Media release

Updated Welfare in Canada report looks at latest welfare rates during the first year of the pandemic, and how they compare to poverty measures

Published on 09/12/2021

Today, Maytree is releasing the 2020 edition of the Welfare in Canada report. 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. The report also explores how households who received social assistance fared in the first year of the pandemic.

The report, intended to inform and support the work of researchers, governments, advocates, and non-profit organizations who work to reduce the depth of poverty in Canada, looks at how welfare incomes varied across every province and territory for four example households.

The four households are:

  1. Unattached single considered employable;
  2. Unattached single with a disability;
  3. Single parent with one child, age two; and
  4. 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.

To access the data and download the report, visit

Welfare in Canada was established by the Caledon Institute of Social Policy to maintain data previously published by the National Council of Welfare. In 2018, Maytree assumed responsibility for updating the series.