Canada 2020 is a non-partisan, progressive centre working to create an environment of social and economic prosperity for Canada and all Canadians. You can learn more about Canada 2020 at www.canada2020.ca.
This series of three papers by various authors, including Sherri Torjman and Ken Battle of Caledon Institute, discuss why Canadians should care about income inequality, income redistribution in Canada and the notion that inequality is not inevitable.
Poverty remains a significant and growing problem in Canada. Income polarization is also increasing steadily, to a degree that could threaten social cohesion. Since technological advances and globalization both tend to increase inequalities as returns to unskilled labour declines, this problem will not go away in the absence of significant policy action. It is also a problem, as our contributors sress, that is shared with many other developed countries, though recent increased in income inequality in Canada are towards the high end of the spectrum.
Sherri and Ken identify that inequality is not inevitable and suggest that governments play a vital role in tackling poverty and inequality. Government can help offset the strong economic and social forces that contribut to poverty. They suggest that the federal government holds key levers to ensure the equitable treaterment of citizens in all parts of the country and by focusing on and enhancing income supplement programs, the federal government can reduce income inequality.
The three papers are a thoughtful reflection about the challenges of income inequality on Canada and practical recommendations that can shift the balance.