnings among the poorest in Canada fell by 20 percent, and part-time, low-wage employment has risen by 50 percent over the last two decades.
- Nearly two million Canadian seniors rely on the GIS (Guaranteed Income Supplement) and live on about $17,000 a year — $1,000 below the basic standard of living for a single person.
- An estimated 235,000 people in Canada were homeless on any given night in 2016.
This is just a sample of the statistical evidence that makes it clear that the lives of millions of Canadians and their children are wretched, precarious, unhappy, and often plagued by cold and hunger.
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