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Latest updates 06/07/2023

Community Food Centres Canada has released a new report: Sounding the Alarm: The Need to Invest in Working-Age Single Adults. It puts a human face on the staggering levels of poverty and food insecurity experienced by working-age single adults.

In Canada, more than one in five working-age single adults is living in poverty. Yet they receive the lowest amount of government support.

More and more Canadians are also surviving on low-wage, part-time, temporary jobs that lack benefits or stability. This, coupled with outdated and inadequate social support programs designed for a very different labour market, has led to where we are today. With millions of people treading water instead of reaching their full potential. 

Two things are very clear: a job is not a pathway out of poverty, and income support for working age single adults lags far behind other groups.

As one participant from Ontario put it: 

“How are you supposed to get ahead when you're stuck in a cycle like that?…They don't really want you to succeed. They want you to just survive.”

Sounding the Alarm features stories from focus groups we held with single working-age adults across Canada. We heard firsthand the systemic challenges people face on a daily basis. Many noted they felt trapped on social assistance because giving it up for unstable work would mean losing access to important health benefits. Others spoke out about being unable to afford nourishing food or decent housing despite working full-time. 

As one community member plainly explained: “It’s really hard to eat if you’re making minimum wage.” 

The report clearly shows that people just can’t get ahead. We urgently need our government to step up to improve the quality of life of Canadians living on low incomes.

That’s why we are calling on the federal government to create a Canada Working-Age Supplement (CWAS). This refundable tax benefit would establish an income floor for all working-age single adults and provide up to 39 per cent more income for people living in deep poverty.

You can read the full report to learn more about the realities facing many working-age single adults. And our proposed solution that could make an immediate and tangible difference.    

 The work of CFCC's Poverty Action Unit is made possible by support from: 

Macfeeters Fund at the Toronto Community Foundation, Maytree, The George Cedric Metcalf Foundation and McConnell Foundation.

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