According to Statistics Canada, working poor is defined as individuals with an after-tax income below the Low Income Measure (LIM-AT), in 2013 this was $20,933, and earning an annual individual working income of over $3,000. Working income is the total amount of an individual’s income for the year from employment and business, excluding losses.
While the Low Income Measure After Tax (LIM-AT) is used to identify a family to be low income when their household income is below the LIM-AT for their family type and size, regardless of if they are working or not. Working poor is used to provide the number of individuals who are working but are not earning enough to be above the Low Income Measure.
Following the definition provided by the Metcalf Foundation (2015), a member of the working poor is someone who:
- Has an after-tax income below the Low-Income Measure (LIM)
- Has earnings of at least $3,000 a year,
- Is between the ages of 18 and 64,
- Is not a student, and
- Lives independently (i.e., excludes those working-age individuals who live with their parents, grandparents, or other family members)
According to 2013 Taxfiler data, 16,250 (or 7%) of Simcoe Muskoka’s population, 18 to 64 years of age, were considered working poor. 14,250 (or 6%) of Simcoe County’s population, 18 to 64 years of age, were considered working poor. Within District of Muskoka, 2,000 (or 7%) of the total population, 18 to 64 years, were considered working poor. In comparison, about 8% (or just over 483,650) of Ontario’s population, 18 to 64 years of age, were considered working poor. Rates for both Simcoe Muskoka and Ontario have increased slightly since 2010, from 6% for Simcoe Muskoka, and 7% for Ontario.