Income security

Income security overview

Our work on income security includes mapping current public policy systems that are intended to promote opportunity and provide a social safety net, and understanding where those systems are working well, where they are under pressure, and where we have gaps. We also work to identify policy solutions and convene conversations to improve our social safety net.

  • Social Assistance Summaries: Series that tracks the number of recipients of social assistance (welfare payments) in each province and territory.
  • Welfare in Canada: Reports that look at the total incomes available to those relying on social assistance (often called “welfare”), taking into account tax credits and other benefits along with social assistance itself.
  • Financial security: outlines three policy-ready ideas to increase financial security of low- and modest-income families in Canada.

Relevant publications

Opinion

Published on 27/09/2019

Analyzing two competing policy proposals that the Liberal and Conservative parties have put forward regarding Employment Insurance maternity and parental leave benefits during the 2019 federal election.

If you were tasked with deciding how best to spend over $1 billion in public funding for families with children, what sorts of questions would you ask to develop or assess a policy proposal? Would you want to know if the policy design is effective? Would you want to know if it is well targeted? […]

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Opinion

Published on 01/03/2019

A look at three practical policy solutions to help Canadians buffer financial risks and build a secure financial foundation for today and the future.

Canada’s economy is doing well, our unemployment rate is at its lowest level in decades, and the average net worth of Canadians is increasing. If we look more closely at the financial health of Canadian households, though, the numbers tell a contrasting story. Technological change, globalization and automation have transformed Canada’s labour market, and rising […]

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Opinion

Published on 27/02/2019

There is a solution for non-profit sector workers and their employers who want to ensure that their staff can plan for retirement: the Common Good retirement plan.

February should come with more than just weather warnings. If you’re leading a non-profit organization in Canada, you should be warned that your staff may be more distracted this time of year. They may even seem distressed. Throughout February, our media are filled with messages about the need to contribute to a Registered Retirement Savings […]

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Report

Published on 14/02/2019

This report proposes a targeted policy intervention to help boost savings and build assets among lower- and modest-income Canadians.

A proposal to build financial security for lower- and modest-income Canadians Download report (PDF) Lower- and modest-income Canadians face challenges when it comes to building asset wealth. Studies estimate that half of households have insufficient savings to stay above the poverty line for three months. This report proposes a targeted policy intervention to help boost […]

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Policy backgrounder

Published on 30/11/2018

On Thursday November 22, Minister MacLeod announced the outcome of Ontario’s 100-day review of social assistance. This short backgrounder explains what earnings exemptions are and what the proposed changes mean.

Download the backgrounder (PDF) On Thursday November 22, Minister MacLeod announced the outcome of Ontario’s 100-day review of social assistance. It included details of how earnings exemptions for social assistance recipients will change. This short backgrounder explains what earnings exemptions are and what the changes mean. What are earnings exemptions? Most social assistance programs withdraw […]

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Opinion

Published on 28/11/2018

The province's one-hundred-day social assistance review was more a series of directions or intentions rather than specific program changes. Many of the announced reforms are still too vague to assess. But some are problematic, writes Maytree Fellow Michael Mendelson.

Analysis of the just announced reforms to social assistance resulting from the Ontario government’s “one-hundred-day” review will have to wait until further details are made public. Many of the reforms are still too vague to assess. For example, the government promised to improve “employment services for people receiving social assistance, placing a greater focus on […]

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