In Canada today, paid work is no guarantee of an adequate family income. Some jobs can be insecure or seasonal, while other jobs can be stable but have low wages. The working poor are people who are working and depend on wages rather than social assistance, but do not have an above-poverty-line income.
In 2015, the low-income cut off (LICO), or poverty line, was $23,861.
The working poor face challenges relating to paying their rent and monthly bills, finding affordable child care, managing work-related costs such as transportation and clothing, paying for prescription drugs, and being able to pay for extra-curricular activities for their children. Having a one-parent family, having a disability, or generally having one source or no source of income can exacerbate these issues.
For Christians, reducing poverty is an important part of the biblical call to do justice. The Bible speaks often of God’s concern for the poor and oppressed. Poverty undermines the dignity of human beings created in the image of God. This is a significant challenge to Christians to engage in working for a society that reflects God’s vision: a society in which all people can flourish and fulfill their callings, contributing to the common good.
Diaconal Ministries Canada encourages a comprehensive community ministry model that incorporates justice and advocacy into actions addressing poverty and the working poor.
- Single & Parenting, a Christian website dedicated to fostering support for single parents through online forums, small groups, and seminars.
- Citizens for Public Justice’s Poverty in Canada webpage, which offers both research and resources on how to address poverty from a Christian perspective.
- Dignity for All, a national campaign aimed at eliminating poverty in Canada.
Other Online Resources (vlogs, blogs, documentaries, etc.)
- Living Wage Canada, a website that advocates for a living wage over a minimum wage for Canadians.
- Vibrant Communities Canada, a learning community of members who share a common interest in reducing poverty, community engagement and collaboration in Canada.
- Home for Hope, the blog of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, offers excellent insights into how communities view and respond to homelessness and poverty.
Books (with links to Amazon.ca)
- The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne
- UnPoverty: Rich Lessons from the Working Poor by Mark Lutz
- Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission by Christopher L. Heuertz and Christine D. Pohl
- Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity by Jen Hatmaker