|Home About the Canada Social Report Partners Updates Sign Up Contact|
Social Assistance Summaries
The informative Social Assistance Statistics Report, published by the federal and provincial/territorial governments, was last released in 2010 and presented 2008 data. In its place, the Canada Social Report now publishes a Social Assistance Summaries series.
A report is prepared for each province and territory with input and feedback from government representatives in every jurisdiction. All summaries include program descriptions and data on the number of social assistance cases and recipients dating, in most jurisdictions, from 1997 to the present. The summaries are updated annually.
Each jurisdiction was consulted regarding the format they preferred for presenting case and recipient numbers – calendar year average, fiscal year average or point-in-time (March 31) statistics. March 31 figures were used in the Social Assistance Statistics Report. Four provinces/territories chose to continue with this format; the remaining nine opted to submit fiscal year averages. Representatives of the second group preferred the average figure as a reflection of the overall economic and employment variances experienced over the course of a year.
The provincial and territorial profiles in this section make clear that each jurisdiction employs its own methodology for tracking and reporting social assistance caseloads. Some provinces include in their caseloads, for example, households that receive a partial benefit or top-up from social assistance. Their overall numbers will be higher than jurisdictions that count only households in receipt of full benefits. Because of these differences in assumptions and methods, the figures presented here should not be used to make inter-jurisdictional comparisons on a pan-Canadian basis.
The broader social and economic context also has a significant impact upon social assistance caseloads. In some regions, a higher take-up of related income security programs, such as Employment Insurance, workers’ compensation or disability benefits, typically reduces social assistance caseloads in a given province or territory. The range of federal and provincial/territorial benefits and their interactions, rather than the sole program itself, must be taken into consideration. Again, the unique socioeconomic circumstances of each jurisdiction make the caseload information presented here unsuitable for comparative purposes.