OTTAWA - Individuals living alone without family ties form a new growing risk-group for poverty, says a new study by Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) released Oct. 17.

At a news conference, CPJ executive director Joe Gunn blamed the rise of “precarious employment” for the growing risk to unattached working individuals of falling into poverty. Don’t believe the line that simply getting a job will get one out of poverty, he said.

“It has to be a good job,” he said.

“Working-age individuals living on their own are now much more likely to be poor than individuals living in family situations,” says CPJ’s Poverty Trends Scorecard—Canada 2012, released to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

The study shows poverty among households with two or more workers accounted for a “shocking” 12 per cent of Canada’s poor. Households with one worker make up 39.1 per cent of Canada’s poor.

“Inadequate income support programs for working-age individuals and families ensure a life of poverty for almost one million Canadians,” the study says.

The study also identifies young adults as “more likely to be poor today than they were three decades ago,” noting fewer young people are working in 2012 than at the peak of the 2008-2009 recession.

Other groups that face higher risk of poverty and the likelihood of long-term poverty are aboriginal peoples, recent immigrants, the disabled and “racialized communities,” the study says.

The study shows the higher poverty levels caused by the recent recession were largely overcome by 2010, though Alberta and British Columbia have not fully recovered.

Not all the news is bad, Gunn pointed out. The study shows that over the past 15 years, Canada has seen a decline in overall poverty rates, “especially among children and seniors.” Gunn said this result shows government support programs can work to reduce poverty.

CPJ reported progress in reducing poverty in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and Quebec.
“Poverty among lone-parent families has fallen as women’s position in the labour market has improved, and their average duration of poverty has decreased,” the study says.
Supports for working age and unattached people have “weakened” since the 1990s, the study says.
“Lack of support is a critical issue with the loss of middle-income jobs in Canada.”
Gunn said the House of Commons has pledged twice to overcome poverty and the House HUMA committee developed a plan that still needs to be implemented. That it has not been shows “a failure of our commitment to show we are here for the common good of all.”

Published in Canada