Understanding Systems: The 2021 report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty

Canada’s National Advisory Council on Poverty’s second Annual Report, Understanding Systems, is the first report to provide a glimpse into poverty since COVID-19.

Based on community engagements with Canadians and provinces/territories over the last year, the Council has recommended five broad strategies to reduce poverty in Canada.

The pillars of the strategy are as follows:

  1. Indigenous prosperity
  2. Equity
  3. Dignity
  4. Prevention and early intervention
  5. Income from employment and government benefits

In a recent webinar, three Council members shared what strategies can make the greatest impact. Read more to learn about the key takeaways from the discussion.



RESPs and education incentives for children in care – toolkit for public primary caregivers

The Canada Education Savings Program (CESP) recently developed a Toolkit for Public Primary Caregivers to help child welfare organizations open Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) and access the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) for children in care.

Most children in care automatically qualify for the CLB, but too many of them are missing out on the CLB. As public primary caregivers in receipt of the Children’s Special Allowance, most child welfare organizations can open RESPs and request the CLB for children in their care.

The Toolkit explains the process for accessing federal education savings incentives from the perspective of a public primary caregiver. It explains how to get Social Insurance Numbers for children in care, how to open and manage an RESP, what to do with the account when a child is adopted or ages out of care, and how to access the money when the youth enrols in post-secondary education. It also includes an infographic for quick reference.



Le Programme canadien pour l'épargne-études (PCEE) a récemment élaboré une Trousse d’outils pour les responsables publics pour aider les organismes de protection de l'enfance à ouvrir des régimes enregistrés d'épargne-études (REEE) et à accéder au Bon d'études canadien (BEC) pour les enfants pris en charge.

La plupart des enfants pris en charge sont automatiquement admissibles au BEC, mais trop d'entre eux ne bénéficient pas du BEC. En tant que responsables publics recevant l'allocation spéciale pour enfants, la plupart des organismes de protection de l'enfance peuvent ouvrir des REEE et demander le BEC pour les enfants dont ils ont la charge.

EDSC_EnfantsPrisEnCharge_REEETroussedoutils.pdf  explique le processus d'accès aux incitatifs fédéraux à l'épargne-études du point de vue d'un responsable public. Elle explique comment obtenir un numéro d'assurance sociale pour les enfants pris en charge, comment ouvrir et gérer un REEE, ce qu'il faut faire avec le compte lorsque l'enfant est adopté ou cesse d'être pris en charge, et comment accéder à l'argent lorsque le jeune s'inscrit à des études postsecondaires. Il comprend également une infographie pour une consultation rapide.



Building Understanding: The First Report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty

In August 2018, the Government of Canada announced Opportunity for All – Canada's First Poverty Reduction Strategy. The Strategy included a commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goal's target of reducing poverty by 20% by 2020 and 50% by 2030. Opportunity for All included the adoption of the Market Basket Measure (MBM) as Canada's Official Poverty Line and the creation of the National Advisory Council on Poverty (Council) to report on progress made toward the poverty reduction targets.

This is the first report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty. It continues Canada's discussion on poverty by bringing forward the voices of individuals with lived expertise of poverty. It details progress toward our poverty targets and recommends improvements to our poverty reduction efforts.



Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy

Canada is a prosperous country, yet in 2015 roughly 1 in 8 Canadians lived in poverty. The vision of Opportunity for All – Canada's First Poverty Reduction Strategy is a Canada without poverty, because we all suffer when our fellow citizens are left behind. We are all in this together, from governments, to community organizations, to the private sector, to all Canadians who are working hard each and every day to provide for themselves and their families.

For the first time in Canada's history, the Strategy sets an official measure of povertyCanada's Official Poverty Line, based on the cost of a basket of goods and services that individuals and families require to meet their basic needs and achieve a modest standard of living in communities across the country.

Opportunity for All sets, for the first time, ambitious and concrete poverty reduction targets: a 20% reduction in poverty by 2020 and a 50% reduction in poverty by 2030, which, relative to 2015 levels, will lead to the lowest poverty rate in Canada's history.

Through Opportunity for All, we are putting in place a National Advisory Council on Poverty to advise the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development on poverty reduction and to publicly report, in each year, on the progress that has been made toward poverty reduction.

The Government also proposes to introduce the first Poverty Reduction Act in Parliament in Canada’s history. This Act would entrench the targets, Canada's Official Poverty Line, and the Advisory Council into legislation.



Canada Learning Bond – Get $500 for your child’s future

This two-page brochure describes the benefits of acting now to receive $500 to help start saving for a child's education after high school. The brochure is also available in the following Indigenous languages:



It pays to plan for a child’s education

This fact sheet from ESDC explains how to open an RESP and access the Canada Learning Bond. 



Evaluation of the Guaranteed Income Supplement

The Old Age Security program is the largest statutory program of the Government of Canada, and consists of the Old Age Security pension, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, and the Allowance. The Guaranteed Income Supplement is provided to low-income seniors aged 65 years and over who receive the Old Age Security pension and are below a low-income cut-off level.

This evaluation examines take-up of the Guaranteed Income Supplement by various socioeconomic groups, the characteristics of those who are eligible for the Supplement but do not receive it, and barriers faced by vulnerable groups.

The Old Age Security program toolkit


The Old Age Security program toolkit – Your complete guide to Canada’s Old Age Security program.

Pre-Budget Tour: The State of the Middle Class

Canada Education Savings Program: Annual Statistical Review – 2013

Canada Education Savings Program (CESP): Summative Evaluation Report