OTTAWA—A national survey of Canadian workers who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) during the pandemic lockdown say the income support not only gave them peace of mind, it helped them springboard back into the job market when the lockdowns lifted.
Inequality and poverty
Our experts at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives have long analyzed entrenched income inequality in Canada. We make a special focus of it in this issue of the Monitor. As Bruce Campbell, the CCPA’s former executive director, lays out in his comprehensive essay, How the CCPA sparked a national conversation about income inequality,”the CCPA grew out of a fight for greater equality and protection of Canada’s democracy.
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As the Winnipeg Free Press reported on June 27, 2023, the Manitoba government has recently earmarked $3.4 million to add 19 Crown prosecutors and six additional staff to Prosecution Services.
Click here to read the full report online. Ontario’s labour market went through a period of rapid changes between 2019 and 2022. The global pandemic that shut down much of the province’s economy drove the unemployment rate to 14 per cent by May 2020. Not long after, in 2021 and 2022, a rapid recovery pushed the unemployment rate back down to 5.3 per cent in December 2022. Rising wages and increased job vacancy rates were clear signs of tight labour markets as 2022 came to a close.
The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 triggered the introduction of public health measures that would close large sectors of the economy and send millions of workers home. In two short months, the unemployment rate reached 14.1 per cent—the highest level since 1936, in the midst of the Great Depression. In all, 2.7 million workers lost their job outright, while another 2.2 million lost all or half of their working hours. Many more would be affected in the months ahead as the economy recovered in fits and starts.
Income inequality is getting worse in Manitoba: the market income of the bottom 20 percent of Manitoba families declined while the top 20 percent of Manitoba families received greater income increases than the national average.
Claim: “Budget 2023 removes 47,400 low-income Manitobans from the tax rolls and saves the average family $1,000” Impact: More of the Basic Personal Amount tax change money will go to Manitoba’s richest 10% than the bottom 50% combined. The poorest 10% (100,100 Manitobans) get no benefit from this change as they don’t make enough to be on the tax rolls currently. The second-poorest 10% (990,900 Manitobans) saves only $74 by the increase in the Basic Personal Amount.
Previously published in the Brandon Sun and The Winnipeg Free Press, March 23, 2023 The 2023 Manitoba Budget released on March 7 announced close almost $1 billion in revenue cuts. Despite claims about affordability for low and middle-income households, most Manitoba families will not receive anything near the tax savings promoted by the province. Make no mistake, these tax cuts are a giveaway to the rich that will reduce our capacity to fund public services for years.
The 2023 Manitoba budget proposes over half a billion dollars in tax cuts, but many Manitobans won’t see a dime, while the richest Manitobans will get the lion’s share of this money. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has shown that over 100,000 Manitobans – those with the lowest income and most in need – will get nothing from these tax cuts. In fact, the bottom 500,000+ Manitobans will get less than the 100,000+ highest-income Manitobans.