We hope you’ve enjoyed reading The Globe’s Wealth Paradox series, our 10-day in-depth examination of Canada’s growing income inequality and the best ideas available for improving upward mobility for all Canadians.
Before launching the Wealth Paradox series, The Globe asked readers whether, over time, they felt the income gap in Canada had become better or worse, and how they were getting by financially. More than 1,200 readers responded, many with personal stories about how they were struggling to stay afloat.
While 7 per cent of our poll respondents felt Canada’s income gap had improved over time, and 15 per cent said it was unchanged, a huge majority -- 78 per cent -- said it had worsened.
Asked to describe their own income compared to their expenses, 40 per cent of poll respondents said they were either falling behind in their finances (12 per cent) or just getting by (28 per cent).
Here’s what some of our readers had to say about their own financial situations and their prospects for upward mobility:
“Employers are working you harder and not compensating fairly. The sad part is, you work so hard, at the end of the day there is no time for anything else, including studying to further educate myself.” -- Karishma, financial administration, Mississauga, Ont.
“Everyone constantly pays more for gas, power, housing, food and taxes, but wages stay the same and many new jobs are part-time. You don't have to be an economist to see the gaps. Benefits and EI are hard to get.” -- Andrea, administrative personnel, Wolfville, N.S.
“I find it preposterous that I am better educated than my parents, have a better job, work much longer hours ... and yet paying for a mortgage, my children's education and my retirement is a struggle and means making huge sacrifices in terms of quality of life. Capitalism is broken.” -- S., director, Ottawa
“I feel I have a reasonable salary but by the time I pay my monthly expenses, including mortgage, there is nothing left over to set aside either for retirement or a rainy day.” -- Margie, health care professional, Halifax
“I think things have gotten out of hand when CEOs make hundreds if not thousands times as much as their employees. Minimum wage has not kept up with inflation and for most people it means living at a poverty level.” -- Ingrid, health care professional, Montreal
“Wages have been pushed down over the past three decades while cost of living has gone up. It's as simple as that. Employers are now trying to grind as much as they can out of their employees, causing short-term and long-term physical and mental health consequences.” -- Yvonne, programming professional, Sechelt, B.C.
“Housing costs rise, gas rises, hydro rises, minimum wage rises, yet professional salaries stay the same or drop.” -- Corey, professional, Ottawa
The Globe and Mail would like to thank the thousands of readers who took the time to comment on our Wealth Paradox features, vote for solutions in our poll and help us spread the word through social media. It's great feedback from our readers that helps us shape The Globe's Our Time to Lead projects.