Poverty Trends 2020: Rights & Realities in Canada

Poverty is experienced in many different ways, depending on the unique and intersecting identities of each person, their community, and where they live Poverty involves material deprivation (not having the physical things we need) and social exclusion (barriers to participating in economic, political, or community opportunities). Both are related and have profound impacts on individuals’ and communities’ physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Adequate income is an essential factor in addressing poverty, but the root causes and experiences of people living in poverty in Canada go far beyond these numbers. At its core, poverty is a violation of people’s rights. In a country as rich as Canada, poverty represents a failure of our laws and systems to uphold and protect the rights and inherent dignity of each person. Disturbing trends emerge when we study people’s experiences of poverty through an intersectional lens, considering how overlapping identities of race, gender, and disability, for example, impact health, economic, and social outcomes. What becomes clear is that Canada has failed to protect the rights of specific groups of people who are disproportionately affected by poverty because of ongoing colonial, racist, heteropatriarchal, classist, and ableist systems and practices.

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Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ottawa ON