Income Inequality in Canada | House Finance Committee Submissions

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The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), along with other unions, social justice organizations and individuals made submissions to the House of Commons Finance Committee’s study on income inequality.

CUPE’s submission can be downloaded here. CUPE explains that:

“Contrary to the false stereotype of overpaid public sector and unionized workers, the average income for CUPE members is about $40,000 per year. Tens of thousands of our members are paid less than $15 an hour and many, including educational assistants in our schools and workers in long-term care homes, receive less than $20,000 a year. The problems of growing income inequality are not just a matter of academic study. For our members, they are a fact of life. Our members devote their lives working, including as social and community workers, nurses and childcare workers, to deliver public services on the front lines. While all Canadians benefit from public services, those from the poor and lower income brackets depend on them. As a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives showed 1 the average value of public services delivered to each and every Canadian is $17,000 annually. This value is remarkably similar for all income levels, but at the lower end it is close to and often more than their monetary income. Cuts to public services worsen income inequality and hurt lower income Canadians the most.” Growing inequality is not just an issue of fairness, it is an issue for a stable economy. It is no coincidence that every major financial and economic crisis of capitalism, the recent crisis, the Great Depression in the 1930s and the Long Depression of the late 19th century, was preceded and caused by a period of rapidly increasing inequality.

Recent research from a range of sources indicates that: - Trickle-down economics does not work. - Increasing inequality leads to financial instability and crisis. - Growing levels of inequality are hurting our economy. All of us, especially those with lower incomes, are now paying the price for a financial and economic crisis caused by income inequality and economic policies that disproportionately benefit the top 1%.