Here are the numbers: according to updated data on the national poverty line (the Market Basket Measure) there are currently more than 189,000 Calgarians living below the poverty line. That’s over 12 per cent of people in our city who cannot meet their basic needs, and that’s before the pandemic started.

Early indications from the Canadian Poverty Institute show that poverty is on the rise. In Calgary, managing an economic downturn and a pandemic this year has left thousands more on the cusp of poverty.

“We know that poverty isn’t just about income,” says Meaghon Reid, Executive Director of Vibrant Communities Calgary. “As we fiscally reckon with our new reality it is vital that we commit to investing in our community through poverty reduction work. COVID-19 has presented us with a lot of harsh challenges, but it’s also presented us with an opportunity to accelerate our poverty reduction strategy.”