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With the cost of gas on schedule to reach the two-dollar mark as predicted by some analysts it's becoming increasingly important to understand the buzzwords being used now to describe poverty and the working poor. For all you know, you may already be or will soon become one of those statistics.
On and on we hear of Statistics Canada's low income cut-offs, or the poverty line, and yet no one steps up to tell Canadians precisely what this line is. True to our Canadian reputation we're just too nice to come out and tell someone they are poor. Ignorance is bliss, perhaps, but the Canadian Council of Social Development does provide the following explanation of Statistics Canada's poverty line formula, which was created in 1968: "Families that spend more than 70 per cent of their income on essentials would have little or no income left to spend on transportation, health, personal care, education, household operation, recreation or insurance."
There is no fixed income level to determine who lives below the poverty line. It is a case-by-case situation. If you live pay cheque to pay cheque it is safe to say you've been dancing on the poverty line. If a car breakdown, broken window or chest cold throws you're budget into jeopardy then you have definitely been living below the poverty line.
There's a sense that government should step up with a solution to foster a better quality of life for its people and remove them from the poverty line and, perhaps, there's some truth to that. That is only one part of the solution. Canadians are chasing the same dollar. As the cost of gas rises and the cost of essentials also rise we are trying to save the same dollar we sought when prices were more seemingly stable. Unfortunately, that dollar savings hasn't been subjected to the same inflation as everything else while middle class wages and salaries have been tugging at the status quo for more than two decades.
Without a doubt in the coming years there will be a labour shortage on the heels of the retiring baby boomer generation. It is also the responsibility of the labour force to sit at the same table of government and dialogue solutions to reinforce the work force now so we have a vibrant future and the resources when we need them.

Organizations: Statistics Canada, Canadian Council of Social Development

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