Government of Canada releases the first annual report from the National Advisory Council on Poverty

News release

Recommendations will help Government of Canada meet poverty reduction target

February 24, 2021              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

In 2018, the Government of Canada made a historic commitment toward reducing poverty through Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy. Yesterday, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen, tabled in Parliament the first report on Canada’s progress, entitled Building Understanding: The First Report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty.

The Poverty Reduction Strategy included concrete poverty reduction targets and established Canada’s Official Poverty Line to measure poverty and track progress toward the targets. It also created the National Advisory Council on Poverty to provide independent advice to the Government on poverty reduction; to submit an annual report on the progress achieved toward the Government’s poverty reduction goals; and to continue a dialogue with Canadians on poverty.

The report tabled yesterday highlights that if progress made toward poverty reduction is maintained, the Government of Canada will meet its overall poverty reduction targets. The report also notes that the impacts of COVID‑19 on poverty reduction efforts remain to be seen, and there is more to do to ensure that every Canadian has a real and fair chance to succeed. It also provides key recommendations on how to improve poverty reduction efforts to ensure that the 2030 target is met, which include: continuing existing measures to reduce poverty; specific measures to address poverty among Indigenous people; more inclusive data gathering to support better decision making; incorporating an equity lens in policy development to meet the needs of marginalized groups; and working with the provinces and territories to ensure a robust social safety net that provides benefits at the level of Canada’s Official Poverty Line.

The Government of Canada has recently made a number of commitments that will help reach its poverty reduction targets. For example, the Government is continuing to invest in affordable housing; carrying out a campaign to create jobs; supporting initiatives to improve food security; and planning to bring forward a new benefit and employment strategy for Canadians with disabilities.

Through programs like the Canada Child Benefit, 367,000 children have been lifted out of poverty since 2015 in Canada. The Government of Canada is committed to continuing its poverty reduction efforts, and this report will help to inform government policies, programs and service delivery. 


“While it is encouraging to know that the progress we are making in our fight against poverty is leading us in the right direction, we know that there is more work to do. Our government remains committed to delivering on our poverty reduction targets and ensuring every Canadian has an equal and fair chance to succeed. I thank the National Advisory Council on Poverty for their work, as this report will help inform our actions as we continue to build back a better, stronger and more inclusive Canada.”
– Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen

“The National Advisory Council on Poverty is proud to present its first report. From 2015 to 2018 we, as a country, had made significant inroads in reducing poverty, reducing Canada’s poverty rate by 24.1%. However, we are now in the middle of a global pandemic, the impact of which on people living in poverty has yet to be fully realized. The pandemic response gave us all a vision of the possible: what we could do as a country if we cared for and took care of each other. Poverty deserves a similar response.”
– Scott MacAfee, Chairperson of the National Advisory Council on Poverty

Quick facts

  • The Poverty Reduction Act received Royal Assent in June 2019. The Act entrenches into law Canada’s Official Poverty Line, the poverty reduction targets and the National Advisory Council on Poverty. 

  • The legislation cements the Government’s commitment to reducing poverty and ensures that it remains a lasting priority well into the future.

  • The Poverty Reduction Strategy targets a 50% reduction by 2030, relative to 2015 levels, which is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to end poverty.

  • The members of the Council were selected as part of an open, transparent and merit-based selection process that strove to reflect Canada’s diversity, in terms of gender, regions and official languages, and including Indigenous people, racialized people and people with lived experience.

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Mikaela Harrison
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
Follow us on Twitter

Page details

Date modified: