Statistics Canada’s Dimensions of Poverty Hub is a publicly available online dashboard that shows progress towards reducing poverty in Canada. The dashboard is part of the Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy (2018), an initiative which defines poverty, sets tangible goals to reduce poverty, and tracks progress towards reducing poverty based on 12 indicators.
The strategy defines poverty as:
The condition of a person who is deprived of the resources, means, choices and power necessary to acquire and maintain a basic level of living standards and to facilitate integration and participation in society.Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy (2018)
The indicators, organized under three pillars, go beyond economic measures to include meaningful dimensions of poverty and inclusion.
|Dignity||Opportunity & Inclusion||Resilience & Security|
|Lift Canadians out of poverty by ensuring basic needs are met.||Help Canadians join the middle class by promoting full participation in society and equality of opportunity||Support the middle class by protecting Canadians from falling into poverty and by supporting income security and resilience|
Unmet health needs
Unmet housing needs and chronic homelessness
Deep income poverty
|Literacy and numeracy|
Relative low income
Bottom 40% income share
|Median hourly wage|
Poverty entry and exit rates
Average poverty gap
The Poverty Reduction Strategy establishes Canada’s Official Poverty Line based on “the level of income that Canadians require to meet their basic needs and achieve a modest standard of living in 50 regions across the country. If Canadians cannot afford the basket of goods and services [known as the Market Basket Measure], they will be considered to be living in poverty.”
In 2015 roughly 1 in 8 Canadians lived in poverty. The Strategy sets out two specific targets:
- by 2020, reducing the poverty rate by 20% from its 2015 level; and
- by 2030, reducing the poverty rate by 50% from its 2015 level.
How Libraries Contribute to Poverty Reduction
The Poverty Reduction Strategy cites Literacy and Numeracy as an important indicator, where low literacy and numeracy skills translate to fewer opportunities for employment, education and training. Library programs that support improving literacy and numeracy skills for all ages make an important contribution ensuring everyone has the opportunity to “move up the income ladder, climb out of poverty and feel empowered through self-sufficiency”.