Economic inequality, the uneven distribution of income and wealth, is one of the critical challenges of our time. The surge in inequality in Canada took off in the 1990s and remains high today.
This is not the society that Canadians want, yet successive governments have enabled it by dismantling our social safety net, eroding progressive taxation, and introducing policies that weaken unions and hurt working Canadians.
It is crucial to note that economic inequality does not affect all Canadians in the same way. Income and wealth disparities disproportionately impact women, racialized and Indigenous peoples. For Black and Indigenous peoples, income equality is compounded by the realities of anti-Black racism and the legacies of colonization in Canada. Recent immigrants make far less than their Canadian-born counterparts due to a lack of recognition of foreign credentials and other socioeconomic barriers. Finally, the wage gap between men and women persists while income data for transgendered and non-binary people are severely underreported.
This inequitable situation translates into less opportunity and social mobility for everyone, and is having a corrosive effect on everything from health outcomes to social cohesion and the functioning of our democracy. To reverse the growing gap and create a more fair and just society, progressives must demand public policies that focus on shared prosperity and equitable wealth distribution for all.