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Metcalf Foundation releases 2015 report on Working Poverty

The Metcalf Foundation is pleased to release a new report The Working Poor in the Toronto Region: Mapping working poverty in Canada's richest city. Written by Metcalf Innovation Fellow John Stapleton, the report examines the years 2006 to 2012 using tax-filing data collected by the Canada Revenue Agency.

The report concludes that Toronto's working poverty continued to creep upward from 2006 to 2012. In the City of Toronto working poverty increased from 9.9% to 10.7% of the working-age population. In the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) it increased from 8.2% to 9.1% — the highest incidence of working poverty among the ten largest CMAs in Canada. Toronto, by most measures the wealthiest city in Canada, now has the distinction of also being the country's working poverty capital.

Other findings include:

  • the rate of working poverty grew in Markham by 26%, in Brampton by 22%, and in Richmond Hill by 21%;
  • between Highway 401 and Steeles Avenue only one census track showed a reduction in working poverty while over 40 showed increases; and
  • North York and Scarborough have the highest levels of working poverty whereas the area south of the Bloor-Danforth corridor showed more than 15 census tracts with reduced working poverty and only four with increases.

The report confirms the "Manhattanization" of Toronto, wherein for the first time the core of the city is experiencing a decline in the proportion of residents who are working poor, and the inner and outer suburbs are experiencing significant increases.

The Working Poor in the Toronto Region: Mapping working poverty in Canada's richest city continues an examination of working poverty first reported in Stapleton's 2012 report. Although this report reveals that the rate of increase of working poverty has moderated since the first five years of the new millennium, Stapleton identifies reasons why Toronto's almost 11% increase is both perplexing and disturbing. Minimum wage increased 37.6%, three new income supplements were introduced, and employment rates decreased by 2.7%. That the increase in working poverty took place at the same time as incomes were increasing and employment figures were declining magnifies the significance of this growth.

The Foundation hopes this report will help efforts to respond to the needs of the working poor in the Toronto Region, including strategies to ensure affordable housing, accessible public transit, and a labour market that can provide good, stable jobs among low-wage earners.

To obtain a copy the report and view media coverage, please click here.

Metcalf Foundation will be hosting a webinar about the report on Wednesday, April 29th at 2:30 pm. To register, please go to: http://stapleton-working-poor-report-2015.eventbrite.ca

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