Among the most important facts to know about poverty is that almost all poor people work. But the employers for whom they work, constituting a huge portion of the total economy, do not pay them enough to get by, forcing them to choose between making next month’s rent or replacing the clothes their children have grown out of.

In 2014, the latest year for which statistics are available, Ottawa reported that the income of an estimated 4.5 million Canadians – about 13 per cent of the total population, or more than one in 10 Canadians – falls below the government’s “low income measure,” the broadest definition of poverty. (Unlike the U.S., which has a schedule of official poverty rates, Canada calculates poverty using income thresholds.)