Basic-Income Program – Ontario, CA

4,000 Canadian families will soon get paid by Ontario for doing nothing, By Alan Freeman, April 27, 2017, Washington Post: “The government of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, is joining the basic-income bandwagon with the launch of a three-year pilot program that will test how paying people an unconditional basic wage works in practice…”

Cost of Poverty – Toronto, CA

Cost of poverty in Toronto pegged at $5.5 billion a year, By Laurie Monsebraaten, November 28, 2016, Toronto Star: “Poverty in Toronto costs between $4.4 billion and $5.5 billion a year, according to a groundbreaking report on what we all pay in added health care, policing and depressed economic productivity for the city’s 265,000 families living on low incomes…”

Child Poverty – Toronto, CA

Kids suffer most as Toronto clings to title of child poverty capital, By Laurie Monsebraaten, November 14, 2016, Toronto Star: “Salma Jabeen would love to enrol her 4-year-old daughter in taekwondo or gymnastics. Or buy Zara the small toy she wanted during a recent trip to the mall.  But her husband’s earnings as a security guard barely cover groceries and rent for the family’s sparsely-furnished Thorncliffe Park apartment…”

Low-Income Families and Taxes – Canada

Canada’s poor urged to earn more by filing their taxes, By Kyle Bakx, October 11, 2016, CBC News: “After not filing her income taxes for three years, Janet Smith is struggling to find all the paperwork she needs to send to Revenue Canada.  As someone with a low income, she’s expecting to receive government benefits once her taxes are filed. ‘That could probably help me make ends meet. Right now, being on disability and just scraping by, sometimes not even scraping by, it’s pretty tough,’ she said. ‘It’s been a while since I filed taxes, there’s a lot of new things that have come out since I last filed. A lot of benefits that I’m sure I qualify for that I’m missing out on.’  Filing taxes is becoming the key strategy for organizations looking to lift people out of poverty…”

Poverty and the Child Protection System – Ontario, CA

Report shines light on poverty’s role on kids in CAS system, By Sandro Contenta and Jim Rankin, August 15, 2016, Toronto Star: “A new report that for the first time calculates the effect of poverty in Ontario child protection has found it plays a significant role in kids being taken from their families and placed into care.  Children whose families ran out of money for housing were twice as likely to be placed with foster parents or group homes, according to an analysis of Ontario children taken into care in 2013.  Similar rates were found for families who ran out of money for food or for utilities. Children with a parent suffering from addiction or mental health problems were also placed in care at about twice the overall rate…”

Single Adults in Poverty – Ontario, CA

Ontario’s soaring poverty gap ‘starkest’ for single adults as welfare rates stagnate, By Laurie Monsebraaten, May 9, 2016, Toronto Star: “After five years on welfare, Pauline Bryant figures she was probably over-qualified to help others ‘get by on next to nothing’ as a part-time community engagement worker last year. Although the job gave Bryant an extra $600 a month, it didn’t provide medical benefits or enough money to escape welfare. But it eased her sense of isolation…”

Youth Homelessness

Poverty the leading cause of youth homelessness: Study, By Laurie Monsebraaten, April 4, 2016, Toronto Star: “Poverty — not delinquency — is the leading cause of youth homelessness around the world, according to a groundbreaking international study led by a University of Toronto researcher.  The study, published online Monday by JAMA Pediatrics, analyzes research on youth homelessness involving more than 13,500 young people in 24 countries, including Canada and the United States and is believed to be the first of its kind…”

Child Poverty – Canada

  • 25 years after Ottawa’s pledge to end child poverty, it’s time to hit ‘reset’, By Marco Chown Oved, November 19, 2014, Toronto Star: “It’s been 25 years since members of Parliament unanimously voted to eradicate child poverty. Their self-imposed deadline came and went almost 15 years ago. In that time, millions of children in Canada have grown up in deplorable conditions, often cold, hungry and ill — and some of them are now raising their own kids in the same situation. On the anniversary of the government’s unfulfilled pledge, almost 1.2 million children go to school hungry, don’t have a good winter coat or can’t afford to play sports. Religious leaders, economists, teachers and doctors say it’s time to reset the clock on the pledge to ending child poverty and embark anew on the road to ensuring that every Canadian child gets a good start in life…”
  • Patchwork of employment perpetuates poverty cycle for Toronto family, By Sara Mojtehedzadeh, November 19, 2014, Toronto Star: “Richard Wang is a man of many trades. He is a dishwasher, a doorman, a food taster and a tour guide. He scrubs toilets and flips hamburgers. When luck strikes, he gets paid $50 to be CT-scanned or x-rayed at a teaching hospital. But most of all, Richard Wang is a father. His dizzying schedule and patchwork of low-paid work are stitched together for a single mission: to be the best dad possible to his 8-year-old son. ‘I want to make sure that Noah’s development, especially emotionally, is OK. Whatever he needs, I provide it,’ says Wang. It’s not easy. Like a growing number of Canadians, Wang is stuck in the kind of precarious work that grants him few rights, no benefits, and little control over his life…”

Disability and Poverty

  • Disability makes poverty likelier than ever: report, By Olivia Carville, September 25, 2014, Toronto Star: “Being disabled is increasingly a trigger for poverty and hunger, according to a new report profiling food bank clients across the GTA. The percentage of disabled people lining up at food banks has almost doubled since 2005, the Daily Bread Food Bank’s Who’s Hungry report states. Disability beneficiaries receive so little money from Ontario’s social welfare programs they are forced to live in poverty, Daily Bread executive director Gail Nyberg said…”
  • People with disability ‘twice as likely to experience poverty’ – charity, By Geraldine Gittens, September 24, 2014, Irish Independent: “People with a disability are twice as likely to experience poverty due to the extra costs they incur, a charity has warned. There is ‘substantial evidence’ that the additional costs of having a disability can place a household ‘at significant risk of poverty and deprivation’, according to new research acquired by Inclusion Ireland…”

Income Gap by Age – Canada

  • Income gap grows between young and old: Report, By Dana Flavelle, September 23, 2014, Toronto Star: “Canada’s income gap is growing — not just between rich and poor, but between young and old, a report by the Conference Board of Canada has found. Older Canadians now earn 64 per cent more after tax than younger workers. That’s up from a 47 per cent gap nearly three decades ago, the study released Tuesday found. The report, called The Bucks Stop Here: Trends in Income Inequality between Generations, confirms what author David Stewart-Patterson says he suspected…”
  • Age, not gender, is the new income divide in Canada, study finds, By Lee-Anne Goodman, September 23, 2014, Financial Post: “Age, not gender, is increasingly at the heart of income inequality in Canada, says a new study that warns economic growth and social stability will be at risk if companies don’t start paying better wages. The Conference Board of Canada findings suggest younger workers in Canada are making less money relative to their elders regardless of whether they’re male or female, individuals or couples, and both before and after tax…”

College Access and Inequality

College cost isn’t poor students’ big problem, By Christopher Flavelle, July 28, 2014, Bloomberg View: “To judge by this summer’s banner policy proposals, the most important question for higher-education reform right now is giving students easier access to loans. But evidence from Canada suggests those changes won’t address the greater need: Getting more kids from poor families into college, the key to moving up in an increasingly unequal society. In research published last year, a team of American and Canadian economists compared the connection between family income and college or university attendance in the two countries. . .”

Homelessness and Housing First

  • Housing is most cost-effective treatment for mental illness: study, By André Picard, April 8, 2014, The Globe and Mail: “For every $1 spent providing housing and support for a homeless person with severe mental illness, $2.17 in savings are reaped because they spend less time in hospital, in prison and in shelters. That is the most striking conclusion of a study, obtained by The Globe and Mail, that tested the so-called Housing First approach to providing social services. Beyond the cost savings, the new research shows that placing an emphasis on housing gets people off the streets and improves their physical and mental health…”
  • Study finds new approach to homelessness saves money, keeps people off street, Canadian Press, April 7, 2014, Times Colonist: “New conclusions by the Mental Health Commission of Canada suggest the ‘housing first’ approach to battling homelessness is showing real results. The report, details of which were obtained by The Canadian Press, shows more than 2,000 homeless Canadians diagnosed with mental illness have found stable housing in all regions of the country over a two-year period. The massive At Home-Chez Soi pilot project, created in 2008 following a $110-million investment from the federal government, has proven effective for people from diverse cultural backgrounds and circumstances. The study suggests it has also been cost-effective, with every $10 invested resulting in cost savings of almost $22…”

Child Poverty – Canada

Child poverty rates in Canada, Ontario remain high, By Laurie Monsebraaten, November 26, 2013, Toronto Star: “Almost a generation after Ottawa’s vow to eradicate child poverty by 2000, national and provincial report cards show very little sustained progress. One in seven Canadian children — or 967,000 — still lives in a low-income household, according to Campaign 2000 in its annual report being released Tuesday, the 24th anniversary of the historic federal pledge. In Ontario, child poverty rates mirror the national average, with about 371,000 children living in poor households, says the group’s provincial report card, which is also being released Tuesday. Alarmingly, 38.2 per cent of children of single mothers in Ontario are living in poverty…”

First Nations Child Poverty – Canada

Half of First Nations children live in poverty, By Amber Hildebrandt, June 19, 2013, CBC News: “Half of status First Nations children in Canada live in poverty, a troubling figure that jumps to nearly two-thirds in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, says a newly released report. ‘The poverty rate is staggering. A 50 per cent poverty rate is unlike any other poverty rate for any other disadvantaged group in the country, by a long shot the worst,’ said David Macdonald, a senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and co-author of the report. The study released late Tuesday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Save the Children Canada found that the poverty rate of status First Nations children living on reserves was triple that of non-indigenous children…”

Child Well-Being in Developed Countries

  • UNICEF report: Canada ranks 17th of 29 for well-being of children, By Laurie Monsebraaten, April 10, 2013, Toronto Star: “If you think Canada is one of the best places to raise a child, think again. The latest report on the well-being of children in rich countries ranks Canada 17th out of 29, a score that hasn’t budged in almost a decade, according to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The country scored ‘below average’ grades for child poverty and obesity and children’s life satisfaction, says the report to be released Wednesday. The Netherlands ranked first overall, followed by Norway and Iceland. Romania was last…”
  • British children facing bleaker future than rest of Europe, warns Unicef, By Josie Ensor, April 10, 2013, The Telegraph: “A report by the UN children’s fund has found that they are worse off overall than in many other industrialised countries, including less wealthy nations such as Slovenia and the Czech Republic. The charity ranked the UK 16th out of 29 developed countries — three places higher than in its last report in 2007. While its overall rating for ‘child well-being’ has gone up, Britain now has the lowest number of young people in further education and one of the highest numbers of under-age drinkers and teenage pregnancies…”

Social Impact Bonds – Canada

  • Feds introduce controversial ‘social impact bonds’ to fund social services, By Les Whittington, November 8, 2012, Toronto Star: “The federal government is introducing a controversial new approach to funding social services called ‘social impact bonds’ that can turn a profit for private investors. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, who have often been accused of short-changing social programs, view the bonds as a valuable source of fresh funding for Canadian communities…”
  • Ottawa looks to private sector to help fund social programs, By Heather Scoffield, Winnipeg Free Press: “The federal government wants to tap into a ‘gold mine’ of private-sector funding to finance its social programs — a new approach the New Democrats are dismissing as little more than budget cuts in disguise. Human Resources Minister Diane Finley launched a ‘call for concepts’ on Thursday, asking businesses, not-for-profits and the volunteer sector to come up with fundamentally new ideas for jointly financing improvements in the lives of the needy. The launch is a tentative step into the realm of social financing — an approach that is being tested in the United Kingdom and the United States. It invites private-sector investors to provide up-front money and then collect a return on projects government traditionally pays for, such as homelessness or hunger…”

Youth Underemployment – Canada

The real youth jobs crisis: underemployment, By Tavia Grant, October 30, 2012, Globe and Mail: “Youth joblessness tends to garner all the headlines, but the more troubling trend may be the more hidden one: underemployment. A paper to be released Tuesday is urging more examination of the extent of youth underemployment in Canada and more research into the causes that are driving it. ‘Contrary to the highly visible issue of youth unemployment, underemployment is seldom spoken of,’ says a 61-page paper by the Certifi­ed General Accountants Association of Canada, which periodically publishes research on various aspects of the Canadian economy…”

Poverty Measurement in the US and Canada

  • The Near Poor: Many educated, employed Americans struggle to make ends meet, By Elizabeth Stuart, November 30, 2011, Deseret News: “Federal poverty statistics may not paint an accurate picture of how Americans are getting along economically, two new studies suggest. About 45 percent of U.S. residents who are not considered poor by federal standards don’t have enough money for basic expenses like housing, food and health care, according to a new study by the advocacy group Wider Opportunities for Women. And the number of people hovering just above the federal poverty threshold is 76 percent higher than official records indicate, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data published in the New York Times…”
  • In U.S., Canada, new measures of the poverty line, By Miles Corak, November 28, 2011, Globe and Mail: “U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Rebecca Blank — a capable, no-nonsense, PhD in economics, and a former Dean at the University of Michigan — to his new administration, and told her to answer a simple question: How should the United States measure poverty? Blank did an end-run around the sad politics that has characterized discussions of poverty measurement in the U.S. by having the Census Bureau develop an entirely new indicator that reflects the realities of participating in contemporary American society…”

Child Poverty – Canada

  • Ottawa lacks plan to fight child poverty, coalition says, By Laurie Monsebraaten, November 23, 2011, Toronto Star: “When it comes to helping Canada’s 639,000 children living in poverty, the more things change, the more they stay the same. That is the sobering message from Campaign 2000, a national coalition of more than 120 groups and individuals that has been lobbying for federal action on the issue for two decades. ‘Neither the promised poverty elimination or plans have materialized,’ the group says in its 20th anniversary progress report on Ottawa’s 1989 pledge to tackle the issue. The report, obtained by the Star, is being released Wednesday and calls on the government to cut poverty by at least 50 per cent by 2020. Canada’s poverty rate in 2009 was 9.5 per cent. And although the rate has inched up and down with the business cycle over the past 20 years, the report notes that the problem remains largely unchanged from 1989, when 11.9 per cent of the nation’s children were living in poverty…”
  • Report: More kids living in poverty, By Frances Willick, November 23, 2011, Chronicle Herald: “It was 22 years ago this week that Canada’s leaders gathered in the House of Commons to unanimously pass a lofty, daunting goal: to eliminate poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000. A laudable goal, yes, but in hindsight, it was unattainable. The most recent statistics, released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, show that child poverty has not only lingered, but for the first time since 2003, it’s on the rise. In 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available, nearly 10 per cent of Canadian children under the age of 18 lived in poverty. In Nova Scotia, 8.2 per cent of kids lived below the poverty line. That’s up from a nationwide low of 9.1 per cent in 2008 and a low in Nova Scotia of 7.9 per cent…”

Urban Poverty – Canada

Big cities attracting poverty, Statscan data show, By Heather Scoffield, June 21, 2011, Globe and Mail: “Canada’s biggest urban areas are stuck in a rut of persistent poverty, while mid-sized cities are gaining ground despite the recent recession, new data from Statistics Canada show. The metropolitan areas of Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal have poverty rates far above the national average, details of a report on income in Canada in 2009 show. But Quebec City and Victoria, on the other hand, have seen steady and significant declines in the number of people living with low incomes over the last decade, despite the recent recession.  The trends are no surprise to Mike Creek, who works with homeless and impoverished people in Toronto, after spending years in poverty himself.  ‘If you stick around in a smaller community and you have that shame (of living in poverty), you become stigmatized. So I think it’s easier for someone to pack up their bags and try some place else,’ Mr. Creek says.  Urban centres, he says, ‘provide more opportunities around housing, and job opportunities and services that they may not find in smaller communities.’  Released last week, the Statistics Canada report is the first detailed, national look at what happened to income during the recession…”