A new study published by Food Banks Canada says that about 25 per cent of Canadians are living in poverty.

The study used what is called a Material Deprivation Index to reveal a hitherto hidden group of Canadians experience poverty. Such an index, which is in common use in Europe, measures the ability of people to, for example, use transportation, eat healthily, participate in celebrations and pay bills on time.

The study was prepared by University of Ottawa Prof. Geranda Notten and former deputy minister in Ontario and Manitoba Michael Mendelson.

“A better understanding of poverty is critical to accurately track our progress in reducing economic distress among households in Canada,” said CEO of Food Banks Canada Kirstin Beardsley.

“Adopting an MDI in Canada could improve our understanding of the extent and nature of poverty and help explain the gaps we’re seeing between real life demand at food banks and the current official poverty rate.”

The official poverty rate in Canada would indicate that about 10 per cent of the population is poor. According to the findings, nearly 6 million additional Canadians are living in poverty than what’s reflected in Statistics Canada most recent poverty data.

The study found 30 per cent of 18 to 30 year olds, 44.5 per cent single parent households and 42 per cent of renters can’t afford two or more household essentials.