Fighting poverty
and social exclusion

Greater Montreal is home to more than half of all people who live in poverty in Quebec, totalling 615,000 people.

Poverty rates are higher for children, single-parent families, single individuals, recent immigrants, members of visible minorities, and a growing number of workers.

Poverty can be persistent or temporary, brought on by difficult situations (job loss, family upheaval, mental health issues, difficult immigration experiences, etc.) or other factors (age, disability, ethnocultural background, etc.).

Poverty has a significant impact on several aspects of life, including academic success, housing conditions, food security, physical and mental health, and life expectancy.

Poverty is a major cause of social exclusion, just as social exclusion is in turn a barrier to overcoming poverty. It’s a vicious cycle!

Poverty is not an individual issue. It concerns everyone! Poverty has a cost, as it deprives society of its full pool of talent and resources. It costs Quebec between $15 and 17 billion per year. 

Our mission

Centraide’s mission is to make the most important social issues such as poverty and exclusion unignorable and provide everyone with the means to build inclusive communities and improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable.

Our areas of action: Four related focuses

The agencies we support address several dimensions of poverty, including youth success, meeting basic needs, the inclusion of vulnerable and marginalized communities, and the development of inclusive living environments. All of these aspects are interrelated and depend on each other.

  • For children to succeed in school, they need to live in adequate housing and have access to healthy food.
  • For the smooth integration of recently immigrated families, they need to live in a welcoming neighbourhood.

Youth success

In Montreal, nearly one in four children grows up in poverty

Growing up in poverty increases the risk of cumulative difficulties throughout life. Children born into poor families start life at a disadvantage. Poverty has a serious impact on their well-being, development, academic success, lifestyle, behaviour, and health. Disadvantaged children are at a higher risk of starting school late and dropping out before graduation. Without a high-school diploma, they are more likely to earn lower incomes, live in poor conditions, and repeat a cycle of poverty that will be difficult for their children to avoid. 

Our approach

Accompany youth throughout their journey to adulthood so they can develop to their full potential, find their way, and become accomplished adults who are involved in their community.


Agencies that support youth success implement various strategies to break the cycle of poverty, including early childhood development, assistance for parents, support for academic perseverance, support for the social integration of at-risk youth, accompanying young adults on a path to social integration, support for immigrant families. These initiatives take place in an environment where youth and their families feel welcome and respected, and where they are encouraged to develop their potential and autonomy.

Take care
of the essential

In Greater Montreal, one in every three renter household live in poor housing conditions

A home is not just an address. It’s where you should be able to settle down and feel safe enough to build a rewarding life. A dwelling is considered inadequate when it’s too small, isolated, or unsanitary, and when it costs more than 30% of household income. When income is low, it’s impossible to avoid exceeding this ratio. When rent payments take priority over all other expenses, households are forced to cut back on other basic needs such as food, clothing, transportation, education, and activities.

Our approach

Provide sufficient access to adequate and affordable housing and focus on sustainable solutions that lead to the food autonomy of individuals, families, and communities. 


Agencies that help people meet basic needs implement various strategies to improve living conditions, which include providing access to housing and food security. Initiatives such as collective kitchens and community gardens involve individuals and families, foster mutual aid and learning opportunities, and allow people to obtain supplies at lower costs. Other initiatives include providing support and assistance to tenants, helping improve unsanitary conditions, and promoting social housing.   

social isolation

In Greater Montreal, more than half of recent immigrants live in poverty

Certain population groups face a higher risk of experiencing poverty and social exclusion, either because they are going through a difficult situation (job loss, family upheaval, mental health issues, difficult immigration experiences, etc.) or because of other factors (sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, ethnocultural background, etc.).

Our approach

Build diverse living environments that recognize, respect, and appreciate the diversity of each person’s experiences, values, and opinions and encourage the participation and contribution of all members of society.


Agencies that work to break social isolation promote the inclusion of vulnerable and marginalized people, including people in a situation of homelessness, seniors living alone, people with disabilities, people with mental health problems, newcomers, and members of visible minorities. These agencies offer individual aid, support networks, and opportunities to build social connections. For some participants, these activities allow them to regain confidence and develop their potential. For others, these initiatives help minimize the negative effects of poverty, break their social isolation, promote their rights, and foster their social integration.  

caring communities

More than 350 community agencies and collective projects are active in more than 80 communities across Greater Montreal because of our support

Community agencies play a leading role in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. Not only do they provide immediate frontline support to vulnerable people, but they also improve living conditions in the long-term and bring neighbourhoods to life. The environments they work in are constantly changing and becoming more complex, calling for a multitude of new strategies, skills, and abilities. 

Our approach

Strengthen the agencies’ capacity to accomplish their missions and increase their ability to take action, which will help them have a greater impact on reducing poverty. 


Agencies building caring communities place strong emphasis on collective action, mobilization and citizen participation to improve living conditions. Initiatives include neighbourhood round tables, volunteer action centres, as well as recreation and community action centres. These agencies offer a range of consultation, mobilization, volunteering, project development and training activities to strengthen the skills and leadership of local community actors.