BC FORUM News - from The Advocate, Spring 2015
Age, not gender, is the new income divide in Canada
by David J.A. Porteous, EPC
Age, not gender, is increasingly at the heart of income inequality in Canada, says the Conference Board of Canada.
In a new study they warn economic growth and social stability will be at risk if companies don’t start paying better wages.
The study suggests younger workers in Canada are making less money relative to their elders regardless of whether they’re male or female, individuals or couples, and both before and after tax.
The average disposable income of Canadians between the ages of 50 and 54 is now 64% higher than that of 25 to 29 year olds, the report found. That’s up from 47% in the mid 1980s.
We all know the stories – many of our kids are still stuck living with their parents, still in low-end service jobs that don’t really take advantage of the education we’ve paid for.
One of the co-authors David Stewart- Paterson, pointed out that Canadian earners fought for principles of equal work for equal value, yet their children now face lower wages and reduced pension and benefits even if they’re doing the same work at the same employer.
“From skyrocketing tuition to the increasing cost of home ownership to the prospect of stagnating wages and precarious work – young Canadians are increasingly on shaky financial footing and not able to get ahead.”
Politicians need to get serious about intergenerational equity. This issue has the potential to cause damaging social and economic consequences.
Canada therefore needs average employment incomes to rise – not fall behind – in order to pay for increasing health-care costs, among a host of other expenses of future generations.
David was granted a Charter Member Status for the Canadian Initiative for Elder Planning Studies in 2003 and holds an Elder Planning Councilor Designation. He is a member of UFCW Local 1518.