Map of Simcoe Muskoka

Market Basket Measure (MBM)

Market Basket Measure (MBM) is a measure of low income based on the cost of a specific basket of goods and services representing a modest, basic standard of living. It includes the costs of food, clothing, footwear, transportation, shelter and other expenses for a reference family of two adults aged 25 to 49 and two children (aged 9 and 13). The MBM, including its definition of disposable income, was designed by a working group of Federal, Provincial and Territorial officials, led by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) between 1997 and 1999.

MBM thresholds are calculated as the cost of purchasing the following items:

  • A nutritious diet as specified in the 2008 National Nutritious Food Basket.
  • A basket of clothing and footwear required by a family of two adults and two children.
  • Shelter cost as the median cost of a two- or three-bedroom unit including electricity, heat, water and appliances.
  • Transportation costs, using public transit, where available, or costs associated with owning and operating a modest vehicle where public transit is not available.
  • Other necessary goods and services.

See CANSIM table 202-0809, Statistics Canada for MBM thresholds. These thresholds are compared to disposable income of families to determine low income status.

MBM data is provided at the provincial level but also includes some selected Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations (e.g. Toronto). Thresholds are provided by year, by family size (from 1 to 7 persons) and by size of community (rural, <30,000, 30,000 to 99,999 and 100,000 to 499,999).

For more on Market Basket Measure see