April 14, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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It takes $32,252 to live decently

It takes $32,252 to live decently

To avoid poverty while living alone in Montreal in 2023, you would need to earn $32,252 after taxes, or $2,676 or 9% more than in 2022.

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A little less if you live in Saguenay ($27,047) or a little more if you live in Sept-Îles ($37,822), according to 9.e Living Income Edition of the Institute for Socioeconomic Research and Information (IRIS).

“It always costs more to be poor and it costs more to get out of poverty,” laments Eve-Line Couturier, researcher at IRIS and co-author of the study.

A viable income allows for a dignified standard of living, IRIS explains. It allows you to make choices and react to unpredictable situations. If the washing machine breaks down tomorrow morning, those who earn that income don’t have to think about how they’re going to fix it.

It’s also an income that allows for some sweetness. “We’re not talking about luxury travel, but about taking a week’s camping vacation”, explains the researcher.

IRIS calculates the disposable income of three types of households in seven Quebec municipalities. A couple with two children in CPE in Sept-Illes needs to have a disposable income of $76,918 to live decently, compared to $73,585 in Gatineau.

Sep-Iles is the most expensive of the seven cities studied because it is impossible to live without a car. “If the government wants to give us more space to achieve viable revenue, it will support the development of public transport in September-Ills,” said Ms.me Couturier as an example.

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Because there are only two ways to help families achieve a viable income: give them the income they need (salaries, transfers, subsidies) or reduce their expenses.

In Gatineau, for example, the average rent for a four-room apartment will increase by 23% between 2022 and 2023. “If we can control rents better, we will succeed in raising viable incomes,” said a co-author of the study.


Inflation is the big culprit for a 9% rise in living income in 2023, as it is stronger in food, housing and transport.

These three costs represent 60% of the expenditure of the least fortunate households, compared to only 40% for the most fortunate households.

Hence it is necessary to spend more on basic needs, less on small sweets.

Wider than 2023

The focus of the study lies in the analysis of income support measures such as the popular CERB of 2020.

Thanks to this temporary aid and other aid provided at the beginning of the pandemic, the number of people unable to meet their basic needs has been cut in half, from 8.9% to 4.8% of the population, IRIS writes.

“We have succeeded in reducing poverty and expanding the middle class without affecting the rich,” maintains Eve-line Couturier.

Which brings us to the Legault government’s recent tax cut, which “will improve the disposable incomes of people higher up the ladder.”

According to IRIS, given the impact of the PCU, instead of better tax cuts there would have been a way to protect the purchasing power of those at the bottom of the scale.

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