Canadians Underestimate Wealth Gap


    Canadians vastly underestimate the wealth gap in Canada and want a much more balanced distribution, says a survey by the Broadbent Institute. Canadians think the actual distribution of wealth in the country is much more unequal than the ideal, the survey shows. People think the richest 20 per cent in Canada own 10 times the wealth of the poorest 20 per cent ‒ 55.5 per cent of the wealth compared to 5.8 per cent. Canadians think there is still a sizeable middle class, though, and the poorest own at least some share of the pie. The reality is much worse. In fact the richest 20 per cent hold 67.4 per cent of all wealth, while the poorest 20 per cent do not control any wealth at all. In addition, Canadians say the ideal wealth distribution would see a healthy middle class with 60 per cent of Canadians in the middle owning roughly 60 per cent of the wealth. The richest 20 per cent would be three times richer than the poorest 20 per cent, who would still own a significant share of the pie ‒ 11.5 per cent compared to 30.3 per cent for the wealthiest fifth. “Canada is much more unequal than Canadians think it is and a far cry from what they think it should be. That holds true for people of all political stripes, including Conservative voters,” says Rick Smith, executive director. Fortunately, 73 per cent of Canadians believe government can do something to reduce it. Canadians of all political stripes are supportive of progressive policy options to reduce the gap, including 80 per cent who back increasing the federal income tax rate on the highest income tax bracket and 83 per cent supporting the idea of political parties taking a public pledge not to introduce any tax cut that may increase the gap.