Income poverty reduced to 6.9% in Calgary – A snapshot of poverty in Calgary in 2019

Media Release 

Calgary, AB, August 15, 2019 – In a new report by Vibrant Communities Calgary (“VCC”), A snapshot of poverty in Calgary 2019, states that there has been a reduction in the incidence of low income in Calgary from 2015 to 2017, moving down from 9.8 per cent to 6.9 per cent. The report builds on the 2018 report “Poverty in Calgary: A picture on the incidence and experience of low income in Calgary and area,” using additional sources of information including the Enough for All evaluation for 2018, Enough for All 2.0, and Opportunity for All: Canada’s National Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Due to some significant and largely positive changes in social policy, and a refreshed Enough for All strategy, the report is a statistical collation of the incidence of low income in Calgary and area for 2019.

“Doing our own research, taking a deeper dive into income poverty at the local level, and sharing that information with Enough for All stakeholders is essential to our role as stewards of the strategy,” says Lee Stevens, Community Engagement Specialist & Public Policy Coordinator with Vibrant Communities Calgary.  “We have to be evidence-informed in our own decision-making, and we expect government to do the same,” says Franco Savoia, Executive Director at VCC.

Highlights from the snapshot report:

  • The prevalence of income poverty has decreased. When applying the Market Basket Measure, to the incidence of low income in Calgary there has been a reduction between 2015 and 2017, moving down from 9.8 per cent to 6.9 per cent.  It’s worth noting this report did not explore any changes in deep income poverty so it is unclear if this is also trending downwards.
  • Canada has an official poverty line. With the release of the Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy “Opportunity for All,” the federal government has announced that the Market Basket Measure will be the single measure applied for measuring and reporting on income poverty moving forward.  The establishment of a single ‘poverty line’ is expected to create alignment across municipalities, provinces and territories.
  • The minimum wage is infinitely closer to the living wage. The gap between Calgary’s living wage of $16.45 per hour and the provincial minimum wage which is set at $15.00 per hour is at a historical low of only 8 per cent.
  • Social assistance incomes continue to fall short of the poverty line. Despite a recent increase, benefit levels for Income Support still only come to about 50 per cent of the poverty line.

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About Vibrant Communities Calgary:

Vibrant Communities Calgary (VCC) is a non-profit organization that works collaboratively with various stakeholders, seeking to engage Calgarians to advocate for long-term strategies that address the root causes of poverty in Calgary. VCC is also the steward of Enough for All, Calgary’s poverty reduction strategy. For more information, please visit and

About Enough for All:

Enough for All, Calgary’s community-driven poverty reduction strategy was adopted unanimously by City Council and the United Way of Calgary and Area’s Board of Directors in 2013. In 2014, Vibrant Communities Calgary was appointed as the steward of the strategy. There are 20 collaboratives working on the four goals of the Enough for All Strategy. For more information, please visit Organizations and individuals are welcome to contact Vibrant Communities Calgary to get involved. Email

For more information, please contact:

Stephanie Rosch
Communications and Engagement Specialist
Vibrant Communities Calgary
p) 403-283-2193

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