Imagining a Future: One in Six Ontarians Most Affected by Poverty


Children and Families

  • One in six children — roughly 478,480 — lives in poverty and that poverty is more severe than was the case in the early 1990s. Most of these children live in poverty for two to six years.
  • 132,000 children, who are 40 per cent of users, rely on a food bank each month.
  • In 2004 38 per cent of children lived in “working poor” families, up from 17 per cent in 1995.
  • Two in every five children living in low-income families have a parent working full-time, year round.


  • According to the 2001 census, in Ontario 47 per cent of children in new immigrant families and 32 per cent of children in racialized families are considered “poor,” an increase of 60 per cent over the past 20 years.

  Single Parents

  • The average low-income, single-parent family lives $9,500 below the poverty line.
  • The majority — 54.6 per cent — of children living in low-income, single-parent families live with their mother.
  • Women and youth account for 83 per cent of Canada’s minimum wage workers.

  Aboriginal Peoples

  • 70 per cent of Ontario’s Aboriginal population lives off-reserve. One-third of off-reserve aboriginal children live in poverty.
  • Many Aboriginal students do not complete high school: 42 per cent of aboriginal people aged 15 years and over have less than a high school diploma. only six per cent have completed a university degree.

  People with Disabilities

  • Ontario’s Disability Support Program (ODSP) pays a single person with a disability a maximum of $930 per month.
  • The poverty rate for children with disabilities is 26 per cent.
  • Women with disabilities who are parents are more likely to be single parents than women without disabilities.
  • Women with disabilities earn less than men with disabilities and are more likely to experience interruptions in employment and have concerns over retaining coverage for medical necessities.

  Notes 1.  Campaign 2000. Child Poverty in Ontario Promises  tKeep,  2006 Report Card on Child Poverty in Ontario. 2.  The Canadian Fact Book on Poverty, by David P. Ross, Katherine J. Scott and Peter J. Smith, Canadian Council on Social Development, 2000.3.  Bringing Down the Barriers: The Labour Marke and Women  with Disabilities  in Ontario, by Gail Fawcell, Canadian Council on Social Development, 2000.4.  Colour of Poverty. Fact Sheet, 2007.5.  Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement  of Women.  Fact Sheet, 2005.6.  Aboriginal Education Policy Framework. Ontario Ministry of Education, 2006.