Key income data goes missing

Understanding what has been happening in recent years with income inequality in Canada is vitally important.

What do we know, for example, about the incidence of low income and poverty, or the impact of taxes and income transfers on the level and distribution of family income? What are the differences in income across provinces, or between different kinds of families, such as seniors and lone-parent families? More pressingly from a public policy perspective, what difference has government policy made to the economic well-being of Canadian families and to the fairness and equity of Canadian society?

Answering these questions relies on having sound data that are reliable and comparable over time.

As Statistics Canada itself notes: “Governments use income statistics to develop income support programs and social services, such as the Canada Child Tax Benefit, Employment Insurance, provincial income supplements, and welfare payments.Private sector and public sector researchers as well as academics also use data on income, low income, income inequality and earnings from income surveys to study labour markets, industrial patterns or changes in family situations.”

With the release today of Statistics Canada’s Canadian Income Survey, there is now a major gap in these important statistics that make it very difficult to know if there have been important changes to the Canadian social and economic fabric.

Continue reading (The Broadbent Blog):

Andrew Jackson is a Senior Policy Advisor to the Broadbent Institute.

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