Status of Poverty in Ontario

Social Assistance Recipients

Poverty Line
(LIM-AT-2011) [1]

Annual  Income 2011

Basic Income Gap

Ontario Works (OW)

Single Adult $19,930 $621 x 12 = $7,452 [2]

  • Basic Needs – $227
  • Max Shelter – $372
  • GST rebate – $22

$12,478

(37% of LIM-AT)

Lone parent with one child (under 6 yr) $28,185 $1,455.15 x 12 = $17,461.80 [3]

  • Basic Needs – $347
  • Max Shelter – $584
  • Ontario Child Benefit – $91.66
  • Universal  Child Care Benefit – $100
  • Canada Child Tax Benefit – $117.08
  • National Child Benefit Supplement – $181.41
  • GST rebate – $34

$10,723

(62% of LIM-AT)

Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

Single Adult $19,930 $1,086 x 12 = $13,032 [4]

  • Basic Needs – $590
  • Max Shelter – $474
  • GST rebate – $ 22

$6,898

(65% of LIM-AT)

Updated March 2014


[1] Source:  Statistics Canada. Table 202-0808 – Low income measures by income source and household size, 2011 constant dollars, annual (dollars), CANSIM (database). (accessed: 2014-01-31)

[2] Include basic needs and maximum shelter (after Nov/Dec 2011) and GST rebate

[3] Include basic needs, maximum shelter, Ontario Child Benefits, Canada Child Tax Benefit and supplement, Universal Child Care Benefit and GST rebate

[4] Include basic needs and maximum shelter (after Nov/Dec 2011) and GST rebate

At current social assistance rates, adults on OW and ODSP are condemned to deep poverty (below 80% of the poverty line).

Minimum Wage Earners

Poverty Line
(LIM-AT-2011) [1]

Annual  Income 2011

Basic Income Gap
Adult working full-time (35 hrs/week) for the full year $19,930 $10.25 x 35 hrs x 52 weeks = $18,655

$1,275

(94% of LIM-AT)

Updated March 2014


[1] Source:  Statistics Canada. Table202-0808 – Low income measures by income source and household size, 2011 constant dollars, annual (dollars), CANSIM (database). (accessed: 2014-01-31)

At the current minimum wage, an earner working full-time for the full year still does not escape poverty.

Structural Poverty in Ontario

In the last 35 years, except for a short period in the mid- 1980s to 1991, the poverty rate in Ontario has hovered between 9% to just over 12%, using the Ontario Government’s official poverty measure (Low Income Measure – After Tax) and the latest Statistics Canada low income figures.

Whether in good or bad economic times, since the recession of 1992, Ontario has struggled to stay below a double-digit poverty rate of 10% or higher.

This tells us that reducing the poverty rate to 4% or lower will require structural approaches that address the basic material living conditions of low income Ontarians.

Further, the worrying trend is the upward slope of the Ontario poverty rate when tracked by decade since the beginning of the 1990s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. EDT 13:27 Thursday, 2019/05/30

    Valleri, I agree with everyone who replied to your nasty comment posted:
    EDT 22:13 2013/05/15
    Your comment in regards to poverty and it’s our fault for lack of planning
    ‘and not society’s issue to fix.’
    definitely proves you’ve psychopathic tendencies.
    In your defense, you obviously suffer from limited thought process and are a piece of sh*t. A classic textbook case of a parasite on shoes.
    So tell me this you piece of shit:
    I’ve Epilepsy, a seizure disorder, was that due to lack of planning?
    Oh wait let me guess! I’ve Epilepsy, and no choice but to be on ODSP and live in poverty owing to the reasons of lack of careful planning, why should society fix it and give a shit about those who asked to be cursed with the most discriminated medical condition worldwide?
    Discriminated for poverty AND discriminated for Epilepsy.
    You’re a piece of work Valleri. Like I said, either you suffer from limited thought process or you’re a psychopath. Maybe both.

  2. I get $341.00 a month. Unfortunately my landlord passed away so I had to move in with my sister and she cant charge me rent as she is renting her place as well. So all I receive is $341.00 per month. I made $7512.00 in 2018. I’m suffering from severe depression and anxiety disorder but getting jerked around by odsp. I literally eat once every 4 to 5 days and leave the basement where I stay once a month. But if I was a refugee I guess I would be set.

  3. Who will join me in Opposing Fasist Feudal Poverty!
    Temple of the Tree of Life(Canabis)!
    Mantra: Abide Tenents of Inception;not Corruption of Conception: Live, Love, Learn, Respect, Choice, Listen Within by Share&Trade!
    Jubilee Accountability !
    Our Obligation to arise O’Canada!
    Commonwealth Commonlaw, Magna Carta!
    Rights of Man !

  4. Doug never worked a day in his life. He was on welfare mist of the time and got $621 per month. At age 65 he gets $1400 a month-over double what he got from welfare.
    I worked all of my life and got less than half of what he gets from OAS for doing nothing all of his life. It doesn’t pay to work.

  5. My daughter has been penalized for having schizophrenia now for 26 years (since15). ODSP allow her only $1040.00 per month. $705.00 goes to rent and she pays hydro of min. $100.00 a month. This leaves little for groceries etc. Being retired my husband and I are limited but we pay her phone and internet. If she were well enough to work she would but her illness has been intense. Stress++ for all the family & I have suffered with heart attack and cancer which likely stress related. Why do politicians make sooooo much and even cheat for more. We need to look after our “own refugees” before we bring in others. My heart us sick and I don’t know how my girl will manage when J am gone. PLEASE WILL SOMEONE CARE!!!!!!!!!

  6. I work 65 to something like 70 hours per week , that’s a six day work week , I barley come home with 750 every week , I barley am able to pay the bills , mortgaged , car gas hydro water electricity and so on . Why do I have to kill myself so I can pay my bills , what is the matter with today’s governments , if they can secretly give themselves raise to go with the I flation rate , why can’t we get them , according to my company a 4 cent raise is more than enough , come on we don’t even use pennies no more , so why are the rich aloud to sue them , no not five cents but 4 cents THAT IS WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT HAS DONE TO THE WORKER , FUNNY THING MOST OF OUR CONTRACTS ARE GOVERNMENT

  7. Having mental health issues all my life from neglect and abuse and living on $775 per month with no hope of ever escaping poverty makes me have thoughts of finding another way permanently out of poverty !!!!

  8. Here we are, the end of 2016 Valleri.
    Some of us are not protected by great family fortunes, or even full time or even part time employment.
    Your audacity and entitlement attitude still kills me some 3 years later. I just helped a friend pack up his belongings after the bank foreclosed on his mortgage. He was a regional manager for the hearing impaired for an Ontario organization.
    Now, we as Canadians are faced with new challenges… We have intense financial difficulties to come up as “middle class”. For some that will remain a goal, for others… It will remain a dream.
    You need to dedicate your life to the services that cater to the poor… Like mother Theresa. Your comment on this board easily and clearly gives every reader a rough idea of your age because of the callous nature and the choice of YOUR words. Please consider your college or university options…. Because, once you are done with school…. You will have automatic debt… Unless of course Daddy & Mommy pay for it.
    I hope that I’m wrong, and that you have grown out of your ” entitlement ” stage. I hope that you can truly look into the eyes of someone that is hungry… As I have done (volunteer at the local food bank, while on minimum wage).
    In any case, good luck in life… I’m sure you don’t need it… But it’s included anyways. We are a human condition, not just a financial one.

  9. That is the most ignorant comment you could have made Valleri. Not surprisingly enough I have heard these same uneducated comments many times before. I you don’t know what you are talking about, you shouldn’t be making comments. You are sure to offend people and make yourself look foolish.

  10. Most people earning minimum wage are students in high school/college that are still living at home, not paying rent. I doubt that being below the poverty line is really affecting their ability to live. Minimum wage is the entry point to the workforce and is not an ideal situation in which to support a family. If someone chooses to do so, that is their lack of planning, not society’s issue to fix.

    • This comment made me outraged. I have years of post graduate schooling behInd me and unfortunately I still work at min. wage which is slowly putting me into debt because it doesn’t cover my family’s basic needs. The problem is that there isn’t enough jobs available and what is readily available is always min.wage and in Marjory of places only part time as to cut costs for the companies. NOT that the general public makes bad decisions. No one chooses to be poor.

    • Unbelievable, you only speak like this because you don’t know how it feels to have an education and not be given the proper compensation for your skills and talents. Not to mention that some people can’t plan for the future cause of a little thing called “life”, family members become ill, disabled (even die) and unable to work forcing young adults to give up school in order to take care of the house etc. Companies take advantage of the fact that the LEGAL limit is 10.25 an hour. Companies like McDonald’s and Walmart should be able to pay their employees $14 without any complications and still be able to bring in billions of dollars of net income annually.
      So Ms. ill-educated individual speak after considerations otherwise you just look like an ignorant waste of a human being.

    • Valleri, open your eyes. Objectively, the graph speaks for itself. There has been a shift in the economy and the change has hurt many.

      Perhaps you have been fortunate enough to be able to insulate yourself from what is happening around you. I hope you stay protected because the alternative is harsh. Poverty is corrosive on so many levels and should be feared and hated not the victims. Poverty is not a choice.

    • Have you ever been in poverty? I\\\\\\\’ve been working full time job for my whole adult life and have never been out of poverty. Struggle to just get by! I am loyal and hard working!

    • I must say that was very ignorant to say. I have my PSW and have since 1998. However the city I live in mainly has pt jobs avail. Most people have to work more than one job to get by. I will tell you this. I work pt in my field not really making what i should but still above min wage. My second job is min wage because that is what was and is currently avail. I have my resume in to several differnt places. In 2005 i was hit by a drunk driver so with my injuries i have to be careful what work i do so not to cause further damage. I have not applied for ODSP because as long as i can work even if its modified duties compared to years ago I will work.
      Sometimes its not for a lack of trying or education that one has to take a min wage job. Sometime circumstances are beyond ones control. I work 7 days a week and live in poverty. Please tell me how this is my fault.

    • Wow very ignorant comment, Valerie!! Many many many adults with families work for minimum wage. Im betting you are a straight white woman from a middle-class family who had the benefits of such. Working minimum wage is not a “choice” for most people and is not just for teens either!

    • I earn minimum wage. I’m not a high school student. Actually I have a masters in Quant Finance and a Bachelors in science; bothfrom Ivy League universities. I also have 15 years work experience mostly in S&P 500 companies.

      I have been poor before, and I have been pretty well off at other points in my life.

      Living in Toronto is the worst I have experience. There was a time when I was cleaning kitchens and peeling potatoes to survive. Back then I was young but living on my own, paying rent and tuition. That job paid me more than I earn now, I was treated with more respect, and the company gave me more than perks than I get now (Gov, employer, etc)

  11. Pingback: Engage Ottawa: The Face of Poverty | Canada Without Poverty

  12. Pingback: Lankin Strikes Several Important Notes in Launching Consultation in Windsor | Poverty Free Ontario