Media Release

Poverty in the Midst of COVID-19

Ontario Campaign 2000 releases its annual report on child and family poverty, Poverty in the Midst of COVID-19: A report card on child and family poverty in Ontario in 2020, authored by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Ontario.

This year’s report card examines the correlation between lowered child and family poverty rates in 2020 and COVID-related assistance. The number of children in poverty in Ontario fell from 498,600 to 377,040 between 2019-2020, largely as a result of temporary federal assistance. 

This report examines some of the critical factors that contribute to heightened levels of poverty and underscores the need for immediate action and sustainable support for low-income and marginalized communities. They include:

  • Provincial social assistance rates that keep individuals and families in deep poverty
  • Low minimum-wage rates that keep full-time workers below the poverty line
  • Disproportionately higher poverty rates among Indigenous and racialized communities 
  • Higher poverty rates among lone-parent families, particularly those led by women

It is a critical moment in the history of this province to tackle poverty. We know that Ontario is capable of building an effective social safety net and providing children and their families with the economic security they need. The pandemic has shown that governments can do big things much more quickly than we ever thought—if they decide to.  

Want to read more? 
English Ontario Report Card, Interactive Maps of Child Poverty in Ontario, Press Release in English and in French  

Poverty in the Midst of Plenty

Ontario Campaign 2000 released the 2021 Report on Child and Family Poverty in Ontario Poverty in the Midst of Plenty. The report was produced in cooperation with Campaign 2000, a national coalition of 120 organizations devoted to ending child and family poverty, and it calls on governments to treat poverty reduction as an urgent priority.

While Ontario is a wealthy province in a wealthy country, the child poverty remains a pressing social concern in every community. The report shows that in 2019, the most recent year for which data are available, one in six children across the province lived with the day-to-day reality of never having enough. Half a million children still lived in poverty in 2019 despite recent progress which brought the child poverty rate from 23.4% in 2013 to 17.6% in 2019.

View the interactive map of Canada showing child poverty rates by federal riding.
Read: Poverty in the Midst of Plenty: 2021 English Ontario Report Card and Press Release;
French versions: La pauvreté au cœr de l’abondance and Press Release

Ontario Child Poverty Snapshot Released

Today, Ontario Campaign 2000 releases its December 2020 on child poverty, an update to the Campaign’s full April 2020 report on child poverty “April 2020 report on child poverty”:, and a companion piece to Campaign 2000’s newly released Report on Child Poverty “Beyond the Pandemic: Rising Up for a Canada Free of Poverty”.

The December 2020 Update on child poverty rates is based on the latest comprehensive data (2018) and includes:

  • New data on child poverty rates for children in Ontario, both under 18 and under 6 rates
  • New numbers on the depth of poverty and the poverty gap for different family types
  • Rate of impact that government transfers such as the Canada Child Benefit and Ontario Child Benefit have on reducing poverty rates in Ontario

The December 2020 Update also highlights the slowing of the downward trend in child poverty rates and notes higher rates of poverty for children belonging to marginalized groups, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children, and children in female-led lone parent households. The Update raises the alarm on how many children living in poverty are being left out of the count, based on the Canadian and Ontario governments’ poverty measurement choices.

Even before the pandemic hit, the data has shown that the rate of reduction in Ontario has slowed. As families struggle through the pandemic to make ends meet, child poverty rates will likely be impacted. Pandemic or not, fragile, incremental gains in the reduction of poverty are not sufficient to achieve the goal of ending poverty for all children and families in Ontario.

Child and family poverty is not inevitable – it is created, enforced, and entrenched through systemic discrimination, poor policy design, funding choices, and political inaction. In order to put an end to child and family poverty for this generation and generations to come, Ontario Campaign 2000 recommends actively working towards ending systemic discrimination; improving labour standards, income security, childcare, and housing policy; and ensuring equitable access to pandemic-related supports. There is no time to lose.

Access the December 2020 Update

Make Child & Family Poverty History

Ontario Campaign 2000 released its most recent report on child poverty today, designed to provide the Ontario government with policy recommendations for the next iteration of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.  The most striking finding in the report shows that Ontario children face higher rates of poverty now than they did 30 years ago, when the federal all-party resolution to end child poverty by the year 2000 was signed.

The report entitled “Make Child and Family Poverty History: A Vision for Ontario’s Next Poverty Reduction Strategy” finds that 1 in 5 (18.7 per cent) of children under 18 live in poverty, and 1 in 5 children (20.2%) of children under 6 live in poverty in the province, with higher rates experienced by children who are Indigenous, racialized, recent immigrants, and in female-led lone parent families. Read our full press release here.

Ontario Campaign 2000 urges the government to focus on much needed policy changes and targeted investments designed to eradicate child and family poverty while developing the next Poverty Reduction Strategy. These include addressing inequities faced by marginalized groups; supporting vulnerable workers through increased worker protections and minimum wage; ensuring provision of public, high quality child care; and increasing the rates for social assistance and the Ontario Child Benefit.

Read the report in English or French.

Poverty hurts Children and Families: All Ontario Children Deserve a Strong Beginning

Today on National Child Day, Ontario Campaign 2000 renews the call for ending child and family poverty to be a top priority for the Ontario government. There is no time to spare because the impact of poverty on children is the greatest, affecting both their physical and mental health. Although there was a slight 1.6% drop in the child poverty rate from 2015 to 2016, one in five children (544,710) under the age of 18 still lives in poverty in Ontario – this is unacceptable. With the recent changes announced by the Ontario government concerning social assistance, labour law rollbacks, and closing of the Ontario Child Advocate office, it is a difficult time for children and families who live in or are on the brink of poverty.

Ontario Child Poverty Infographics & Media Release, November 2018

Please click on the Media Release and five infographics listed below:

Ontario Campaign 2000 Media Release, Nov. 2018

Poverty Hurts Ontario

Income Security

Workers’ Rights

Universal Childcare

Affordable Housing

Reference List

OntC2000 Responds to Social Assistance Changes

Ontario Campaign 2000 is deeply troubled by the Ontario government’s announcements regarding the social assistance system. Yesterday’s announcements deepen the instability, uncertainly and poverty suffered by low-income families in Ontario.

Citing ‘compassionate grounds’, government will roll back a planned 3% increase to social assistance rates to only 1.5%. Despite committing during the election campaign to continue the Basic Income Pilot, the pilot was cancelled. Important regulatory changes slated to take effect in the fall and meant to improve the lives of recipients of social assistance have also been lost. Government now plans to undertake a review of both Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program (OW and ODSP) in the next one hundred days. No detail was provided about how recipients and others familiar with the system will be involved in order to improve recipients’ lives and ensure dignity.

Read our response.

The Results are In: How will the Parties address Child Poverty?

Posted on

In early May, Ontario Campaign 2000 sent an #OntarioElection2018 questionnaire on child and family poverty to all Ontario parties. The Green Party, Liberal Party and NDP all responded. The Ontario PC party did not respond.

We asked the parties to outline their plan to address urgent issues that matter to low income families and to building a fair and prosperous Ontario:  income security, child care, housing, decent work, health care and more.  Read the summary of the parties’ answers here.

You can also read the parties’ full responses to our questionnaire:

Green Party Response

Liberal Party Cover letter and Response

Ontario NDP Response

Please share this post and other election materials widely! We have a useful election resource kit and shareable infographics to help you ask your candidates about poverty.

Budget 2018 makes transformational child care investment

Budget 2018 makes important strides to fill gaps in services and affordability faced by low income children and families, according to Ontario Campaign 2000. The proposed budget will support low income families today and in the long term with game-changing investments in child care and expanded access to loans and grants for post-secondary education.  The coalition is disappointed that the incomes of people in receipt of social assistance are only modestly improved with a 3% increase in rates annually over three years and that the Poverty Reduction Strategy received no new funding.

“For families struggling to secure affordable, quality, licensed child care, the provision of free child care for children from 2.5 to 4 years old starting in 2020 will be transformational,” says Anita Khanna, Campaign 2000’s national coordinator. “Low income families will finally enjoy barrier-free childcare, they will be able to enjoy the benefits of early learning for children while parents are enabled to return to work or upgrade their education.”

Read the full budget response. Download infographic.

Ending Child & Family Poverty is Not Negotiable

Ontario Campaign 2000 releases its 2017 annual Report on Child and Family Poverty on Tuesday November 21 at Queen’s Park in Toronto. Ending poverty for Ontario’s children and families must be a key platform for all political parties heading into next spring’s provincial election.

The report calls on all parties to provide concrete poverty reduction initiatives within their 2018 platforms and outlines a comprehensive plan for eliminating child and family poverty across the province. The report entitled “Ending Child and Family Poverty Is Not Negotiable: Building Stronger Foundations for Ontario Families” states that one in six (17.2 per cent) of children under 18 live in poverty in the province, with higher rates experienced by children who are Indigenous, racialized, recent immigrants and for female lone parent families. Read our media release in full in English or French.

On the same day, Campaign 2000 releases its national report card along with report cards from several Campaign 2000 provincial partners in Vancouver, British Columbia; Regina, Saskatchewan; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; and Charlottetown, Prince Edwards Island.

The press release, infographic and new report cards can be found in the links below.

Ontario Report Card on Child and Family Poverty, 2017, in English and French
Press release in English and French
Ontario Campaign 2000 Infographic.

Report Card 2017 Media Advisory

Ontario Campaign 2000 will release its annual provincial Report Card on Child and Family Poverty on Tuesday November 21, 2017, in Toronto. The report Ending Child and Family Poverty Is Not Negotiable: Building Stronger Foundations for Ontario Families, will be launched at a press conference at Queen’s Park, Media Studio at 1pm.

Campaign 2000 national and partners in several provinces will also release their annual report cards on the same day. The national report card launch will take place in Ottawa.

Read media advisory in English and French.