Toronto Vital Signs Report 2014

Some key findings from the Toronto Vital Signs report 2014[i]:

Child poverty is widespread and on the rise:

  • After a six-year decline between 2004 and 2010, Toronto’s child poverty rates were on the rise in 2012. (p.84)
  • 29% of children (17 and under) were living in poverty in 2012 – The highest rate in the GTA. (p.84)
  • In four neighbourhoods—Regent Park, Moss Park, Thorncliffe Park and Oakridge—at least 50% of children are living in poverty. This includes Moorelands’ BLAST communities (p.90)
  • Thorncliffe Park has more kids under 14 than any other Toronto census tract, and 10% of its population is under four years old. (p.5)
  • The median total annual family income (before tax) of low-income families in the Toronto Region = $14,630[ii] (p.84)
  • Toronto has the second biggest gap in Canada between the richest 1% and the rest. The 68,230 top earners in the city have an average salary of $314,500 while the national median income for Canadians is $29,900 (p.86)
  • An increase in the strength of divisions in the city and the inequality among them means that “if nothing changes,” 60% of the city’s neighbourhoods will be low- or very low-income by 2025 (p.91)
  • The report explains that ‘High levels of inequality profoundly affect the health and wellbeing of all members of a society. Residents in cities with more equal income distribution are likely to live longer, have less risk of a range of health problems from addiction and mental health issues to obesity, trust one another more, and commit less crime’. (p.97)

But some good news!

  • Between 2008 and 2011, the provincial government implemented several new measures to help 47,000 Ontario children and their families achieve a better standard of living, through its strategy to reduce child poverty in Ontario by 25% over five years (p.88)
  • The number of families below the Low Income Measure[iii] decreased 10.5% in the first 3 years of the government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (from 15.2% to 13.6%). (p.88)


Youth unemployment is a particular concern:

  • The report states: ‘Lack of decent employment prospects for many, especially young workers and immigrants, is bad for the city, which loses the opportunity to benefit from this talent and commitment, and on individuals and families who experience a myriad of economic, health and social costs while trying to make ends meet’. (p.66)
  • 73% of students in grades 9-12 worry about their future. (p.67)
  • The youth unemployment rate for Toronto (15-24 year-olds) is 6% (p.67)
  • The recent immigrant youth unemployment rate is 27% (p.67)
  • Youth unemployment is much higher in Toronto (17.6%) than it is across Canada (6%)[iv] (p.74)
  • 10% of youth ages 15-24 in the GTHA, (83,000 people) are NEET (Not Employed, Nor in Education or Training) (p.72)
  • The CivicAction report on NEETs aged 15-24 shows common barriers facing this group:
  • Systemic barriers that lead to weakened social networks, such as few mentors or role models
  • lack of opportunities to gain meaning experience;
  • Lack of accessible and affordable transportation, and;
  • Racism and structural discrimination. (p.73)


Toronto is NOT capitalising on immigrant qualifications to its detriment:


  • Youth unemployment rates are higher, and incomes lower, for immigrants (27%) than Canadian-born workers (6%). At the same time, some employers are having difficulty recruiting workers (p.74)
  • Unemployment was a more likely prospect for recent immigrants (4%) in the Toronto Region in 2013 than those who had been in the country longer than 10 years (7.4%) (p.74)
  • One of every six immigrants to Canada in the five years before the last census chose to settle in Toronto:
  • As of December 1, 2013, the Region had a total of 81,800 new permanent residents.
  • The city of Toronto became home to 216,520 new residents from all over the world between 2006 and 2011. (p.5)
  • The report asks: Where is Toronto vulnerable? – Toronto, the Mowat Centre says, should be among those leading a discussion of how to leverage diaspora networks (international communities of shared identity) to tap the economic potential of the unprecedented connection we have to every corner of the world. (p.60)
  • The report also asks: What will it take for Toronto to continue to prosper? And decides: ‘a better match between employee skills and labour market needs (especially for immigrants)’. Again this year the report issues a call to action for Toronto to capitalize on the skills and talents of newcomers. (p.60)
  • The Toronto Board of Trade estimates that failing to recognize the qualifications and experience of immigrants alone costs the region approximately $1.5B to $2.25B a year. (p.74)
  • The percentage of racialized employees at minimum wage (2%) is 47% higher than for the total population (9% of whom earn minimum wage). (p.76)
  • 1% of recent immigrants are working at minimum wage, more than twice that of all employees. (p.76)



The above notes are just some highlights from the report.  To read the complete report click here.

[i] Toronto Vital Signs 2014 Report,, (Oct, 7, 2014)

[ii] Based on the Low Income Measure or LIM

[iii] 50% of median family incomes adjusted to consider family needs



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