(Green Left, 1999).The gap between the rich and the poor is also soaring because vast most of the wealth generated from Canada's recent economic growth goes to the richest Canadians instead of being channeled to the poor Canadians who are the majority of the Canadian population.
The shrinking Middle class
According to Macionis & Gerber (2002), approximately 40 to 50% of the Canadian population belongs to the middle class. Due to its size, it heavily influences the nature of Canadian culture. This class has a considerable level of racial as well as ethnic diversity. This class is never characterized by familiarity and exclusivity with which the upper class carries. Over half of the families in this category are referred to as the "upper-middle" class and is characterized by families having incomes ranging $50,000- $100,000. The salaries of the upper middle class are mainly earned from professional and upper managerial positions (Macionis & Gerber (2002). The rest of the middle class population does work in less prestigious occupations that are white-collar or in highly skilled jobs that are blue-collar. The middle class has been noted be the dominant class in the Calgary Stampede
It has been noted that while persons in emerging countries appear to be doing better (improving), the Canadian middle class appears to be declining. According to Armine Yalnizyan, a distinguished economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, "The middle class is running faster to stay in the same place. And the promise of mobility, that notion that the future will be brighter for our children than for ourselves, appears to be in question" (Yalnizyan,2009b).
Vanishing of the middle-income jobs
The other reason as to why the middle class is vanishing is that the well-paying jobs that can sustain them are moving elsewhere. According to Statistics Canada (2010), Canada has lost several manufacturing jobs (322,000) in the period 2004-2008. At the same time, more than one out of seven manufacturing jobs does disappear over the period.
Effects of shrinking middle class
Interference with normal family life and poor children grades at school.
Yalnizyan (2009b) points out that the hard work that the declining middle class engage in cuts into their family life. The economist notes this using the case of two-income families that working two hours more than they did work ten years earlier. In the 1970s, the two-income families formed a majority of the population (30%).In the contemporary society however, an excess of 70% of the middle class require more than one income in order to continuing enjoying their middle class style of life. The fact that two earners work for longer hours mean that they have less time for their family. The outcome is that there is less time dedicated to the nurturing of children, and even less time in helping them with their homework....
The consequence is poor grades at school. Income is closely related to the level of education. Yalnizyan (2009b) point out that thus is not good for the Canadian society.
Decline in the size of middle-class neighborhoods
Hulchanski (2007) points out that in the period 1970-2000, the number of neighborhoods occupied by the middle class had decline in the city. At the same time, the number of low-income neighborhoods increased. The changes were very significant. The middle-class community for example declined from 66% in the 1970s to a mere 29% in the year 2005. Indeed Hulchanski (2007) noted that one always expects some numbers to rise while others reduce but this case was simply not consistent and was therefore very amazing (p.8). These changes also were observable both in Montreal and Vancouver.
Effect on Suburbia
Barber (2007) noted that the trend noted by Prof. Hulchanski was being replicated in the outer suburbs but at a much lower pace. His inevitable conclusion corresponded to the one by Hulchanski (2007) that the middle-income Toronto households were not just moving outside the city but were in fact disappearing from Toronto altogether!
The Canadian government should work together with the industry in order to notice and minimize this unacceptable trend. This is because they middle class are responsible to a large share of economic growth as well as productivity. The middle class also forms the majority of consumers in most businesses. They will lose their business as a result of lack of customers. The government too might lose its revenue and power as a result social unrest caused by job cuts
Baker, L (2009), "A boom in office towers in Calgary," New York Times, 2009-01-20
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Barber, J (2007).Toronto Divided: a Tale of Three Cities." John Barber, Globe and Mail,
December 20, 2007.
Browne, a (2008). Growing Gap Between Wealthy and Poor in Canada;Labour Standards Keep the Poor Down, Reducing Size of Middle Class. Available online at http://www.suite101.com/content/growing-gap-between-wealthy-and-poor-in-canada-a62596
Gingrich, P (2010).The Growing Income Gap in Saskatchewan. Available online at http://uregina.ca/~gingrich/gap.pdf accessed on 2.17.2010
Green Leaf (1999).Canada's growing gap between rich and poor. . Available online at http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/20482 accessed on 2.17.2010
Hulchanski, D (2007) the Three Cities within Toronto: Income polarization among Toronto's neighborhoods, 1970 -- 2000
Available online at http://www.urbancentre.utoronto.ca/pdfs/researchbulletins/CUCSRB41_Hulchanski_Three_Cities_Toronto.pdf accessed on 2.17.2011
Statistics Canada (2010)"Study: Trends in Manufacturing Employment.," February 20, 2009
Shaping a Future for Everyone: Income inequality not sustainable economically for any of us," CCPA Monitor, May 1, 2009
Yalnizyan, a (2009b)"Income Inequality and the Pursuit of Prosperity." Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, March 10, 2009.
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