Two in 10 (20%) Canadians Are Currently Using Charitable Services to Meet Their Essential Needs e.g Food, Shelter, Clothing

Seven in 10 (69%) of those using charitable services say this is the first year they have needed to access these services and the main reason is the rising cost of living.

The author(s)
  • Sean Simpson SVP, Canada, Public Affairs
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Toronto, Ontario, November 8, 2023 — Canadians are continuing to feel the effects of inflation on their cost of living and affordability as a quarter (24%) of Canadians expect they will need to access charitable services to meet their essential needs such as food, clothing, or shelter in the next 6 months, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted for

Two in 10 (20%) Canadians are currently using charitable services to meet their essential needs (e.g. food, shelter, clothing), while a slightly larger proportion (24%) expect to need charitable services in the near future (six months) to meet their essential needs. Future anticipated need is even high in Quebec (24%) and for Canadians under the age of 35 (42%).

Among those who are currently using charitable services to meet their needs, seven in 10 (69%) say this is the first year they have needed access to charitable services to meet their essential needs. Over half (54%) say this is because of the rising cost of living, followed by a mental health issue (23%) or physical health issue (23%). Other reasons include lost employment (19%), providing caregiver support (17%), domestic violence (10%), fighting addiction (9%), or some other reason (4%).

Compared to last year, Canadians are more likely to say they do not give financially to charities (+ 5 from 2022) and less likely to say they will give the same amount this year as last year (- 6 from 2022). Two in 10 (19%) will give less to charity this year (-1 from 2022).

Compared to last year, a slightly higher proportion say they will give more this year (15%, +2 from 2022). Giving increases among younger age groups, with three in 10 (31%) of those aged 18-34 saying they will give more to charities this year, compared to 13% of those aged 35-54 and only 6% of those aged 55+.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 20 to 25, 2023, on behalf of For this survey, a sample of 1,001 Canadians aged 18+ were interviewed. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this Factum, please contact:

Sean Simpson
Senior Vice President, Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 416 324 2002
[email protected]

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The author(s)
  • Sean Simpson SVP, Canada, Public Affairs