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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.

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