Income & Employment

Many approaches to poverty reduction are grounded in the idea that the most effective way to address poverty is to “increase the income of the poor by providing productive employment” (Karnani, 2011). Poverty can often go hand in hand with unemployment. This is especially seen for specific demographics, such as new immigrants facing barriers to employment due to language and credibility, despite being highly educated. Unemployment has also been found to effect young educated individuals who still do not meet the experience criteria for available jobs, as well as individuals with disabilities with fewer work options. Many individuals also face barriers preventing them from working such as mental health, disabilities, and being a single parent. Increased training and work opportunities may help many individuals exit poverty as well as financially empower them through economic development practices.

While employment may be one strategy to lower poverty in Canada, recent statistics indicate that unemployment is not the direct cause of poverty for the majority of low-income individuals. According to living wage Canada, in 2015, approximately 70% of the low-income population were employed (Lefroncois, 2015). These individuals are known as Canada’s working poor. This indicates that employment may not be enough to prevent individuals from falling below the poverty line. Salary, sustainability, and number of hours of work are integral aspects to ensuring that employed individuals have financial security and meaningful work. In this way, while employment may be needed to reduce poverty in Canada, it is integral that employment opportunities are meaningful and sustainable.



Poverty, Access to Transit, and Social Isolation - Poverty Reduction Coalition (Report)

Labour Force Survey (Statistics Canada, 2018)

Differences that Matter: Social Policy and the Working Poor in the United States and Canada

The Working Poor

Ideas presented here do not reflect the COH and the Homeless Hub.