New report proposes income policy to reduce working-age poverty in Canada
A report released today by Maytree and Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC) recommends that the federal government create a new income support benefit for working-age single adults. This benefit would see the government take a leadership role in reducing the depth of poverty this group experiences.
The proposed Canada Working-Age Supplement (CWAS) would enhance and expand the Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) for all working-age single adults without children living in poverty, whether or not they are earning income from employment.
Working-age single adults without children face the highest rates and deepest levels of poverty in Canada. Of the more than 1.8 million people living in deep poverty in Canada, 50 per cent are unattached single adults.
“We’ve seen that targeted income supports, like those offered to seniors and families, can have a significant positive impact on poverty levels,” says Nick Saul, CEO of Community Food Centres Canada. “But when it comes to policy, working-age single adults have long been ignored. If our government wants to deliver on its human rights obligations and meet its target of reducing poverty by 50 per cent by 2030, it needs to focus on this group.”
CWAS would establish an income floor for all working-age single adults with a maximum benefit of $4,000. This would have a clear and immediate impact by increasing income by up to 40 per cent for people living in deep poverty. About 3.1 million unattached single adults across Canada would receive the benefit, of which about one million would be new recipients.
“The Canada Working-Age Supplement would not only complement Canada’s existing social safety net, it would be transformative in advancing the idea that working-age single adults should be eligible for income support not because they’ve earned it as workers, but because they need it as people,” says Elizabeth McIsaac, President of Maytree.
The report was co-authored by Maytree and CFCC to highlight the inadequacy of current income supports and propose a progressive policy solution. It includes an in-depth analysis of poverty in Canada today, an overview of the Canada Workers Benefit, literature and jurisdictional reviews, comprehensive analysis and costing of four different models, and targeted recommendations for the preferred model of the Canada Working-Age Supplement.
You can download the full report at https://maytree.com/publications/canada-working-age-supplement/.
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Maytree is a human rights organization committed to advancing systemic solutions to poverty and strengthening civic communities. We believe the most enduring way to fix the systems that create poverty is to ensure that economic and social rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled for all people living in Canada. Through our work, we support non-profit organizations, their leaders, and people they work with. Learn more at: https://maytree.com
About Community Food Centres Canada:
At the heart of Community Food Centres Canada’s work is the belief that food is a basic right. We bring people together around good food so communities can thrive. With more than 350 partners across the country, we build inclusive, culturally responsive Community Food Centres, share knowledge, create health-focused programs, and advocate for equitable policy change. Learn more at: cfccanada.ca.