Youth and Philanthropy Initiative


Volunteers serve meals to poor and homeless people in a public park.

What is it?

Poverty does not just mean financial insecurity, but rather it refers to a chronic lack of the resources, capabilities, choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living.

Causes of/Factors that Contribute to Poverty

  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Lack of jobs
  • Lack of access to health services
  • Discrimination when applying for jobs and accessing services
  • Lack of adequate support for the elderly and people with disabilities (people who cannot work)
  • Weakening of the social safety net
  • Increasing income inequality between the rich and poor

A few quick statistics about poverty in Canada

(From Canada Without Poverty)

  • 1 in 7 (or 4.9 million) people in Canada live in poverty
  • 1 in 5 children in Canada live in Poverty
  • Poverty costs Canada as a whole between $72 billion and $84 billion annually
  • Precarious employment has increased by nearly 50% over the past two decades
  • 1 in 8 Canadian households struggle to put food on the table. And in 2014, over 60% of food insecure households relied on income from employment.

Marginalized Communities

People who are already marginalized are more likely to experience poverty, including those who are:

The Impact of Poverty

Because of the lack of access to funds and opportunities, people living in poverty are at risk of experiencing numerous other challenges, including:

  • food insecurity, or not being able to access enough (or nutritious) food
  • poor health outcomes, due to less nutritious diet, lower standard of living conditions, and lack of access to important medication or medical treatments
  • homelessness or precarious housing
  • lack of access to education & training, impacting employment prospects and future income

Living in poverty is also highly stigmatized, so many people will also experience impacts to their mental health, self-esteem and social networks which increases their risk of addiction, abuse and discrimination

Learn More

Scroll to Top