Inequality Is Not Inevitable
L'inégalité n'est pas inévitable
This paper was written at the invitation of Canada 2020 as part of an anthology on five major challenges facing Canada. Contributing authors to The Canada We Want in 2020 project were asked to submit brief, focused papers on concrete and practicable steps that could be taken by the federal government to tackle one of the designated challenges – in this case, poverty and inequality.
The paper briefly explores the separate, but linked, problems of poverty and inequality in this country. It considers the many economic and social factors that contribute to high poverty and rising inequality. The negative consequences to both individuals and the broader society are discussed.
Poverty and inequality are complex problems that require a set of linked interventions related to affordable housing, early childhood development and child care, education and skills training, and decent employment opportunities that pay a living wage.
This paper focuses, however, upon the crucial redistributive role of the federal government through income security programs and a progressive income tax system. The Working Income Tax Benefit and Canada Child Tax Benefit are two levers that are currently in place. The authors argue for a substantial boost to these programs as a way to land a solid punch on poverty and inequality – now.
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