Behind the Numbers

Entries Tagged as 'Poverty and Income Inequality'

A generation of broken promises: The 2014 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Nova Scotia

November 24th, 2014 · · Nova Scotia, Poverty and Income Inequality

“Study after study describes poverty as a profound and damning thing for child development. The political response has been to watch poverty levels dip and rise. On the sidelines, statisticians have debated how measurement might best occur…too often with a view to reporting the lowest numbers possible. There have been champions. Despite that Canada has arrived at a shameful place. 

Right now our inaction tells the world this nation thinks one in four children are not worth it. 

Not worth feeding. 

Not worth shelter. 

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EI is Not Actually Helping the Poor

July 14th, 2014 · · Employment and Labour, Employment Insurance, Income Inequality

Who does employment insurance help? It seems like an obvious question. One would assume that EI is for Canadians who’ve lost their jobs and are therefore going to be low income. EI is meant to support them through hard times as they hopefully get another job and get back on their feet.

But…. what if we look at what income quintile EI recipients formerly found themselves? Were they low-income, middle class, or rich before they got laid off? I did some digging and I was surprised by the result.

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Ontario Budget Watch 2014: What we’re looking for

April 28th, 2014 · · Ontario

This week’s 2014 Ontario budget won’t contain many surprises – much of what will be in the budget has already been announced – but it should contain core principles to guide the province toward greater shared prosperity.

Here are 5 guiding principles we at the CCPA-Ontario office will be watching for in the budget:

1. End austerity

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Why I’m not gloating about Canada’s middle class

April 24th, 2014 · · Household Debt, Income Inequality, Ontario, Poverty and Income Inequality

This week Canada’s nascent national debate about the problem of income inequality as it relates to the anxious middle class descended into ridiculous levels of un-Canadian gloating.

On Tuesday, Canadians awoke to news that the hypothetical middle-income Canadian outperformed its American counterpart in terms of after-tax income in 2010 (median, per capita, after-tax PPP-adjusted, inflation-adjusted income).

Right-wing politicians and pundits were quick to crow that their ideology was working and that Canada’s middle class is not, in fact, struggling.

Andrew Coyne claimed the idea of Canada’s “struggling middle class” is so two decades ago that it’s time to “retire” that talking point.

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The political fight for Ontario’s middle class

March 20th, 2014 · · Ontario, Poverty and Income Inequality, Taxes and Tax Cuts

“Middle class” is the new “working Ontario families.” Every second speech and press release here contains it now. – Adrian Morrow, Globe and Mail reporter, Queen’s Park, Twitter, March 20, 2014.

With election fever mounting in Ontario, the political field is quickly crowding around the middle of the income spectrum in search of votes.

And – surprise, surprise – low taxes are dominating the list of enticements.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is insisting she’ll reject any provincial budget that includes asking Ontario’s middle class to pay more taxes or tolls.

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The ‘girl effect’ reduces inequality, but we can’t count on it forever

March 7th, 2014 · · Gender Equality, Income Inequality

This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.

Every year when International Women’s Day rolls by, I can’t help but reflect on power, how it’s shared, and how women use the power they have. This year, I am struck by women’s power to reduce inequality, and not just to help ourselves. Women are key to reducing income inequality.

It’s been dubbed the girl effect, more powerful than the Internet, science, the government, and even money.

Canada is actually a poster girl (sorry) for the truth that education and hard work can transform not just lives but societies.

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Wealth Inequality: Going from bad to (net) worth

February 26th, 2014 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Income Inequality, Poverty and Income Inequality

Yesterday, Statistics Canada released its 2012 wealth survey (Survey of Financial Security). Two previous wealth surveys were published in 2005 and 1999 with a similar methodology.

We often talk about income inequality, which examines what middle class and rich Canadians make in a year. However, wealth inequality examines middle class and rich Canadians’ net worth, including their house, RRSPs, savings, car, etc. If income inequality—where the top 20% of families get 43% of the income— is concerning, then wealth inequality should be downright shocking. The top 20% of families in Canada own 67% of all net wealth (although this is down slightly from the high of 69% of all wealth in 2005).

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Will income-splitting’s politics trump its lousy economics?

February 14th, 2014 · · Poverty and Income Inequality, Taxes and Tax Cuts

This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.

You could hear the sound of jaws dropping across the nation this week when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, in response to a question from a journalist, cast doubt on the idea of income-splitting for young families, something his party has been promising since March 28, 2011.

The idea – which would allow the higher-earning spouse to transfer income to their lower-earning spouse in order to reduce their total tax hit – provoked controversy right from the start. But it became an increasingly hard sell as economists and think tanks from across the political spectrum lined up in agreement: Income-splitting costs too much for something that is worse than doing nothing.

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Alternative Federal Budget 2014: Striking a better balance

February 5th, 2014 · · Alternative Federal Budget, Economy & Economic Indicators, Federal Budget, Income Inequality

The following remarks are excerpted from the 2014 Alternative Federal Budget press conference, featuring Armine Yalnizyan, David Macdonald and Bruce Campbell (February 5th, Parliament Hill).

This year is our 19th Alternative Federal Budget (AFB).

From the beginning, we’ve developed a rigorous economic and fiscal framework for our Budget; and we have acquired an enviable reputation for more accurately forecasting fiscal balances than the  Department of Finance. Organizers of a recent international conference in Berlin recently called our alternative budget the leading example of its kind in the world. Former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page has praised it, as have many academic economists.

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Why the minimum wage debate isn’t going to go away

February 5th, 2014 · · Income Inequality, Ontario, Poverty and Income Inequality

This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.

There is a good reason why the minimum wage has fired up so much debate lately. It has to do with how a “trickle-away” recovery has dogged so many advanced economies since the 2008 global crisis hit.

For most people today, growth is happening somewhere else, for someone else. The result is a crescendo of frustration.

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