Canada is not immune to the Trump effect: Income inequality must remain a top policy priority

February 23rd, 2017
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Montreal – Research shows that rising income inequality can give way to populist and protectionist movements and result in political uncertainty. Brexit and the results of the US election are clear manifestations of these dynamics at play. And Canada is not immune.

In Income Inequality: The Canadian Story, the fifth volume of The Art of the State series published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) a year ago, editors David Green, Craig Riddell and France St-Hilaire describe how inequality has increased significantly in Canada since the early 1980s, although the situation has stabilized since 2000 mainly as result of the resource boom.

But they warn that with the boom’s abrupt halt and signs of decline in income mobility, inequality could easily resume its upward path. They conclude that doing just more of the same policy-wise will not shelter us from these global trends and they propose an ambitious agenda for a more resilient and equal society that goes well beyond tinkering with the tax and transfer system.

“While there is much more awareness of these issues on the part of our governments than there was a year ago, there remains much discussion to be had about what is actually required to make much-talked about concepts like ‘inclusive economic growth’ and ‘inclusive trade’ truly meaningful,” says St-Hilaire.

In the run-up to the next federal budget, the IRPP is pleased to make available online an overview of the main findings of the book and the editors’ conclusions.

About the book: Income Inequality: The Canadian Story, is the result of a two-year collaboration between the IRPP and the Canadian Labour Market and Skills Researcher Network (CLRSN). As part of this project, twenty-seven leading economists and experts in the field examine income inequality trends in Canada, the factors contributing to its marked increase since the early 1980s, and the role of policy in addressing the problem.

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The Institute for Research on Public Policy is an independent, national, bilingual, not-for-profit organization based in Montreal. To receive updates from the IRPP, please subscribe to our e-mail list.

Media contact:    Shirley Cardenas    tel. 514-594-6877    scardenas@nullirpp.org