Canada’s ‘social’ score dragged down by poverty, inequality: report

OTTAWA — A new report says Canada’s social fabric is being torn by rising income inequality and stagnant child poverty rates.

OTTAWA — A new report says Canada’s social fabric is being torn by rising income inequality and stagnant child poverty rates.

The Conference Board of Canada report compares Canada with other developed countries on 16 “society indicators” including unemployment, voter turnout, life satisfaction and economic and cultural yardsticks.

The annual social report card says that while Canada gets good grades in areas such as serious crime and tolerance of diversity, its overall “B” ranking placing it 7th out of 17 countries, is largely due to high poverty rates for children and working-age adults.

It also says the growing concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer people, and the fact that women are often paid less than men for the same work, are additional factors in Canada’s less than stellar social performance.

Author Brenda Lafleur says economic growth is put at risk with roughly one in six children living in poverty, and one in 10 adults also falling below the poverty line.

She says the growing child poverty rate — up nearly 20 per cent since the mid-1990s — could put Canada’s economy at risk, since youth who don’t benefit from the economy are less likely to upgrade their skills through more school.

Lafleur also pointed to signs that income mobility — which netted Canada an “A” grade — is becoming more and more “sticky,” meaning children are less likely to out-earn their parents.

But she said poverty rates and the economic and “moral problem” of income inequality are not insolvable problems. She said they can be fixed through public and political will, just as elderly poverty rates plummeted to the current five per cent from 30 per cent three decades ago after it became a national scandal.

“If we want to address a problem like child poverty or working-age poverty, we know we can do it — we just have to work together and actually decide that it is a problem,” Lafleur said.

Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland and Austria took the top six spots — all earning “A” ratings in the Conference Board report.

“(Canada’s) position below the Nordic countries is not surprising; the Nordic countries have long outperformed Canada,” the report stated.

“But our country now also ranks below the Netherlands and Austria,” the report said. “Our middle-of-the-pack ranking means we are not living up to our potential.”

The United States placed last behind Japan, with both countries earning a “D” rating.

The Conference Board said Canada is a top performer in acceptance of diversity and above average in areas such as life satisfaction, income mobility, disabled income and suicides.

Canada needs improvement in the areas where it is “significantly below average” such as child poverty, working-age poverty, income inequality, the gender income gap, and voter turnout, the report said.

Just Posted

Canadians to mark Remembrance Day this morning

OTTAWA — Canadians will gather at cenotaphs and monuments across the country… Continue reading

Canada supports genocide case against Myanmar at International Court of Justice

OTTAWA — Canada is supporting a genocide lawsuit against the Myanmar government… Continue reading

Kenney’s plan to advance Alberta’s interest receives mixed reviews

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s how Laura feels about… Continue reading

Alberta’s unemployment numbers up in October

The latest jobs report from Statistics Canada’s pegs Alberta’s seasonally adjusted unemployment… Continue reading

Kenney announces ‘Fair Deal Panel’ to advance Alberta’s interests, like pipelines

RED DEER, Alta. — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced the creation of… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Wednesday Pain 101 class — learn to take control of your chronic… Continue reading

With silence and salutes, Canadians mark Remembrance Day

OTTAWA — Eleven tolls from the Peace Tower filled the air around… Continue reading

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is calling on the prime minister… Continue reading

Opinion: Kenney plainly explains why Alberta deserves a fairer deal

By David Marsden It had been expected that Premier Jason Kenney would… Continue reading

Bolivian president learns it’s best to rig votes from the start

“Democracy is in danger in Bolivia as the result of legitimate pressures… Continue reading

Tech companies rush to fight misinformation ahead of UK vote

LONDON — Facebook is opening up a war room to quickly respond… Continue reading

Blue Bombers employ one-two QB punch to advance to CFL West final

CALGARY — Zach Collaros is going back to where he started his… Continue reading

Rebirth, angst and the ‘new normal’ of California wildfires

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Tina Chandler walks outside her home and sniffs… Continue reading

Most Read