Poverty hurts not just individuals and families. The scourge of such hardship has a negative impact on communities, regions and entire nations.

According to Canada Without Poverty, a charitable non-profit dedicated to ending poverty in this country, poverty costs Canada between $72 billion and $84 billion a year.

In Nova Scotia, the total cost of poverty is about $2.4 billion, equal to seven per cent of provincial GDP, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The reasons are diverse. They include poorer health that leads to heavier reliance on the health-care system, higher incarceration rates and significant government spending on social assistance.