People receiving social assistance hit hard by inflation: Latest Welfare in Canada report
Today, Maytree is releasing the 2022 edition of the Welfare in Canada report, which analyzes the total welfare incomes for social assistance recipients over the calendar year in all provinces and territories.
The data shows people receiving social assistance were living on welfare incomes below Canada’s Official Poverty Line in 2022, with the majority below the Deep Income Poverty threshold, which is 75 per cent of the Official Poverty Line. And while welfare incomes increased in part due to one-time cost-of-living payments, these measures were generally insufficient to mitigate the effects of inflation.
Welfare incomes in the report are calculated for four types of households: a single person who is considered employable; a single person with a disability; a single parent with one child; and a couple with two children.
Overall, 48 of 49 households (not including the four in Nunavut, where as yet no Official Poverty Line exists) were living on welfare incomes below the Official Poverty Line. Forty of those households were also living below the Deep Income Poverty threshold. The only household to have an income above the Official Poverty Line was the couple with two children in Quebec.
As the Consumer Price Index hit 6.8 per cent in 2022, jurisdictions responded differently to the rising cost of living. The federal government, eight provinces, and one territory made one-time cost-of living payments. In addition, two provinces moved to index all or part of their social assistance benefits, but not until 2023.
Despite these measures, just 15 of the 53 example households saw an above-inflation increase in their welfare incomes. Eleven of these households were in the Atlantic provinces, including all four in Prince Edward Island, and three were in Quebec. None of the households in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, or Ontario saw their incomes increase above the rate of inflation.
To access the data and download the report, visit the Welfare in Canada report page.