Poverty Snapshot in Calgary - Laying Bare Inequities: Covid-19, Gender, Race and Precarious Employment

News Release

15 December 2020

News Release
For immediate release

December 15, 2020, Calgary, AB – 2020 has been a challenging year that has brought inequity in Calgary sharply into focus. COVID-19, the recession and the impact of increasing food prices has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable in our city, as demonstrated by Vibrant Communities Calgary’s 2020 Poverty Snapshot. Our data shows that:

  • Calgary’s overall poverty rate shows no sign of progress. Calgary’s rate of income poverty has risen and fallen over the years, with no clear upwards or downwards trend since 2006.
  • Poverty is more pronounced among single Calgarians.
  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit decreased stress levels among recipients.
  • Calgarians on other forms of social assistance are making less than half of what is required to meet their basic needs.
  • BIPOC Calgarians are over-represented among those negatively impacted by COVID-19.
  • Precarious employment can mean experiencing poverty while employed. Statistics Canada identified the growing gig economy as poorly understood, and a likely area of concern.

“Taking an evidence-based approach that is informed by the voices of lived experience shows us the realities of poverty in our city and the need for urgent, sophisticated systems change,” says VCC Executive Director Meaghon Reid.

Awareness of these inequities and the actions that follow have the power to direct us towards the vision of Enough for All. The nine policy recommendations call for less red tape and align with the modern-day realities of parenthood, gig work, gender dynamics and systemic racism. Recommendations include maintaining the provincial commitment to index AISH and Income Supports, exploring a Basic Income Guarantee for Canada, collecting more data on the gig economy, bringing an equity framework to city planning and neighbourhood investment, among others. See the full report and list of policy recommendations here.

“Poverty is complex, but Enough for All is a roadmap for changes that will benefit all Calgarians,” says Reid. “I’m hopeful that we can re-evaluate our various approaches and collaborate in ways that lead to meaningful change and ultimately significantly reduce poverty in Calgary.”


For more information, please contact:

Jaclyn Silbernagel, Communications and Engagement Specialist
Vibrant Communities Calgary
Phone: 403-283-2193