You might be poorer than you think – at least in the government's eyes.
A new study by B.C.'s Fraser Institute finds some families earning as much as $60,000 per year or more now fall under the new federal "poverty line."
"Due to the federal government’s newly established official poverty line, some Canadian families earning more than $60,000 annually are now considered impoverished," the public policy think-tank says.
“There’s real poverty in Canada – hunger, misery and serious housing inadequacies – but Ottawa has now lumped in families and individuals with near middle-class incomes, which will do nothing to help eliminate serious deprivation in this country,” says Christopher Sarlo, professor emeritus of economics at Nipissing University and author of the report.
In 2018, the federal government established Canada’s first official poverty line, choosing an existing low-income indicator (the Market Basket Measure) to track the progress of poverty reduction in Canada.
But the MBM is fundamentally flawed, says Sarlo.
Traditionally, poverty has essentially been defined as severe material deprivation, which produces an unsustainable and unhealthy standard of living. The MBM, however, draws the poverty line above the basic needs level, says Sarlo.
"Now, poverty in Canada is about more than basic needs, it’s also about a lack of so-called 'social inclusion.' By essentially defining poverty as an inability to participate in society, the government has rendered poverty as immeasurable because there’s no reliable way to connect societal participation or inclusion to an income level,” Sarlo continues.
“Many of our fellow Canadians lack the basic needs – government should focus on identifying and helping those Canadians," he adds.
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