NEWS: NDP says budget won’t stop declining average Canadian incomes

OTTAWA - Today the NDP Finance and Trade critics released information showing the decrease of income share for most Canadian families since 1989. They pointed out that the policies of past Liberal and Conservative governments have dramatically failed in increasing the income share of Canadian families.

“The rich are getting richer and most Canadian families have seen their real income decline since 1989. The fact is the average income, before taxes and transfers for the majority of Canadians is lower today than in 1980. Most Canadian families are poorer, and the recent federal budget will not be helpful in fighting the family income crisis” said Finance Critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North).

Statistics reveal that income share after transfers for the richest 20% of Canadians has increased by over 15% since 1989 to nearly 50% of the total income pie which is becoming concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.

The Conference Board of Canada reports that the salaries of CEOs have increased by 41% in two years (2002 to 2004), and on average by 19% since 2001. Statistics Canada reports that in 2004 2.6 million Canadians worked overtime, an increase of 38% since 1997.

The top income category is earning on average $27,000 more than they did in 1980. Other Canadians have lost income. In fact Canadian households earning below $56,600 have seen a decrease in their average earnings, before tax and federal transfers to families.

“While the average CEO has experienced record growth in total compensation, about 20% a year, most Canadians are working longer and harder for less pay and a smaller piece of the pie… It is simplistic, naïve and even manipulative of the federal government to tell people that a tax cut will fix the problem” said International Trade Critic Peter Julian (Burnaby - New Westminster)

From 1989, the year the Free Trade Agreement was implemented, until 2004, the income loss in real terms has been equivalent to a week and a half of pay for Canadian households earning between $36,000 and $56,000. It has been greater for lower income categories.