Recession Increases Poverty: New Report

cpj.ca – list serve
May 4, 2010

Citizens for Public Justice is pleased to share with you a new research paper released today in Ottawa that reveals how the recession created poverty for hundreds of thousands of Canadian families.

Bearing the Brunt: How the 2008-2009 Recession Created Poverty for Canadian Families demonstrates the deep impact of the recession by examining key economic trends, comparing them to the baseline of 2007 – the last year for which we have poverty measures available. This trend analysis projects that the poverty rate in Canada rose to 11.7% in 2009, an increase of over 900,000 Canadians compared to 2007. The child poverty rate has likely risen to at least 12%, an increase of 160,000 children compared to 2007.

This conclusion is based on analysis of employment, unemployment, EI, social assistance caseloads, income, salaries and wages, debt, bankruptcy and food bank use.

Among the report’s highlights:

  • The most economically vulnerable suffered disproportionately from job loss. 1 in 4 workers making $10 an hour or less lost their job.
  • Social assistance caseloads rose across the country and have continued to rise in 2010.
  • EI was totally inadequate in responding to the recession, as nearly half of the unemployed did not qualify for benefits.  Social assistance caseloads rose the highest in provinces with the lowest EI coverage.
  • The recession increased the proportion of precarious work as part-time jobs replaced full-time jobs and temporary jobs replaced permanent positions.
  • Cost of living increased significantly more than inflation.
  • The number of food bank users in 2009 was close to the peak reached in 2004, meaning the gains of the past five years have been totally undone.

The report also counsels caution as the economy recovers, noting that after the last recession it took unemployment nearly 8 years to return to its pre-recession rate and poverty 14 years to return to its pre-recession rate. We need our governments to pay attention to poverty and unemployment now, or we could see this scenario repeat itself.

To view the report, visit www.cpj.ca/bearingthebrunt.  A summary document is attached to this email, and is also available on our website.  Fact sheets for each of the provinces will be available on our website tomorrow, May 5.

Best wishes,

Chandra
Chandra Pasma
Policy Analyst
Citizens for Public Justice
309 Cooper Street, Suite 501
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0G5
613-232-0275, x 223
800-667-8046, x223
chandra@cpj.ca

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