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Essential needs
October 15, 2019 •  By Centraide

Being poor in a rich country

According to the United Nations (UN), Canada ranks 12th out of 189 countries in the world for its quality of life. Yet, over 4.8 million people in this country live on a low income.

1.2 million of these individuals live in Quebec.

And half of these Quebeckers (614,025 people) live in Greater Montreal.

What does it mean to be poor?

It means not having the resources to meet your essential needs for:

More often than not, it means having to live one day at a time and constantly worry about the future. It means experiencing constant stress and, in many cases, facing social isolation.

Who are the people affected by poverty?

Realities that can be easy to ignore


My name is Darquis. I’ve lived in my neighbourhood for five years. A few months ago, I started going to La P’tite Maison to try and help other people—and myself—become part of the community again. Since having an accident a few years ago, I had been isolating myself and needed to do something to get back into the world.

I left home when I was 15 because I didn’t fit in. I was a figure skater, ballet dancer and musician in a small town that was all about baseball and hockey. I travelled across Canada. I first moved to Toronto, where I met my wife. But when the rent became too expensive, we decided to move to Quebec.

I was in a serious work accident—I was crushed by 800 kg of Plexiglas—and can no longer work. Then my wife died, and I found myself all alone with my son. She was my world and the rock of our family. I felt so alone. I started hiding out in my basement.

One day, I ran into a case worker from La P’tite Maison at a food bank.”


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