Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds

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534 pages
6.75 x 9.75 inches
August 2020
Print ISBN: 9781773381923


Now in its third edition, this comprehensive text provides a unique, interdisciplinary perspective on poverty and its impact on the health and quality of life of Canadians. Considering a broad range of topics, Dennis Raphael covers the central issues of defining and measuring poverty; situational and societal causes of poverty; health and social implications for individuals, communities, and society as a whole; and the means of reducing poverty’s incidence and responding to its effects. This volume will foster greater insight into the repercussions of poverty throughout society, encouraging readers to reflect on provocative questions at the end of each chapter.

Well updated to reflect current statistics and recent public policy changes, this new edition puts emphasis on the lived experiences of poverty. Poverty in Canada considers a range of issues that will be of great value to a variety of audiences, including those studying or working in health studies, social work, sociology, and equity studies.


  • expands on the analysis of why specific groups of Canadians are over-represented amongst those living in poverty, including Indigenous people, people of colour, and recent immigrants
  • includes extensive lists of resources in each chapter
  • features a section on the experience of poverty, touching on pathways to poverty, lived experiences, and interactions with the social assistance and health care system

Related Titles

Table of Contents

Foreword to the Third Edition, Cathy Crowe
Foreword to the Second Edition, Rob Rainer
Foreword to the First Edition, Jack Layton


Chapter One: Poverty and the Canadian Welfare State
Chapter Two: Canadian Perspectives on Poverty
Chapter Three: Who Is Poor in Canada?
Chapter Four: Making Sense of Poverty: Social Inequality and Social Exclusion


Chapter Five: Pathways to Poverty
Chapter Six: The Lived Experience of Poverty
Chapter Seven: Interactions with the Social Service and Health Care Systems


Chapter Eight: Poverty and Health
Chapter Nine: Poverty and Health: Mechanisms and Pathways
Chapter Ten: Poverty and Quality of Life


Chapter Eleven: The Politics of Poverty
Chapter Twelve: Anti-Poverty Strategies and Programs
Chapter Thirteen: Canadian Public Policy and Poverty in International Perspective
Chapter Fourteen: Poverty and the Future of the Canadian Welfare State

Epilogue: Poverty in Canada and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Copyright Acknowledgements


“I teach an undergraduate university course on public policy and poverty. I have not found a more comprehensive Canadian textbook than Raphael’s Poverty in Canada. Raphael introduces students to various perspectives on the causes of poverty and explains how ideology leads to public policy choices. This third edition includes new statistics and policy updates and maintains an important chapter that gives voice to people living in poverty. I look forward to using it as the main textbook in my course.”

“This comprehensive overview covers important subject matter including defining and measuring poverty, the relationships between poverty and health, the lived experience and quality of life of people living in poverty, practice and policy efforts designed to reduce or eliminate poverty, and the forces that prevent the success of these efforts. This text contains a wealth of information that would be an invaluable resource for students, consumers, practitioners, and policy-makers who want to develop a sound understanding of the complexities of poverty in Canada. The author is commended for developing this insightful text and his commitment to transformational improvement in the lives of those affected by poverty.”

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