Canada’s Growing Inequality Problem

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Canada’s top 1 percent earners currently account for 10.6 percent of the country’s total income, as per the latest study by Statistics Canada. The study narrowed in on the upper 25.5 million tax filers in the country, whose portion of aggregate income has trended upward in a steady fashion from 1989 to 2010. This revelation, coupled with previous reports on Israel and China, show that income inequality is a global problem and not an exclusively U.S problem. In fact, 10 percent of China’s population accounts for 86.7 percent of the country’s total wealth- (see Chris Wood’s GREED & fear).

Canada’s Growing Inequality Problem

Statistics Canada, commonly known as Statscan, revealed that the 1 percent in question were individuals who raked in more than $201,400. In 1982, these were the same individuals who could net more than $147,500. “The income gap between the top 1 per cent and the rest of filers has widened over time,” remarked the agency.

These new statistics come in the heat of looming concerns over the troubling income gap. The income gap as of the moment is worrying; demonstrated by the “occupy” movement. Youthful Canadians have also been locked out of employment at the wake of the recession several years ago. Underemployment and unemployment have become commonplace among young Canadians partly because top incomes have become notably dependent on jobs and not investments.

Statscan reveals that in 2010, the median income of the upper 1 percent was at $283,400; a figure much higher than the 80’s median of $191,600. The other 99 percent have, however, exhibited somewhat similar median incomes over the past three decades; having a median income of 28,000 in the 80s and 28,400 in 2010.

A key point of note in the study is that most of the top earners have managed to remain in that position over time. Indeed, Statscan revealed that among those in the coveted 1 percent group in 1983, 67 percent were in the group in 1982. It further revealed that the number of those who managed to remain in the group in 2010 increased to 72.2 percent. “The rich are staying rich,” noted Erin Weir, economist and president of the Progress Economics Forum.

Top Group Pays The Most Tax

While the inequality is still questionable, it has been noted that richer Canadians are contributing more to the government revenue. Statscan notes that the top tier’s share of both provincial and federal tax increased to 21.2 percent in fiscal 2010 from 13.4 percent in the 80s. Interestingly, the tax contribution from the lower income earners has fallen over the past three decades.

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Sheeraz Raza
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