Measuring Progress

Transparent Reporting on Government's Progress

Market Basket Measure (Canada’s Official Poverty Line) For Child Poverty Rate


Target: To sustain a child poverty rate that is better (lower) than the 2017 level of 9.5 percent

How we are doing now

Using the Market Basket Measure (Canada’s Official Poverty Line), Manitoba’s child poverty rate improved by 31 per cent between 2015 and 2018. Manitoba is no longer the child poverty capital of Canada as it was in 2015. In 2018, there were 12,000 fewer children living in poverty compared to 2015.

Manitoba’s poverty reduction strategy target is to reduce the child poverty rate by 25 per cent by 2025 relative to the 2015 baseline. Manitoba has already surpassed its target. In 2016, the child poverty rate was 27 per cent lower than in 2015; in 2017, it was 42 per cent lower than in 2015; in 2018, it was 31 per cent lower than in 2015. The challenge ahead will be to sustain a lower child poverty rate that is better than the 2017 level of 9.5 per cent over time.

Table 1 summarizes the actual data for this measure:

Data source

The Market Basket Measure is Canada’s official poverty line.

The poverty rate based on the Market Basket Measure is the percentage of the population who cannot afford the cost of a basket of goods and services to achieve a modest standard of living. The basket includes items representing basic needs such as nutritious food, clothing and footwear, transportation, shelter (including electricity, heat and clean water), personal care items, computer/internet, and household supplies.
Statistics Canada currently provides data on the cost of the basket of goods and services for four types of community areas within Manitoba: Winnipeg, Brandon, areas with a population of less than 30,000 and rural Manitoba.

Using the Canadian Income Survey, Statistics Canada calculates and reports on the low-income rates (poverty rates) based on the Market Basket Measure for Canada and provinces.

Statistics Canada releases the low-income rates annually with a two-year lag. The 2018 low-income rates were reported on February 24, 2020.

The low income data reported were based on the current “2008-base” Market Basket Measure data series developed between 2008 and 2010. Statistics Canada is improving its Market Basket Measure methodology to reflect current prices and consumption patterns, as well as better statistical practices. According to Statistics Canada, the Market Basket Measure will transition to a new “2018-base” data series using the improved methodology effective end of June 2020.

How we are doing over time

Between 2015 and 2018, Manitoba’s child poverty rate has decreased. (See above Table 1).

Why This Matters

Supporting children and youth to meet their full potential represents an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty for generations in Manitoba.

Tracking child poverty using Canada’s official poverty line will properly indicate whether our efforts to provide a better quality of life for our children are working.

Next steps

Although Manitoba has well surpassed its poverty reduction strategy target, we our continuing with our work to sustain the momentum towards achieving better outcomes for children and families who need our support.

The Manitoba government has been taking concrete steps to improve the lives of children. Examples include:

  • creating more high-quality child care spaces and keeping child care affordable
  • focusing on keeping families together and implementing child welfare reform
  • helping families to access income supports such as the rent assist shelter benefit
  • supporting Healthy Baby, a two-part program consisting of the Manitoba Prenatal Benefit and Healthy Baby Community Support Programs, providing services to expectant parents and new parents across Manitoba.

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