What about Poverty in Canada?


26 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-7713-0107-3




Reviewed by Raj S. Gandhi

Raj S. Gandhi is a professor of sociology at the University of Calgary.


As the title of the booklet makes us aware, we are not looking at poverty in Asia or Africa, but right in our own country, Canada. Statistics for 1979 show that over 1.5 million households (excluding 210,000 Indians living on reserves) fall below the poverty line. The majority of the poor are unemployed; elderly people are over-represented in the poverty group and the number of poor families headed by women is steadily increasing. Forty-five percent of all poor persons living alone are over 65.

In most cities, the poor are physically isolated, away from the comfortable residential areas, and in rural areas they are hidden on back roads. Schlesinger examines many reasons for poverty, but the main ones to my mind are underemployment, underpayment, and inability to find work, though qualified for it. The problem of poverty is clearly brought into focus through the careful examination of case histories. Poverty in the midst of affluence is an anathema. It is presented more as a social problem than as an outcome of inequality in a capitalist society. But the book succeeds in exposing the problem.


Schlesinger, Benjamin, “What about Poverty in Canada?,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/38902.