Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy

Every Canadian deserves a real and fair chance to succeed, no matter where they live or where they come from. Opportunity for All: Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy targets a 20% reduction in poverty by 2020 and a 50% reduction in poverty by 2030, relative to 2015 levels.

Read the full version of Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy

Progress to date: Canada’s lowest poverty rate in history

The 2017 Canadian Income Survey  results show that the Government of Canada met its first poverty reduction target a full three years ahead of schedule. Between 2015 and 2017, the poverty rate fell by more than 20% to 9.5%, representing approximately 825,000 fewer Canadians living in poverty.

With a poverty rate of 9.5% in 2017, Canada has reached its lowest poverty rate in history. This historic low poverty rate represents an important step toward the Government of Canada’s goal to cut poverty in half by 2030.

Figure 1: Number of Canadians living in poverty between 2015 and 2017

Canadians Living In Poverty 2015 to 2017
Figure 1: Text description
  • 2015: 4,238,000
  • 2016: 3,739,000
  • 2017: 3,412,000

Source: Canadian Income Survey 2017.

Figure 2: Poverty rate in Canada in 2017

Poverty Rate In Canada 2017
Figure 2: Text description

The poverty rate in Canada decreased to 9.5% in 2017, which is the lowest poverty rate in Canada’s history.

Source: Canadian Income Survey 2017.

Watch the video on reducing poverty

Reducing Poverty, Canadian Income Survey 2019 (Transcript)

The Government of Canada has taken important steps to reduce poverty and help Canadians who need it most.

With the help of investments in programs like the Canada Child Benefit and the Guaranteed Income Supplement, we have reached our first poverty reduction target a full three years ahead of schedule. However, we know there is still more work to do.

Data released in the 2017 Canadian Income Survey reveals that between 2015 and 2017, the poverty rate fell by more than 20 percent—that means roughly 825,000 fewer Canadians living below the poverty line in the last two years.

Government investments that support poverty reduction

Since 2015, the Government of Canada has made significant investments for children, seniors, lower-wage workers and other vulnerable Canadians. These investments are having an immediate impact on reducing poverty and are making a difference in the lives of Canadians.

More Canadians are expected to be lifted out of poverty as the impacts of these investments are realized in the years to come.

Opportunity for All builds on the Government of Canada’s significant investments in recent years, such as:

Canada Child Benefit

The Canada Child Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children and has helped lift about 300,000 children out of poverty. In July 2018, the Benefit was indexed to keep up with the cost of living.

Guaranteed Income Supplement

The increase to the Guaranteed Income Supplement top-up for single seniors provides greater income security for close to 900,000 seniors, of whom approximately 70% are women, and is lifting an estimated 57,000 vulnerable seniors out of poverty.

National Housing Strategy

Canada’s first National Housing Strategy is a 10-year, $40-billion investment that will give more Canadians a place to call home by removing 530,000 families from housing need and by reducing chronic homelessness by 50%.

Public transit infrastructure

Public transit infrastructure investments under the Investing in Canada Plan can provide better access to housing, shelters, early learning and child care, as well as to cultural, sport and recreation infrastructure.

Early learning and child care

Investments in early learning and child care to help Canadian children get the best start in life and have a fair chance to succeed. High-quality, affordable child care across the country is critical to the economic security of families.

Labour Market Transfer Agreements

Funding provided to provinces and territories through Labour Market Transfer Agreements help unemployed Canadians prepare for and return to work and provide a full range of employment programs and services ranging from skills training to career counselling and job search assistance.

Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program

The new Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program, formerly known as the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy, supports over 85 Indigenous organizations that design and deliver labour market programs to increase Indigenous participation in the job market.

Canada Workers Benefit

The Canada Workers Benefit, an enhanced version of the Working Income Tax Benefit, is a refundable tax credit that is intended to supplement the earnings of low-income workers and improves work incentives for low-income Canadians while raising 74,000 Canadians out of poverty.

Mental health initiatives

Mental health initiatives funded through provincial and territorial agreements help Canadians with mental illnesses, who make up a disproportionate percentage of people living in poverty.

Visual representations of the Strategy

Latest news

Join the conversation

Follow us on social media to stay up-to-date with the latest activities for our initiatives to #ReducePoverty.


Canadians’ Median After-Tax Income (Transcript)

$57,900, in 2014;
$57,700, in 2015;
$57,900, in 2016; and
$59,800, in 2017.

$59,800 is the highest after-tax median income in Canadian history

For more information on our efforts to reduce poverty, visit Canada.ca/reduce-poverty

Canada wordmark

Opportunity For All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy: An explainer video (Transcript)

Every Canadian deserves a real and fair chance to succeed, no matter where they live or where they come from.

Since 2015, more than $22 billion dollars has been invested in initiatives that reduce poverty to help grow the middle class and help those who are working hard to join it.

Investments made are expected to help lift 650,000 Canadians out of poverty by 2019.

Enhancements to Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement provide greater income security for low-income seniors.

The National Housing Strategy gives more Canadians a safe and affordable place to call home.

Programs like these have a real and meaningful impact on those working hard to make ends meet.

After extensively consulting with Canadians, the Government of Canada is launching the first ever Poverty Reduction Strategy.

For the first time ever, an official measure of poverty, Canada’s Official Poverty Line and improvement to poverty measurement will be used to measure progress toward the new targets on poverty reduction.

An independent National Advisory Council on Poverty will be established to publically report on progress made towards these targets and continue dialogue with Canadians on poverty.

To cement the commitment to reducing poverty, the Government proposes to introduce a new Poverty Reduction Act in Parliament.

Opportunity for All is a bold vision that will build a Canada where every Canadian has a real and fair chance at success.

To find out more, visit Canada.ca/reduce-poverty

Together let’s #ReducePoverty

Text on screen: Canada wordmark

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: