Publications, opinions, and speeches


Pandemic supports are failing Canada’s poorest

Published on 17/01/2022

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, millions of people across Canada lost their livelihoods, and supporting them became an urgent priority for governments of all stripes and at all levels.

While critical programs for recently unemployed workers and affected businesses have taken up much of the mainstream discussion — and continue doing so in light of the Omicron wave of restrictions — little attention has been paid to people already living in deep poverty.

In the Maytree Foundation’s latest Welfare in Canada report, we assessed the total income of the millions of people who received social assistance in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. Our analysis includes other payments and tax credits they might have been eligible for, such as child benefits and the GST credit.

The report’s findings are stunning: Even with some pandemic-related benefits, people who received social assistance continued to live in grinding poverty. This means that, even when extra support was available, it wasn’t enough to lift them out of poverty.

Read the full opinion on iPolitics, where the writers argue that if we really want to come out of the pandemic better than we were before, we must invest in meaningful support for all, so that everyone in Canada can live with dignity.


Income security, Poverty


Pandemic-related payments to people living in deep poverty paled in comparison to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Recovery Benefit, which were available to Canadians with jobs.