Over the past 20 years, income inequality has been growing faster in Canada than in other similar countries. During this period about one third of all income growth has gone to the top 1%, leaving precious little to be shared among the remaining 99%. We know the inequality problem all too well, but what is the answer to addressing it?
There seem to be three main pillars that provide effective solutions: progressive taxation, a robust safety net, and ensuring fairness in the workplace. This third pillar includes raising the minimum wage in a transparent and predictable manner, improving associated employment standards legislation, and generally making sure labour laws have kept pace with what’s happening in workplaces across the country.
When Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz commented recently that unemployed youth can advance their careers by volunteering their services instead of expecting to be paid, he inadvertently unleashed a firestorm of criticism.
At the same time, he was merely giving voice to a rather obvious fact confronting younger job-seekers.