Equality Paper Commentary

Miles Corak: Inequality and life chances

While it is now only just over a year since the Occupy Wall Street movement began to draw attention to the wide and growing gulf between the 1% and the 99%, many have been quick to dismiss its staying power. After all, it was pointed out from the very beginning that the Occupy movement really did not have much to offer in terms of concrete policy proposals. But the vagueness OWS projects in terms of its policy proposals is hardly a basis for dismissing its significance.

Sheila Block: Austerity agenda will increase labour market inequality

Governments at all levels in Canada have embarked on an austerity agenda that includes reducing public sector employment and efforts to privatize public services. This policy direction will slow economic growth, harm the quality of public services, and the loss of services will have a larger impact on low-income Canadians than higher income Canadians. Along with these other impacts, this austerity agenda will increase income inequality.

Roy Culpeper: Inequality and economic liberalization

Increased inequality is a phenomenon that has affected many countries since the 1980s—industrial, emerging market and developing. At the same time, some countries have become more unequal than others. Thus, it is important to try to distinguish factors that have been at work universally from factors that have served either to retard or to exacerbate inequality at the national level. The latter category comprises, among others, income transfers, progressive income taxation and active labour market policies aimed at generating decent jobs and full employment. However, this note focuses on the former—the universal factors.

Sheila Block: Updating and Strengthening Employment Standards and Labour Relations Legislation

The potential for labour market regulation to address income inequality does not end with the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, or the federal government.

Christensen, Davison & Levac: Chronic housing needs in the Canadian North: Inequality of opportunity in northern communities

The Canadian North, which includes the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik, Labrador, and Nunatsiavut, is a vast region rich in Indigenous cultures, pristine landscapes and waterways, natural resources, and increasingly diverse communities. It is also a region known for having the highest rates of chronic housing need in Canada. Across the North, where more than half the population is Inuit (including Inuvialuit), First Nations (including Innu), or Métis, there is chronic housing need (lack of affordability, inadequacy, unsuitability, unavailability) and lower rates of home...

Peter Puxley: Overcoming Inequality in Canada: A Cultural Challenge?

The policy community praises the ideal of “evidence-based” policy – policy with a solid research base. In the real world, however, we all know that public policies, as implemented, are more often than not only vaguely related to research results and the best available data.

Sheila Block: Reducing Labour Market Inequality in Canada, Three Steps at a Time

This note looks at three policy initiatives that would improve working conditions for lower-income Canadians. Reflecting on the complexity of these issues, this would require action at all three levels of government. Two out of the three initiatives require changes in legislation or regulations and would therefore not have any impact on government budgets. However, all require political will to take on both established orthodoxy and vested interests.

Susan McDaniel: Fruits of the Earth: Not All Belong at the Top

Inequality seems to be the watchword of the moment in Fall 2012. It is on the minds of many, it seems, sometimes forming on surprising lips. Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, had this to say in a mid-September talk in Toronto to financiers, bankers, executives and lawyers: “In the U.S. over the last generation, we have been much better at generating wealth and much less good at distributing it." President Obama mentioned inequality in his...

Mel Watkins: Comment on Towards a More Equal Canada

It is uncertain which is more puzzling: the sudden surge in inequality in developed countries in recent times, or the failure of this to generate a sufficient response in the form of a countervailing politics.

Hugh Segal: Reflections on "Towards Equality"

When Red Tories hear that union leaders, trade union economists, academics and thoughtful politicians of the left (and Red Tories believe there are many) are planning to engage and advocate on the issue of inequality, we have cause to worry a little. We worry because their focus is often on legislating outcomes that must be glaringly and unabashedly equal. We also worry about polemicists on the far right who argue that most unequal outcomes happen because the winners worked harder, took more risks, had more skill and well, that's how freedom and free markets are supposed to work, even...

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