While Quebec’s poverty level has been stable for several years, those in need are staying that way longer than elsewhere in Canada, according to a new Institut du Quebec study.

“There are two ways to look at this. Is it a success because we put in place measures to give people what they need, or could the measures be improved to help these people (improve their situation) as much as possible?” said study co-author Jean-Guy Cote, who is also the institute’s associate director. “What we’re seeing in Quebec is that the tools are not necessarily there to help people fare better than anywhere else.”

According to the after-tax measure of low income, in 2017 14.4 per cent of Quebecers had less than half the median income to support themselves, a result slightly above the Canadian average.

However, using the Market Basket Measure, which reflects the cost of various goods and services needed to support a two-parent family with two children, nine per cent of Quebecers were in need, a proportion lower than the Canadian average.

“It’s still a lot of people, especially since it’s a measure that’s adapted to the environment where you live,” said Cote. “This measure really captures the number of people who have difficulty meeting their needs.”