‘Pros­per­ous’ Lon­don sees in­comes fall

The Observer (Sarnia) - - NEWS - HANK DANISZEWSKI hdaniszewski@post­media.com twit­ter.com/HankatLFPress With files from Jonathan Sher, Post­media News

The myth of Lon­don as a pros­per­ous fat-cat city has taken an­other blow, this time by the lat­est na­tional in­for­ma­tion about in­come lev­els.

The an­nual me­dian house­hold in­come in metro Lon­don, the so­called Lon­don cen­sus met­ro­pol­i­tan area (CMA), which in­cludes Strathroy and St. Thomas, was $64,743 last year, the sec­ond­low­est among large On­tario cities and well be­low na­tional and pro­vin­cial av­er­ages.

Worse, the me­dian house­hold in­come fell by 2.1 per cent com­pared to a decade ear­lier, while the me­dian in­come across Canada grew by 10.8 per cent to $70,366.

Windsor fares even worse with a 6.4 per cent drop in house­hold in­come in the past decade, but in­come in the bor­der city is higher than Lon­don at $65,983.

Me­dian is the point at which half of house­holds make less than that amount, and half more. It is not the av­er­age.

Lon­don Mayor Matt Brown said the city’s poor show­ing jus­ti­fies the launch of the city ad­vi­sory panel on poverty last year.

“Th­ese num­bers come as no sur­prise to us,” he said Wed­nes­day, adding: “When it comes to the num­ber of chil­dren and fam­i­lies liv­ing in poverty, ev­ery sin­gle Lon­doner needs to ac­knowl­edge that.” It’s time for the city to rec­og­nize the re­al­ity of low-in­come Lon­don­ers, said Sue Wilson of the King’s Univer­sity Col­lege Poverty Re­search Cen­tre: “We need to wake up to what’s hap­pen­ing in Lon­don and how in­di­vid­u­als are be­ing af­fected.”

The cen­tre is do­ing a se­ries this fall fo­cus­ing on pre­car­i­ous em­ploy­ment in Lon­don. Wilson said the city needs a di­verse strat­egy to aid dif­fer­ent pop­u­la­tions in­clud­ing the work­ing poor, the home­less and se­niors.

Lon­don West MPP Peggy Sat­tler said the pro­vin­cial govern­ment has ne­glected Lon­don to fo­cus on se­cur­ing sup­port in the GTA.

She said the Lon­don area has been es­pe­cially hurt by the loss of tra­di­tional man­u­fac­tur­ing, and while the dig­i­tal sec­tor has ramped up, most dis­placed work­ers haven’t been given train­ing to make a tran­si­tion, she said.

“Peo­ple can’t af­ford rent. They can’t pay their hy­dro,” she said.

Lon­don North Cen­tre MP Peter Fragiskatos said Ottawa rec­og­nizes the prob­lems in the Lon­don area,

We need to wake up to what’s hap­pen­ing in Lon­don and how in­di­vid­u­als are be­ing af­fected.”

Sue Wilson, King’s Univer­sity Col­lege Poverty Re­search Cen­tre

point­ing to a $1.3-mil­lion grant an­nounced yes­ter­day to Leads Em­ploy­ment Agency.

“We have had a very dif­fi­cult 10 years, es­pe­cially since 2008, but the fu­ture is bright,” he said.

His pro­vin­cial coun­ter­part, MPP Deb Matthews, said the govern­ment of Premier Kath­leen Wynne is work­ing to help low-in­come fam­i­lies by rais­ing the min­i­mum wage to $15 an hour and with the $73 mil­lion in­vested in the South­west­ern On­tario De­vel­op­ment Fund.

“Los­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs has hurt the south­west but we are see­ing a growth of man­u­fac­tur­ing and other jobs such as dig­i­tal,” she said.

Oshawa had the top me­dian house­hold in­come, $86,451. St. Cather­ines was at the bot­tom, $63,001. In the Lon­don re­gion, Strathroy-Caradoc fared best, with a me­dian house­hold in­come of $71,882, while Chatham-Kent was at the bot­tom, at $58,264.

The City of Lon­don, (ex­clud­ing sur­round­ing municipalities) was in the mid­dle, at $62,011

Don Kerr, a de­mog­ra­pher and pro­fes­sor at King ’s Univer­sity Col­lege, said the low-in­come data re­in­forces a labour force sur­vey re­leased last week which shows, de­spite a low un­em­ploy­ment rate of 5.4 per cent, about one-quar­ter of Lon­don-area res­i­dents aged 25 to 54 — prime work­ing years — were not work­ing. That’s the high­est level of any ma­jor mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Canada.

“Now, the labour force stuff is start­ing to make sense,” he said.





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