The Finances of Mainly Unemployed and Retired Participants (Phased One)

November 2022

The Canadian Financial Diaries is a multi-year project that seeks to capture the finances and financial experiences of low- and modest-income earners in Canada. The participants in this group were selected because of their unemployed status. The group of largely unemployed diarists have extremely frugal finances. We saw that participants who were of working age and relied on social assistance had some of the lowest incomes of all the diarists although in some cases comparable to incomes of the precariously, or casually, employed participants (Buckland and Nur, 2021). If participants’ income was supplemented by federal government supports, e.g., Canada Child Benefit, then household incomes were less meager but, with larger families, not necessarily less tight. The incomes were steady (with regular payments of social assistance). Most participants dedicated the lion’s share of their budget to basic needs such as housing, food, and transportation.

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