Welfare in Canada, 2020

Posted on December 12, 2021 in Social Security History

Source: — Authors:

Dec. 9, 2021.

The Welfare in Canada reports look at the total incomes available to those relying on social assistance (often called “welfare”), taking into account tax credits and other benefits along with social assistance itself. The reports look at four different household types for each province and territory. Established by the Caledon Institute of Social Policy, Welfare in Canada is a continuation of the Welfare Incomes series originally published by the National Council of Welfare, based on the same approach. This 2020 edition was published in December 2021.

This resource is not intended to help individuals identify what government transfers they could receive. Individuals seeking advice on their eligibility for welfare or financial assistance should contact their local social assistance provider (their province, territory or municipality).

For the number of recipients of social assistance (welfare payments) in each province and territory, visit the Social Assistance Summaries report.

Last updated: December 2021

Download the all-Canada report (PDF)

Explore the report

Earlier editions of Welfare in Canada


… For each province and territory, this report provides data and analysis on the total welfare income that households receiving social assistance would have qualified for in 2020, including COVID-19 pandemic-related supports.

Welfare in Canada is a reference document intended to inform and bolster the work of researchers, governments, media, advocates, and non-profit organizations who work to reduce the depth of poverty in Canada.

The 2020 edition of the report explores how households who receive social assistance fared in the first year of the pandemic in each province and territory.

The four example households are:

  • Unattached single considered employable;
  • Unattached single with a disability;
  • Single parent with one child, age two; and
  • Couple with two children, ages ten and 15.

Using data provided by provincial and territorial government officials, the report:

  • Examines how welfare incomes vary across Canada;
  • Describes the components of welfare incomes and their amounts;
  • Analyzes long-term changes in welfare incomes;
  • Assesses the adequacy of welfare incomes in each province compared to the Official Poverty Line in 2020, the deep poverty threshold, and low-income thresholds; and
  • Analyzes long-term changes in adequacy of welfare incomes compared to the Official Poverty Line.

    For this year, the report also provides analysis on COVID-19 pandemic-related payments from federal, provincial, and territorial governments, including an analysis on how they vary across Canada…


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