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This report examines the income of families and unattached individuals, along with information related to low income in Canada, on a yearly basis. It is based on 2008 income information provided by the participants in the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics.

The year 2008 was eventful from an economic standpoint. The year had two very distinct parts—one of continued growth, and another of economic slowdown.1 By the end of the year, the Canadian economy had moved rapidly into its first recessionary period in 16 years. Because the data were collected for a reference period of an entire year, readers should be mindful when considering the annual results presented in this report.
The data prior to 1993 are drawn from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). Beginning with 1998, the data are taken from the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID). For the 1993-to-1997 period, estimates are based on a combined sample from SCF and SLID.

This report analyses family income on the basis of medians. The median is the point at which half of all families had higher income and half had lower. All figures included in this report are sample survey estimates, unless otherwise stated. All income estimates are expressed in constant 2008 dollars to factor in inflation and enable comparisons across time in real terms.

1. Philip Cross. 2009. "2008 in Review." Canadian Economic Observer, 11-010-X. Vol 22. No. 4.