Canada Begins Consultations on Poverty Measure

Posted on November 5, 2018
By Justin Williams

Statistics Canada is engaging in a consultation until January 31, 2019 to improve on the Market Basket Measure (MBM) as a tool to measure poverty in Canada.

In August, the Federal Government launched Canada’s first poverty reduction strategy “Opportunity for All,” focused on creating a Canada without poverty. Importantly, the strategy did not just provide tools for reducing poverty, but instead set targets to reduce the rate of poverty by 50% by 2030.

In order to measure success in poverty reduction, the federal strategy included the introduction of Canada’s first official measure of income poverty. Canada’s official poverty line is being created based on a Market Basket Measure. To begin with the MBM is calculated based on a basket of goods and services required by individuals and families to meet their basic needs. The low-income measure will also be collected for 50 regions in Canada to account for the different living costs in communities.

The MBM gained further importance this month when British Columbia announced that it will use the same measure as part of its strategy to reduce poverty rates by 25% over the next five years. The Government of British Columbia will be moving forward with legislation for its poverty reduction strategy in early 2019.

To make sure the MBM is properly reflecting the poverty line in Canada, Statistics Canada has begun a comprehensive review of the measure. One aspect of the review from Statistics Canada is a survey of Canadians to gain insight into what they consider is required expenditures for the communities that they live in. The short survey consist of approximately 10 questions to explore the costs of living in your area and the value that you place on different parts of the basket. Completing the survey is a small, but important way that you can help shape Canada’s work to eliminate poverty.

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Cities Reducing Poverty, Justin Williams

Justin Williams

By Justin Williams

Justin is the Managing Assistant with Tamarack’s Vibrant Communities team. Before joining Tamarack, he worked in higher-education and student advocacy managing research and political affairs teams. Justin is passionate about the role of governance processes in promoting community, sustainability and poverty reduction.

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