On May 23, Statistics Canada released an interesting and widely reported study by Yuri Ostrovsky, with the title “Doing as Well as One's Parents?” It showed that some two thirds of Canadian children born between 1970 and 1984 (broadly speaking, the children of baby-boomers) had, at age 30, family incomes at least as high as their parents at the same age and that this proportion has been stable.
Understanding what has been happening in recent years with income inequality in Canada is vitally important.
What do we know, for example, about the incidence of low income and poverty, or the impact of taxes and income transfers on the level and distribution of family income? What are the differences in income across provinces, or between different kinds of families, such as seniors and lone-parent families? More pressingly from a public policy perspective, what difference has government policy made to the economic well-being of Canadian families and to the fairness and equity of Canadian society?
Answering these questions relies on having sound data that are reliable and comparable over time.
Labour market data in Canada is easily available by sex, age, and region. We spend a great deal of time talking about these factors. More recently, Statistics Canada made labour market data available on CANSIM by landed immigrant status, going back to 2006. This factor is included less often in most labour market analysis, and too few know that it is even available.
But if you want to know how racialized workers or Indigenous workers (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples) are doing in the labour force, you basically have to rely on the census … oh, wait. And on top of eliminating the census, the Harper government shut down the First Nations Statistical Institute.