In 2019 in Saskatchewan, 136 thousand of the 1.1 million people were poor, up from 123 thousand poor in 2016. After yearly ups and downs, the poverty rate rose from 11.2 per cent in 2018 to 12.4 per cent in 2019. The poverty gap of 38 per cent means that for persons in poverty, average income was 38 per cent below the Official Poverty Line (OPL).
These statistics are from the newly released report Poverty in Saskatchewan – 2019 (See https://povertyfreesask.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/skp2019.pdf ) This report summarizes 2016 to 2019 Saskatchewan poverty trends and patterns using the OPL based on Statistics Canada data released in March 2021.
The highest poverty rates were among children under the age of 18 in female lone-parent families and persons aged 18 to 64 not living in families. The report also highlighted high poverty rates among Indigenous persons, recent immigrants, visible minority persons, and persons with disabilities.
The statistics also show that poverty reduction in Saskatchewan lags behind other provinces.
These data refer to the period before the COVID-19 crisis – developments in 2020 are not reflected.
A periodic report on poverty in Saskatchewan
High poverty rates and deep poverty among Saskatchewan adults not living in families.
Among Saskatchewan adults aged 18-64 who live alone, poverty is especially great.
The 2018 Official Poverty Rate for Saskatchewan was 11.2 per cent but among non-elderly adults who were not living in families, the rate was over triple that, at 36 per cent.
While only 11 per cent of the province’s non-elderly live alone, this group accounts for 36 per cent of all poor persons in Saskatchewan.
The average income of these non-elderly non-family poor persons was approximately $11,800 in 2018, only 55 per cent of the Official Poverty threshold that averaged $21,400 across the province.
This deep poverty meant that these poor adults had incomes only one-third of the median income of all non-elderly adults living alone. For those receiving the average $8,800 social assistance rate for single employable persons, the gap was even greater.
Income estimates from Statistics Canada and maytree.com
See PDF of sk poverty dashboard – 3
Statistics Canada data come from Tables 11-10-0135-01, 11-10-0190-01, and 11-10-0066-01. Poverty thresholds differ by region of Saskatchewan – averages presented here are regional averages weighted by population size of region. Social assistance data come from pp. 74-79 of Welfare in Canada, available for download at https://maytree.com/welfare-in-canada/. For more information on the Official Poverty Line see https://povertyfreesask.ca/sask-poverty-dashboard-1/.
Poverty Free Saskatchewan, January 2021
A periodic report on poverty in Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan income security programs for those with low income are much too low to enable recipients to escape poverty.
In 2019, a single employable Saskatchewan Assistance Plan (SAP) recipient received $8,829 in SAP and tax credits. The poverty line for a single person living in Saskatoon was $23,190 meaning a SAP recipient received only 38 per cent of this.
A single person receiving the higher Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) rate received only 68 per cent of the income necessary to meet the poverty line.
All income security recipients in the three groups in the diagram, (see PDF) as well as a couple with two children, received well under 75 per cent of the income required to lift them out of poverty, meaning all were in what Statistics Canada defines as deep poverty.
Saskatchewan income security rates compared with Canada’s Official Poverty Line, 2019
See the PDF here Sask Poverty Dashboard – 2
These data come from Jennefer Laidley and Hannah Aldridge, Welfare in Canada, 2019, pp. 74-79, November 2020. This Maytree publication is available for download at https://maytree.com/welfare-in-canada/. For more information on the Official Poverty Line see https://povertyfreesask.ca/sask-poverty-dashboard-1/. The 2019 poverty threshold for a single parent with one child and living in Saskatoon is $32,795.
Poverty Free Saskatchewan, January 2021
An on-line petition has been set up. Please sign it as well as the paper petition. If it gets lots of signatures it will put additional pressure on the government to reverse the CERB clawbacks. It is, however, not a replacement for the paper petition, which is the only one that will get read out in the Legislature. http://chng.it/PKZLP9JN
A petition submitted in the Saskatchewan Legislature has to be a paper petition, written in the correct format, and personally signed. (The federal government does allow online petitions to be submitted in Parliament).
The petition calling for reversal of the CERB clawbacks was read in the Legislature on Wednesday, by NDP Social Services Critic Meara Conway. The petition readings start at 1:30 pm on the timer on the bottom of the screen and it is the second petition read (at about 1:31pm). http://csg001-harm01.canadacentral.cloudapp.azure.com/00298/Harmony/en/PowerBrowser/PowerBrowserV2/20201209/-1/8715?viewmode=3
The petition was also covered in the Leader-Post, earlier in the week: Petition launched to reverse Sask.’s CERB clawback https://leaderpost.com/news/local-news/petition-launched-to-reverse-sask-s-cerb-clawback
Also, writing a letter or sending a personal email really shows strong interest to politicians.
A Message from End Poverty Regina, Dec. 7, 2020.
Regina’s Anti-Poverty Ministry and End Poverty Regina are sponsoring a petition calling on the provincial government to stop the CERB claw backs.
Time is of the essence. Petitions will be read out in the Legislature and next week is the last week the Legislature will be sitting before Christmas.
We will, however, keep collecting signatures over the holiday season in preparation for the 2021 session of the Legislature.
Copy of the petition PETITION-GOVERNMENT-OF-SASK-CERB-CLAW-BACKS
Information on where to send the petition Information on Petition on CERB clawbacks
A periodic report on poverty in Saskatchewan
New poverty line thresholds
In September, Statistics Canada revised the Official Poverty Line (OPL) for Canada, placing the threshold for a family of four in Regina at $44,833 annual income; for a person living alone it is one-half that, or $22,416. Those living in households with annual incomes below these levels are in poverty. The revised poverty thresholds are based on 2018 spending patterns and costs and differ by area of the province and household size. For a family of four the threshold is approximately seven thousand dollars greater than before the revision, with increased shelter costs accounting for the largest part of the increase.
How many persons in Saskatchewan are in poverty?
The number of persons in poverty in Saskatchewan in 2018 was 122 thousand, over 25 per cent more than the 96 thousand reported before the revision. This means that in 2018, 11.2 per cent of Saskatchewan residents had incomes below the revised OPL, instead of the 8.8 per cent reported earlier. These data do not include information for the 50 thousand plus persons living on reserves in Saskatchewan, where incomes are especially low.
Data come from Statistics Canada. Poverty thresholds are in Table 11-10-0066-01 at https://doi.org/10.25318/1110006601-eng and the number in poverty come from Table 11-10-0135-01 at https://doi.org/10.25318/1110013501-eng.
November 30, 2020
Downloadable PDF Sask Poverty Dashboard – 1
SaskForward has created this video of a compelling vision for Saskatchewan’s future.
A Message from Saskatchewan’s Future
Poverty continues to be a major problem in Saskatchewan. Recently revised Statistics Canada data show that the number of persons in poverty in Saskatchewan in 2018 was 122 thousand, 11.2 percent of the population. And these figures date from before the pandemic – in 2020 more residents of the province are likely to live in poverty.
In 2018 there were 28 thousand children in poverty in the province.
The poverty threshold for a family of four in Regina was $44,833; for a person living alone it was $22,416. Living below this line were:
- 48 per cent of children in female lone-parent families
- 36 per cent of persons aged 18-64 not living in families
- 4.6 percent of seniors aged 65 plus
While updated data do not include information for the fifty thousand plus persons living on reserves, incomes are especially low among the Indigenous population of the province.
For more information see http://uregina.ca/~gingrich/skp2018r.pdf
PFS strongly recommends the creation of a provincial anti-poverty act. Such an Act should aim to eliminate poverty, providing income security, adequate housing, health care investments and affordable child care for all persons and families in Saskatchewan. The Act would be developed in consultation with all sectors of the community, centering on people experiencing poverty, and have independent overview of its implementation.
Since 2015 the Saskatchewan government has cut or reduced programs for those with low incomes. PFS has outlined these in documents about the provincial budgets – most recently in 2020. (See https://povertyfreesask.ca/reports-and-initiatives/budget-2020-appalling-frugality )
Concrete steps that should be taken by the Saskatchewan Government are:
- Reverse the five years of continuous cutbacks to benefits that have resulted from the provincial government’s actions.
- Increase the basic allowance of all the department’s income assistance programs by $300 per month.
- Reverse the claw back of the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments for those receiving provincial income assistance.
- Top up the Canada Child Benefit by providing an additional $1,000 per year for each child for families with children under age 18.
- Increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
- Allocate a significant portion of the provincial government’s $200 million pandemic plan to address the effects of COVID-19 on mental health, drug addiction, HIV prevention services, housing, and preK-12 education and training systems.
Today, October 17, is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The need for immediate action to address poverty cannot be ignored.
With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become apparent that governments in Saskatchewan, Canada and internationally have a responsibility to address the needs of people living with low income.
As a signatory to the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Canada and Saskatchewan are obligated to uphold its recommendations.
United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Concluding Observations on Canada (March 23,2016)
The following recommendations are from the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’ observations on the sixth periodic report on Canada’s implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
“The Committee recommends the following actions to reduce poverty:
- Considering the advanced level of development of the State Party (Government of Canada), the Committee is concerned about the significant number of people living in poverty. It is further concerned that indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, single mothers, as well as minority groups continue to experience higher rates of poverty and at the limited effectiveness of measures taken to address this (article 11)
- The Committee recommends that the State party take all necessary measures to combat poverty more effectively while paying particular attention to groups and individuals that are more vulnerable to poverty. The Committee recommends that the State party in collaboration with provinces, territories, and indigenous peoples and in consultation with civil society organizations, implement a human rights-based national anti-poverty strategy, which includes measureable goals and timelines as well as independent monitoring mechanisms. The Committee further recommends that the State party ensure that provinces and territories’ anti-poverty policies are human rights-based and aligned with the national strategy.”