Canada's Gen­der Gap De­creases But Over­all In­come Dis­par­ity In­creases

Trillions - - In This Issue -

Ac­cord­ing to a new re­port from Statis­tics Canada, more Cana­dian women than ever be­fore are now making it into the ranks of those earn­ing at the top 1% in­come level or higher. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the poor in Canada just keep get­ting poorer.

In 2014 those earn­ing at the top 1% in­come level had to make at least $225,100 (Cana­dian dol­lars) for the year. That cor­re­sponds to 268,500 tax fil­ers that year.

A salary of $225k in Canada is not re­ally that much be­cause at that level the in­come tax rate is 50% and the cost of liv­ing in many parts of Canada is very high. For ex­am­ple, the av­er­age home price in Van­cou­ver is over $1 mil­lion. So, be­ing in the top 1% does not nec­es­sar­ily im­ply wealth and in some cities it is merely a liv­ing wage. How­ever, $225k/year would make one wealthy in some ru­ral parts of Canada.

22% per­cent of those in what’s re­ferred to as the “One Per­cent Club” were women.

To put that in per­spec­tive, in the early 1980s only 10% of Cana­dian women were earn­ing at the top 1% in­come level or higher, so 22% rep­re­sents ma­jor progress.

The wealthy have also seen their num­bers go up over that pe­riod. Cur­rently, those earn­ing at the 1% or higher in­come level ac­count for 12% of all in­come in Canada for 2014. That is a share growth of 53% since the same mid-1980s pe­riod.

The poor, how­ever, just keep dig­ging deeper, it seems. The per­cent­age money share of the bot­tom 50% of all wage earn­ers in Canada dropped 28.4% be­tween 1982 and 2014. This puts those num­bers even lower – as a per­cent­age of what is earned by all Cana­dian wage earn­ers – than the same group made dur­ing the Great De­pres­sion of the 1930s.

For those fol­low­ing the statis­tics, that women are fi­nally see­ing earn­ings ad­vance­ment at the high end is clearly some­thing to cel­e­brate. It rep­re­sents a few more glass ceil­ings be­ing bro­ken through ev­ery day as well as a dif­fer­ent qual­ity of lead­er­ship be­ing brought to the most se­nior of ex­ec­u­tive po­si­tions in the coun­try.

But un­less the poor begin to catch up in the same eco­nomic race, an in­creas­ingly more chal­leng­ing two-tier qual­ity of life is go­ing to get worse. There is of course the pure hu­mane is­sue of a larger num­ber of peo­ple than ever be­fore un­able to have ad­e­quate hous­ing, food, med­i­cal care and ac­cess to ways to im­prove their sit­u­a­tion. And a lack of in­clu­sion in the coun­try’s fi­nan­cial sys­tem also has its con­se­quences by iso­lat­ing this group from the rest of the peo­ple.

One of the fac­tors driv­ing the in­crease in the wealthy class is im­mi­gra­tion. A large per­cent­age of new Cana­di­ans are wealthy Asians. The pre­vi­ous boom of high pay­ing jobs in the tar sands in Al­berta also boosted the num­ber of top-earn­ers, un­til the price of oil dropped.

It will be awhile be­fore the stats for 2016 are avail­able. Canada does not have a grip on its eco­nomic re­al­i­ties in real time, if at all by the time the gov­ern­ment has mas­saged the num­bers. But, ca­sual ob­ser­va­tions in­di­cate that the in­come dis­par­ity is wors­en­ing. This was ex­pected un­der the pre­vi­ous Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment. But even un­der the so-called Lib­eral gov­ern­ment, the rich con­tinue to get richer while ev­ery­one else is get­ting poorer. There are sev­eral rea­sons for this.

One big rea­son is that far too much of Canada's econ­omy has been based on re­source ex­trac­tion and once the re­sources are de­pleted or prices de­cline then so does the rev­enue.

Un­bri­dled im­mi­gra­tion is also hav­ing far-reach­ing con­se­quences. Wealthy Asians have caused a rapid and ex­treme rise in hous­ing prices in Van­cou­ver and Toronto, which has pushed the work­ing class into sub-stan­dard hous­ing, long com­mutes or forced them to move to other re­gions.

Cor­rup­tion, bu­reau­cracy, high taxes and poor city plan­ning are fu­el­ing fur­ther poverty, des­per­a­tion and crime.

Canada is cur­rently one of the top des­ti­na­tions for in­ter­na­tional crim­i­nal money laun­der­ing and the vast sums of money be­ing in­jected into cer­tain seg­ments of the econ­omy are rad­i­cally dis­tort­ing the econ­omy and cor­rupt­ing gov­ern­ment at many lev­els.

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