Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Canada's income inequality

The Globe and Mail: Income inequality affects
every Canadian.
Income inequality is not just a made-in-America problem.

The Globe and Mail ran a piece featuring how income inequality hurts every Canadian's chance of building a better life.

This must-read is a part of The Globe and Mail's Wealth Paradox series which takes a look into how the income gap and inequality is shaping Canada. The question: How income in income inequality affects you? The answers are broken down into four categories: the wage gap, healthcare, education, recreation.

Here are a couple highlights:


  • Canada's top earners have been getting richer with increasing speed while average incomes remain stagnant.
  • In 2002, the average CEO-to-worker pay ration was 84:1. In 2012, its 122:1
  • What if more companies ensured that the highest-paid worker never makes more than 10 times the wage of the lowest-paid worker?
  • What if more companies engaged in profit-sharing with it's employees?


  • Inequality is linked to poorer health outcomes. 
  • The income gap is perhaps the most pronounced in mental health care. An estimated 1.2 million young Canadians are affected by mental illness. Only 1 in 4 gets appropriate treatment.
  • "What we have today in Canada is a two-tier mental health system in which kids are the victim." Michael Kirby


  • High income areas are primarily home to high-achieving schools while lower income areas have a higher number of lower-scoring schools.
  • We need to stop pretending that education can lift people out of poverty on its own.
  • Great teachers make great schools, but great teachers can't do it alone - they require the support of an equitable society.
  • If we are not careful, we risk misinterpreting standardized test scores, and instead of waging war on poverty and inequity, we end up waging war on teachers and schools.
  • Highly-educated and affluent parents can give their kids opportunities their lower-income peers simply don't have. 


  • Median incomes haven't budged in 30 years, but leisure activities, the pleasure in life, some of which have become too expensive for the majority of Canadians.
  • Parents of current minor hockey players spent an average of $2,898 on hockey-related items during the 2011/2012 season. The parents surveyed earned 15% more than the Canadian average. 


At the end of the Globe and Mail's piece is a poll that asks Which solution would best reduce the effects of income inequality in Canada? The options include:

Restore Fairness in our Tax System

Enhance Early Childhood Education

Emulate Germany's Approach to Skills Training

Create a New "Social Contract"

Boost Support for the Working Poor

Do Nothing - There's No Major Problem


  1. Hi, I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. Since I live in the US, I can definitely relate to many of these problems. I am a future educator, and I cannot agree more with the issues that were brought up. Something needs to be done. You have already made a stand by simply posting this. I believe as more simple minded, average income people become aware of what is happening, income inequality can be stopped. Here is a link to my class blog: Edm310

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