Welfare in Canada
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Last updated: November 2022
This resource is not intended to help individuals identify what government transfers they could be entitled to. Individuals living in Yukon seeking financial assistance should visit this page.
Components of welfare incomes
In Yukon, households that qualify for basic social assistance payments also qualify for:
- Recurring additional social assistance payments from the territory;
- Federal and territorial child benefits (for households with children); and
- Federal and territorial tax credits or benefits.
Together, these components combine to form a household’s total welfare income. Households may receive less if they have income from other sources, or more if they have special health- or disability-related needs. In 2021, one example household — the single parent with one child — was also eligible for payments related to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
The table below shows the value of the welfare income components of the four example household types in Yukon in 2021. All four households are assumed to be living in Whitehorse. The child in the single parent household is two years old and the children in the couple household are ten and 15. COVID-19 pandemic-related payments are included where applicable in the table below.
Components of welfare incomes, 2021
Note: Totals may not add up due to rounding.
Total annual welfare incomes in 2021 ranged from $19,237 for the unattached single considered employable to $52,839 for the couple with two children. The income of the unattached single with a disability was $22,913 and that of the single parent with one child was $37,387.
Basic social assistance: Yukon’s basic social assistance rates are indexed to inflation with automatic increases taking effect on November 1 each year.
Additional social assistance: All households received the following additional benefits, all of which remained unchanged in 2021:
- The Yukon Supplementary Allowance of $250 per month for the unattached single with a disability;
- The Special Christmas Allowance of $30 annually per person;
- The Winter Clothing Allowance of $75 annually for persons under 14 years and $125 for persons 14 years or older;
- The Telephone Allowance of $37 per month per household, paid to those who have been receiving assistance for at least six consecutive months, or paid immediately (without a six-month wait) to those who are excluded from the labour force;
- The Transportation Expense Allowance of $62 per month per adult, paid to those who have been receiving assistance for at least six consecutive months, or paid immediately (without a six-month wait) to persons who are excluded from the labour force, and $40 per month for each dependent child between the ages of two and 18 (paid immediately); and,
- The Laundry Service Allowance of $10 per month per person, paid to those who have been receiving assistance for at least six consecutive months, or paid immediately (without a six-month wait) to those who are excluded from the labour force and to dependent children.
Federal child benefits: Both households with children received the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), which increased with inflation in July 2021 from $563.75 to $569.42 per month for a child under six years of age and from $475.66 to $480.41 per month for a child aged six to 17. The couple with two children received $882.10 per month from January to June and $887.79 per month from July to December, which is a reduced amount because their prior year incomes were above the level of eligibility for the maximum amounts. The couple with two children received a reduced amount of $882.10 per month from January to June and $887.79 per month from July to December due to income levels in prior years. The single parent of one child aged two received the additional, COVID-19 pandemic-related CCB Young Child Supplement, given to CCB-eligible families with children under the age of six, of $300 per child in January, April, July, and October.
Territorial child benefits: Both households with children received the Yukon Child Benefit, which provides a maximum of $68.33 per child per month ($820 per child per year), reduced by five per cent for those with incomes more than $35,000. These amounts remained unchanged in 2021. The single parent with one child received the maximum amount while the couple with two children received reduced monthly amounts of $147 between January and June and $148 between July and December.
Federal tax credits / benefits: All four households received the GST/HST credit, which increased in July 2021 with inflation. The unattached single considered employable and the unattached single with a disability received $297.50 in basic GST/HST credit, while the single parent with one child received $595 and the couple with two children received $907.
Three households also received the GST/HST credit supplement. The unattached single considered employable, the unattached single with a disability, and the single parent with one child each received the maximum amount of $156.
Territorial tax credits / benefits: All four households received the Yukon Government Carbon Price Rebate, which was introduced in 2019 to help offset the cost of the federal carbon pollution pricing levy. In 2021, two payments of $48 per individual, including dependent children, were made in January and April and two payments of $44 each per individual, including dependent children, were made in July and October.
COVID-19 pandemic-related payments
The only pandemic-related payment available to the example Yukon households in 2021 was received by the single parent of one child aged two, which came from the federal Canada Child Benefit Young Child Supplement of $300 per child, paid in January, April, July, and October. This amount is included in, and is not in addition to, the benefits described in the Components section above.
COVID-19 pandemic-related payments, 2021
Changes to welfare incomes
The graphs below show how the total welfare incomes for each of the four example household types in Yukon have changed over time. Note that the values are in 2021 constant dollars, not in nominal dollars. Using constant dollars takes into account the effect of inflation, as measured by the national Consumer Price Index, given that inflation reduces real dollar values over time.
The welfare incomes of both the unattached single considered employable and the unattached single with a disability followed a similar, gradually increasing trend with significant increases followed by declines across the time series. Marked increases were seen in 1997, 2001, 2008/2009, and 2014, followed by slight a decline until the 2020 increase, which came in part from benefit indexation but primarily from federal COVID-19 pandemic-related payments. The decline in 2021 was primarily due to the loss of those pandemic-related payments.
In 2021, the welfare income of the unattached single considered employable was $19,237, and that of the unattached single with a disability was $22,913.
Total welfare incomes of the households with children followed a similar pattern of a general increase punctuated by steep rises and more gradual declines. A significant increase in 1997 was followed by a decline and another sharp increase in 2008/09. Steady increases between 2013 and 2017 were due to additional social assistance benefits and federal child benefit changes. The welfare incomes of both households reached a high in 2020, which was due primarily to federal COVID-19 pandemic payments. The decline in 2021 was due to the loss of pandemic-related payments; the more modest decline for the single parent with one child was due to the availability of a new pandemic-related benefit to that household.
In 2021, the welfare income of the single parent with one child was $37,387 while that of the couple with two children was $52,839.
Adequacy of welfare incomes
With the adoption of the Market Basket Measure as Canada’s Official Poverty Line in 2018, Statistics Canada has been working to establish an MBM threshold that would be applicable to the particular circumstances of life in the North. The finalized thresholds for the Northern Market Basket Measure, or MBM-N, have just been released, which for the first time allows for poverty to be more accurately assessed in Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Note that Statistics Canada is in the process of creating a separate Market Basket Measure for Nunavut.
Starting in this report, we will use two measures of poverty to assess the adequacy of total welfare incomes in Yukon:
- The Northern Market Basket Measure (MBM-N), Canada’s Official Poverty Line for Yukon and the Northwest Territories, identifies households whose disposable income is less than the cost of a “basket” of goods and services that represent a basic standard of living in those territories.
- Deep Income Poverty (MBM-N-DIP) identifies households whose disposable income is less than 75 per cent of the MBM-N.
MBM-N thresholds vary by territory and community size and so those for Whitehorse are used in the analysis below. As well, the MBM-N thresholds for 2021 are estimates based on increasing the finalized 2020 thresholds to account for inflation.
Note also that while we use the Low Income Measure and the Low Income Cut Off for adequacy comparisons in the provinces, they do not appropriately reflect life in the North and thus, as in past reports, we do not use those measures to provide adequacy comparisons for the territories.
As well, note that none of the poverty or low-income measures currently in use in Canada account for the higher cost of living faced by persons with disabilities and thus these additional costs are not reflected in our analysis. More information about the thresholds is available in the methodology section.
A table containing comparisons of the welfare incomes of the four example household types in Yukon with all four poverty / low-income thresholds is available for download.
Poverty threshold comparisons
The figures below compare welfare incomes for the four example household types to the MBM-N and MBM-N-DIP thresholds for Whitehorse.
The welfare incomes of all four example household types in Yukon were below Canada’s Official Poverty Line for the North in 2021, meaning all these households were living in poverty. One of the four households was also living in deep poverty in 2021, as defined by the MBM-N-DIP.
The unattached single considered employable had the lowest income relative to the poverty thresholds. Their income was $1,431 below the deep income poverty threshold and $8,321 below the poverty line. This means their income was 93 per cent of the MBM-N-DIP and 70 per cent of the MBM-N.
The unattached single with a disability had an income that was $2,245 above the deep income poverty threshold, but $4,645 below the poverty line. In other words, their income was 111 per cent of the MBM-N-DIP but 83 per cent of the MBM-N.
Note that the poverty experienced by persons with disabilities is under-represented, because neither the MBM-N nor the MBM-N-DIP account for the additional costs associated with disability.
The welfare income of the two households with children were highest relative to the poverty lines among the four households. The income of the single parent with one child was $8,159 above the deep income poverty threshold and $1,584 below the poverty line. This means their income was 128 per cent of the MBM-N-DIP but 96 per cent of the MBM-N.
The welfare income of the couple with two children was $11,503 above the deep income poverty threshold and $2,275 below the poverty line. In other words, their income was also 128 per cent of the MBM-N-DIP but 96 per cent of the MBM-N.