Low-Income Cutoffs

The low income cut-off (LICO), produced by Statistics Canada on an annual basis, is the income threshold below which a family will likely devote a 20 percent larger share of its income to the necessities of food, shelter, and clothing than would the average family. Although LICO was strongly influenced by the development of the U.S. official poverty line, Statistics Canada has, on several occasions, emphasized that LICO is not a poverty line and should not be interpreted as such. However, in the absence of an official poverty line, the LICO is still the most popularly cited poverty line in Canada.


Released in 1967, the first set of low income cut-off thresholds was published based on the 1959 Survey of Family Expenditure (FAMEX). Five different ...

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