Inequality in Canada continues to rise across the country, but a recent study has shown that this problem is mainly in our biggest cities.
The Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) released a report on inequality and found that our major cities have had most of the income inequality since the early 80s.
Those cities are Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary.
While Calgary has a lot to be proud of as a city over the past few decades, income equality is not one of them. Calgary’s inequality has grown four times faster than the national average, followed by Toronto and Vancouver.
Alberta as a province has the highest rate of inequality across Canada.
So why does this matter?
Because 80 per cent of Canadians live in cities, and 40 per cent of them live in the four cities mentioned above.
Francis Fong, chief economist for CPA Canada said that the replacement of ‘middle-skilled jobs’ may have contributed to the rise in cities in particular. He added that cities aren’t equipped with the proper means to fight the problem because those resources and funding are usually found at the federal and provincial levels.
Studies have shown that countries with a high level of income inequality are unhappy, with people reporting lower life satisfaction and ‘more negative daily emotional experiences.’
One answer to this is union membership.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, researchers used data from five different years between 1980 and the mid-2000′s to study the effect of union membership on life satisfaction.
They found that overall union members are ‘more satisfied with their lives than those who are not members and that the substantive effect of union membership on life satisfaction is large and rivals other common predictors of quality of life.’
Unions built the middle class and guarantee their members good wages, collective bargains and health care benefits.
With the shrinking middle class and the steady rise of inequality, it is clear that unions are needed more now than ever in Canada.