Low Income Cut-Off After Taxes (LICO-AT)


Low Income Cut-Off After Taxes (LICO-AT) measures the percentage of all persons that spend a higher than average percentage of their income on basic needs (1992 base).

Why This Matters

Low-Income Cut-Off After Taxes (LICO-AT) is the most commonly used measure of low income in Canada (HRSDC, 2009). However, Statistics Canada has emphasized that LICO-AT is not a measure of poverty (Statistics Canada, 2008). Rather, LICO-AT is a measure that identifies levels of income below which Canadians are likely to spend a substantially larger proportion of their income on basic needs (i.e., food, clothing, shelter) than the average family, thereby reducing their expenditures on education, recreation, entertainment, and transportation, among other goods and services.

Measurement and Limitations

The LICO-AT is based on Canadian expenditure patterns. Cut-offs are set at income levels where a family would spend 20 percentage points more of their after-tax income than the average family on food, shelter, and clothing (HRSDC, 2009). This means that they are currently spending at least 63 per cent of their after-tax income on basic needs, rather than the average rate of 43 per cent.

The cut-offs consider family size and area of residence. The cut-offs are calculated for seven different family sizes (one through six and seven or more) and five different community sizes (rural, small urban region, 30,000 to 99,999 residents, 100,000 to 499,999 residents, and 500,000 or more residents). As either one of these variables increases, the cut-off increases. For instance, a family of six living in Winnipeg has a cut-off of about $49,000, whereas an individual living in a rural area would have a cut-off of about $14,000 (Statistics Canada, 2005).

The cut-offs remain constant in 1992 real dollars through being annually indexed to the national Consumer Price Index, such that an individual’s 2008 income must be converted to 1992 real dollars to allow for accurate comparison to the appropriate cut-off (HRSDC, 2009).

LICO-AT data prior to 2006 is reported for the Winnipeg Census Metropolitan Area, an area that extends beyond the borders of the city.

Data Source

Data for LICO-AT is not available at a sub-Winnipeg level for years after 2006. 2006-2010 data was obtained through the Winnipeg Data Consortium (http://www.ccsd.ca/subsites/socialdata/home.html). Data for subsequent years was obtained from Statistics Canada (www.statcan.gc.ca).

Data for Winnipeg CMA and Canada was obtained from Statistics Canada Table: 11-10-0135-01 (formerly CANSIM 206-0041)

Data is updated on Peg as it becomes available from the data providers. Previous data points may change as new data is released


Human Resources and Skill Development Canada (HRSDC). (2009). Low income in Canada: 2000-2007: Using the market basket measure. Gatineau, Quebec: HRSDC. Retrieved from http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/publications_resources/research/categories/inclusion/2009/sp-909-07-09/sp_909_07_09e.pdf

Statistics Canada. (2005). Low income after-tax cut-offs (1992 base) for economic families and persons not in economic families, 2005. Retrieved from http://www12.statcan.ca/census-recensement/2006/ref/dict/tables/table-tableau-17-eng.cfm

Statistics Canada. (2008). Low income after-tax cut-offs (LICO-AT). Retrieved from http://www12.statcan.ca/census-recensement/2006/ref/dict/fam019-eng.cfm

Statistics Canada. Table 11-10-0135-01  Low income statistics by age, sex and economic family type


Low Income Cut-Off After Taxes (LICO-AT) in the Sustainable Development Goals

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1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Extreme poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 1990. While this is a remarkable achievement, one in five people in developing regions still live on less than $1.90 a day, and there are millions more who make little more than this daily amount, plus many people risk slipping back into poverty.

Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.

Related Low Income Cut-Off After Taxes (LICO-AT) Targets


By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

The international community has made significant strides towards lifting people out of poverty. The most vulnerable nations – the least developed countries, the landlocked developing countries and the small island developing states – continue to make inroads into poverty reduction. However, inequality still persists and large disparities remain in access to health and education services and other assets.

Additionally, while income inequality between countries may have been reduced, inequality within countries has risen. There is growing consensus that economic growth is not sufficient to reduce poverty if it is not inclusive and if it does not involve the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.

To reduce inequality, policies should be universal in principle paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized populations.

Related Low Income Cut-Off After Taxes (LICO-AT) Targets


By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status