Recognizing the link between social justice and environmental justice

Ottawa (15 Oct. 2020) — This year the theme for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is acting together to achieve social and environmental justice for all. The theme recognizes that it is not possible to have social justice without economic justice.

3.2 million Canadians living in poverty

In Canada, 3.2 million Canadians were living in poverty in 2018. That represented 8.7% of the population. 

1.2 million Canadians experienced food insecurity in 2018. This means they either faced a real fear that they could run out of food, or they did run out of food. This number has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic started, with Statistics Canada reporting that 14.6% of Canadians were experiencing food insecurity in early May.

Almost 1 in 10 people living in extreme poverty

It’s estimated that 736 million people around the world are living on incomes below the international poverty line, which is $1.90/day. In 2018 that was 8% of the world’s workers and their families. The worst affected regions are Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

People living in poverty on the frontlines in the fight against climate change

With most environmental problems, people living in poverty are the most vulnerable. 

We are seeing this with climate change. No one is immune from the effects of climate change, but those with little money are at the greatest risk from extreme weather events or the food insecurity caused by climate change. 

And for that reason, it is often people living in poverty who are the first to take action to respond to climate change and other environmental challenges. Unfortunately, those efforts have not been recognized and their work often goes unnoticed.

Online event to mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

To draw attention to both what people living in extreme poverty are experiencing and the action they are taking, the United Nations is holding an online event on Saturday, October 17, 2020, at 11:00 am (Eastern Time). It will be a chance to hear from people with first-hand knowledge of what is being done. 

Information about the event and how to watch it can be found here.  

Issues and Campaigns


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE