July 17, 2011

Inequality and Poverty in Canada

An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.
— Plutarch (46-120 AD)  

Vast income inequality is not a good thing in the attainment of a happy, balanced society. That "the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer" has been observed often enough to make it a cliche. But just because something is cliche doesn't mean it isn't true.

Unfortunately the saying is as true today as it ever was, in Canada and many other parts of the world. To highlight this, I share the following Hennessy's Index, a monthly listing of numbers researched by the CCPA's Trish Hennessy. 

Inequality and Poverty in Canada - By The Numbers

$6.6 million
The average compensation of Canada’s best-paid 100 CEOs in 2009.

The average wage for Canadians working full-time, year-round.

155 times
How much the best-paid 100 CEOs earn more than average wage. 

The number of women among the best-paid 100 CEOs in Canada in 2009.

Canada ranks 20th, behind the U.S., in a global ranking of women’s equality.

Canada’s richest 1%
Doubled their income share between the late-1970s and 2007. 

Canada’s richest 0.01%
Quintupled their share of income during that same period.

Shrinking middle
The share of income for the bottom 80% of Canadian families with children is smaller today than it was a generation ago. 

6 out of 10 Canadians could be in trouble if their paycheque gets delayed.

Debt nation
Canadian consumer debt to financial assets ratio worst of 20 OECD nations. 

$1.41 trillion
Canadian household debt. 

Canada ranks 17 out of 24 OECD nations on children’s material well-being.

1 in 10
Canadian children live in poverty. 1 in 4 Aboriginal children live in poverty.

A solution
Shifting 1% of Canadians’ collective after-tax income to the 1 in 10 Canadians living in low income would eliminate poverty in Canada. 

We can eliminate poverty in Canada and across the world. We have the wealth, and the knowledge to ensure everyone has enough. To learn more about poverty issues in Canada see here.

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