Child Poverty in Canada 

Poverty in Ontario is growing at an alarming rate.

Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change: Racial Justice Report Card for Ontario 

Click here to view the full report. 

As noted in “The Review of the Roots of Youth Violence” Report (McMurtry, Curling), “racism is alive and well and wreaking its deeply harmful effects on Ontarians and on the very fabric of this province.”  As the Report concludes:  “the province must articulate more effectively its commitment to anti-racism and should address this urgent issue as a major priority…”


38,000: Total number of people living in poverty (2006)

16,000: Number of children and youth living in poverty (2006)

1 in 5: Number of tenants who are spending more than 50% of their income on rent (2005)


100,000: Number of meals food banks serve to children every month

$2.9 Billion: What Ontario spends each year to treat the symptoms of poverty through the health care system


3.4 Million: Number of Canadians living in poverty (2006)

1.5 Million: Number of Canadians who cannot afford suitable and adequate shelter

$38 Billion: Estimated annual economic cost of poverty 


Pathway to Potential (P2P) - Poverty Reduction StrategyTogether we will reduce poverty and ensure the social and economic well being of residents who live in Windsor and Essex County.



We focus on five core areas in our endeavours:

Early Learning and Child Care

Childcare and early learning are key components of a poverty reduction strategy. The provincial government has made the early years a central focus of its poverty reduction strategy, with plans to phase in full day kindergarten for 4 and 5 year olds between 2010 and 2015. Full day kindergarten for 4 and 5 year olds began in 15% of Ontario schools as of September 2010. In 2010, the provincial government also committed $63.5 million to save child care subsidies.

Education and Job/Skills Training

Pathway to Potential (P2P) recognizes the vital role that education and job and skills training play in the reduction and prevention of poverty. In collaboration with Workforce WindsorEssex, P2P has been a strong advocate for changes to the provincial government’s Second Career program and for increasing the number of pre-apprenticeship programs in Windsor-Essex. is the world’s largest distance education and training network. 


Pathway to Potential is working with its community partners to ensure that everyone in the community has access to safe, stable and affordable housing. There is much work to be done in this area in 2011, as the provincial government recently released its Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy. Pathway to Potential will continue to work in collaboration with community partners, such as the Housing Advisory Committee, the Central Housing Registry and the Homeless Coalition of Windsor-Essex County, to help ensure that housing is affordable for all.


Recent studies have drawn clear links between poverty and poor health. It has been estimated that Ontario alone spends close to $3 Billion every year on poverty-related health care costs. Since 2009, P2P has focused on working to ensure that all residents of Windsor-Essex have access to nutritious, affordable food. There is great momentum in our community to promote food security, and P2P has advocated for many initiatives, such as community gardens and improving low-income residents’ access to farmers markets, that will strengthen our local food system.

In October, 2010, P2P partnered with the United Way / Centraide Windsor-Essex County to host a “Food Matters Forum”. The forum focused on urban and rural agricultural initiatives, alternative food initiatives, emergency food distribution and policy development.

Income Support

Although poverty is not only about money, money is a crucial factor in ensuring that individuals and families can live with health and dignity and participate fully in their community. Pathway to Potential has been actively involved in many efforts to improve income supports, including the promotion of the “Do the Math” Campaign, which is calling on the provincial government to introduce a $100 monthly healthy food supplement for adults in receipt of social assistance.

We also provided input on the scope of the provincial government’s upcoming review of social assistance, which is scheduled to take place between January 2011 and June 2012. Continue to check our website for the latest information on how to get involved in these consultations and other important advocacy efforts as they arise. 

Bill 152, Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Act, 2009 


   1.  The purpose of this Act is to establish mechanisms to support a sustained long-term reduction of poverty in Ontario.

Poverty reduction strategy

 (1)  The Government of Ontario shall maintain the poverty reduction strategy set out in Breaking the Cycle  —  Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy published on December 4, 2008, or another poverty reduction strategy,

  (a)  that reflects Ontario’s aspiration to be a leading jurisdiction in reducing poverty; and

  (b)  that is guided by the vision of a province where every person has the opportunity to achieve his or her full potential and contribute to and participate in a prosperous and healthy Ontario.


   (2)  Every new or modified poverty reduction strategy is to be based on the following principles:

Importance of all Ontarians

    1.  That there is untapped potential in Ontario’s population that needs to be drawn upon by building and establishing supports for, and eliminating barriers to, full participation by all people in Ontario’s economy and society and, in particular, persons who face discrimination on the grounds of their race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability.

Importance of communities

    2.  That strong, healthy communities are an integral part of the poverty reduction strategy; their potential must be brought to bear on the reduction of poverty.

Recognition of diversity

    3.  That not all groups of people share the same level of risk of poverty.  The poverty reduction strategy must recognize the heightened risk among groups such as immigrants, women, single mothers, people with disabilities, aboriginal peoples and racialized groups.

Importance of support and involvement of families

    4.  That families be supported so that they can play a meaningful role in the reduction of poverty and in promoting opportunity. 


    5.  That all people in Ontario, including those living in poverty, deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.


    6.  That Ontarians, especially people living in poverty, are to be involved in the design and implementation of the strategy.

Commitment and co-operation

    7.  That a sustained commitment to work together to develop strong and healthy children, youth, adults, families and communities is required to effectively reduce poverty. 

Take The “Do The Math” Survey

Start by taking the survey and Do the Math. What would you need to make ends meet if your situation changed and you had to rely on social assistance? If you were a single person on social assistance, what would you need?

Take the survey here: 

Begging for Change

Written by Tim Godfree,   Member – Voices Against Poverty  

$592 single

$1,021 couple

These may look like spa package prices, but they are not.  They are the current social assistance rates. You are probably wondering how anyone could live off $592 a month, the max rate for Ontario Works (OW). If you are lucky enough to find a job, you are no longer eligible for OW’s medical benefits. Some employers will provide additional medical benefits, but many are hiring more part-time employees and providing fewer shifts so they do not have to pay for these benefits. And if you lose this part time job because the company decides to move to another country where the cost of labour is cheaper, your only option is to apply for Employment Insurance (EI). However, seeing that you were not working full time hours you may not qualify for EI because you do not have enough hours to meet the eligibility requirements.

So let’s say you are able to get a general labour position to pay your bills, and then you injure yourself. You now have no other choice but to apply for Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) where the max you can receive a month is $1,053. You might be thinking ‘I could live off of $1,053 a month’, but it is likely that you will never see the max. Your financial situation will become so horrendous that you are going to have to sell off all your assets and eventually move into Geared to Income housing. Your housing will now cost you 30% of your ODSP which will leave you with almost nothing to survive on.

This is how the current system contributes to destitution.