Many Canadians believe poor are 'part of the problem’

Extrait de: Survey finds many Canadians believe poor are 'part of the problem', Shannon Proudfoot, Financial Post, Postmedia News · Mar. 1, 2011

More than half of Canadians think a family of four can get by on $30,000 a year or less, while a similar number believe that if poor people really want to work, “they can always find a job.”

A new Salvation Army report exploring attitudes on poverty in Canada suggests many people believe the poor are “part of the problem” and their decisions led them to poverty, even while most also agree that everyone deserves basic dignity and a helping hand.

“I don’t think Canadians are mean-spirited. I don’t think they are not compassionate,” says Andrew Burditt, spokesman for the Salvation Army in Canada. “Sometimes those of us who don’t have problems are far enough removed from the struggles of everyday life that it’s too easy for us to say, ‘Just get a job.’ ”

Among the findings of the report, released Tuesday to coincide with the launch of the organization’s new campaign, is that 43% of Canadians agree that “a good work ethic is all you need to escape poverty,” while 41% believe the poor would “take advantage” of any assistance given to them and “do nothing.”

Nearly one-quarter of Canadians (23%) say poor people are in that position because they’re lazy, while 28% say the poor have “lower moral values.”

About one in 11 people in Canada live in poverty, the Salvation Army says, and that figure has remained largely unchanged over the last decade.

“It’s not a case of people being lazy,” says Burditt.

“It’s a case of not enough income, lack of access to the training required to get a new job, lack of affordable housing.”

More than half (54%) of Canadians believe a family of four can survive on $30,000 a year or less — including 21% who think $20,000 is enough.

Statistics Canada’s low-income cutoff averages $34,289 for urban communities and $22,783 in rural areas.  

At the same time, the report shows 89% of Canadians agree that people in poverty deserve a helping hand and 81 per cent say helping poor families sets up their children for success. Almost all (96%) agree that everyone deserves a sense of dignity, though just 65% believe being poor robs people of their dignity.

“It’s not a lack of compassion. It’s people that don’t understand that those everyday things that you and I take for granted really do contribute to a sense of self-respect, a sense of self-worth,” says Burditt.

The report was released to coincide with the launch of the Salvation Army’s Dignity Project campaign, which aims to educate the public about the reality of poverty and its “dehumanizing” effects.

Salvation Army Launches the Dignity Project to Educate, Activate Public Support


With this in mind, The Salvation Army has also released a report (embedded below) that finds many Canadians continue to believe persistent myths about poverty and the poor. The study, based on research conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion, is designed to educate and inform the public about the challenges facing society’s most vulnerable people.


The Dignity Project

Canadian's attitude towards the poor

Perceptions of poverty

Most important issue


  1. gravatar

    # by Philippe David - 9 avril 2011 à 07 h 38

    Un petit article qui remet en perspective le débat sur la pauvreté...