OECD research follows Conference Board of Canada's report highlighting problematic levels on income disparity in B.C.VANCOUVER – The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development's latest report reiterates that government needs to take concrete, immediate action against growing income inequality, says NDP leader Adrian Dix.
“The report released today by the OECD shows that Canada’s level of equality continues to decline due to an ever-widening wage gap," says Dix.
"This income disparity is particularly pronounced in our province. The Conference Board of Canada in July found that B.C. has some of the highest levels of income inequality in the nation.
“The OECD is also unequivocal that government take immediate, concrete steps to shrink this gap because of the serious risk it poses to our economy and society.
“In B.C. the NDP has been promoting a number of equality measures like addressing corporate taxes and investing in human capital to reverse the inequality that has grown dramatically under the current government.
"In the aftermath of the ruling Liberals spending ten years shifting the tax burden away from corporations and high income earners onto the middle and lower income earners, B.C.'s middle class is feeling a strain as never before," said Dix.
One NDP proposal to ease inequality will restore a minimum tax on financial institutions to pay for a $100 million needs-based student grant program that will help ensure young people and workers can access a post-secondary education necessary for higher wage jobs.
“The current level of student debt is $27,000, which can put post-secondary training out of reach for a significant number of young people and workers. Further, this kind of program is necessary to stave off the risk income inequality poses on our economic competitiveness. B.C. could be facing a labour shortage that could deter investment unless young people and workers pursue post-secondary training now,” said Dix.
The OECD, in a report it release today titled “Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising” found that the wage gap in Canada has grown, and is markedly higher than the OECD average.
It follows the Conference Board of Canada’s report about rising inequality, which highlighted that level of income disparity in B.C. was particularly problematic. In B.C., the top one per cent of income earners received twelve per cent of total income in 2007, only in Alberta did the top one per cent garner a greater share of the pie.