Government of Canada releases 2021 Annual Report from the National Advisory Council on Poverty: Recommendations will help Government of Canada meet its poverty reduction targets
December 13, 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. The strategy included the creation of the National Advisory Council on Poverty and established ambitious poverty reduction targets aimed at building a Canada where every Canadian has a real and fair chance of success.
On Friday, the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, tabled in Parliament the second report on Canada’s progress in reducing poverty entitled Understanding Systems: The 2021 report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty.
The report recognizes federal investments that contributed to reducing poverty, noting that the Government met its interim target of reducing poverty by 20% by 2020. In fact, the poverty rate in Canada fell from 14.5% in 2015 to 10.1% in 2019—a 30% reduction since 2015. This decrease means that 1.3 million Canadians, including 435,000 children and 45,000 seniors, were lifted out of poverty. The report notes, however, that the data do not yet reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately affected vulnerable populations. The report also includes recommendations to reduce inequity, ensure equal access to benefits, resources, and opportunities, and ensure people are treated equitably and with dignity.
The Government of Canada announced several measures in Budget 2021 that will further contribute to poverty reduction and help to ensure an inclusive recovery. The Government of Canada has made a clear commitment to support families with young children now and after the pandemic, and is working with provincial, territorial and Indigenous partners to give all families in Canada access to a high-quality, affordable, flexible, and inclusive early learning and child care system. These investments total up to $30 billion over the next five years, and with previous investments, a minimum of $9.2 billion every year permanently as of 2025-26, which will give parents across the country access to high quality early learning and child care for an average of $10 a day within the next five years.
The Government of Canada is also increasing regular Old Age Security payments for pensioners aged 75 and older by 10 percent as of July 2022, making Employment Insurance more accessible and simple for Canadians, and expanding the Canada Workers Benefit to support about 1 million additional Canadians in low-wage jobs.
Further, the Government is investing in housing, taking action to create almost 500,000 new job and training opportunities for workers, establishing a $15 federal minimum wage that is expected to benefit 26,000 workers in the federally regulated private sector, supporting initiatives to improve food security, and bringing forward a new disability benefit.
While the Government of Canada continues to make progress towards its poverty reduction targets, the Council’s recommendations will help to inform more inclusive policies and programs so that the Government can help grow a more resilient and inclusive economy that leaves no one behind and makes life more affordable for Canadians.
“I want to thank the National Advisory Council on Poverty for their work, as this report will help inform our actions as we continue to deliver on our poverty reduction targets. This report is encouraging, but we know there is more work to do. We will continue to work hard to ensure every Canadian has a real and fair chance at success, and build a stronger, more inclusive Canada for everyone.
– The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
“We, as a country, are in the midst of a great social upheaval. For too long deeply rooted racial, cultural and economic injustice have allowed poverty to persist for far too many. As we move through the ongoing global pandemic, we have an opportunity to choose equity, dignity and justice. The National Advisory Council on Poverty is proud to present its 2021 report which hopefully provides some helpful guideposts for the journey ahead.”
– Scott MacAfee, Chairperson of the National Advisory Council on Poverty
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 included concrete poverty reduction targets and established Canada’s Official Poverty Line to measure poverty and track progress. The targets are:
- A 20% reduction in poverty, relative to 2015 levels, by 2020, an objective that was reached ahead of schedule; and
- A 50% reduction in poverty by 2030, relative to 2015 levels, which is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
According to the 2019 Canadian Income Survey (CIS) released on March 23, 2021, between 2015 and 2019, over 1.3 million Canadians have been lifted out of poverty, including 435,000 children and 45,000 seniors.
The Poverty Reduction Strategy also created the National Advisory Council on Poverty to provide independent advice to the Government on poverty reduction; to submit an annual report on progress toward the Government’s poverty reduction goals; and to continue a dialogue with Canadians on 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. The Council includes Indigenous people, racialized people and people with lived experience of poverty.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Office of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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