VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Jan. 25, 2016) - The vast majority of Canadians who experience living in low-income, do so for short, transitory periods, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The study, An Introduction to the State of Poverty in Canada, finds that only 1.5 per cent of Canadians were stuck in low-income every year between 2005 and 2010 (latest period of available data). This number is down from the 3.6 per cent of Canadians found to be stuck in low-income during the 1993 to 1998 period.

"The perception that there is a large and growing portion of Canadians trapped in low-income is thankfully not borne out by the data," said Charles Lammam, Fraser Institute director of Fiscal Studies and co-author of the study.

For example, the study finds that more than one-third of the Canadians experiencing low-income in 2009 were no longer in low-income by 2010.

"This more transitory experience with low-income can be the result of unexpected but nonetheless temporary, loss of employment," Lammam said.

The analysis is based on Statistics Canada's Low-Income Cut Off (LICO) measure, which is not specifically a measure of poverty. It does, however, allow for the tracking of people over time, which is critical to assessing the difference between persistent and transitory low-income.

"The policy responses for dealing with persistent versus transitory low-income are markedly different so it's important to understand the nature and causes of people's exposure to low-income," Lammam said.

The study also highlights Statistics Canada research detailing characteristics of people at a higher risk of being persistently stuck in low-income, such as being physically or mentally disabled, belonging to a single parent family, and having less than a high school education.

"If we truly want to help Canadians who are stuck in poverty year after year, we need to better understand the various root causes of persistent poverty," Lammam said.

Decline in the percentage of Canadians in persistent low-income, available time periods

Time period Percentage of population in low-income every year
1993-1998 3.6 per cent
1996-2001 3.4 per cent
1999-2004 2.2 per cent
2002-2007 2.1 per cent
2005-2010 1.5 per cent
For interviews with Mr. Lammam, please contact:
Aanand Radia, Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute
(416) 363-6575 ext. 238

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

Contact Information:

Aanand Radia
Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute
(416) 363-6575 ext. 238