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Inequality in Canada

Socioeconomic inequality and uneven wealth distribution are among the most common social justice issues in every society. Unemployment, lack of opportunities, and unequal payment among employment are some of the leading causes of socioeconomic inequality. Canada, like other countries around the world, faces a challenge with social inequality and uneven distribution of wealth (Stigendal, 2018). The government has started initiatives to address the challenge and ensure increased social equality. Some of the initiatives include economic policies to reduce unemployment rates and increase minimum wages and pay equality. The government has also initiated social programs to aid the poor and marginalized (Stigendal, 2018). Most of these decisions and initiatives have responded to activist efforts that have been made over the years to attract the government’s attention to the plight of the poor and the marginalized. Activist groups have increasingly sought the assistance of famous and influential people to spread their messages and catch the attention of the masses and the government. Activists have also incorporated their messages in popular culture, such as film and music, a strategy that has proven effective in pushing for changes in government policy. It is essential to study and understand the causes of inequality to determine the most effective strategies to combat it in the future and mitigate its impacts in the process.

Numerous factors have served to cause the high social inequality in Canadian society. Among these is the coronavirus outbreak that started in December 2019 (, 2022). The coronavirus outbreak later evolved into a global pandemic that affected the global economy and many people’s ability to make a living. The virus outbreak forced many governments to impose lockdowns on their populations to control the spread of the virus. Such measures, while necessary, slower the global economy significantly (, 2022). Many businesses laid down large parts of their staff, retaining only those essential to daily operations. Some companies were affected irreparably by the economic downturn, some to the extent of closing down and laying off their entire staff. The coronavirus outbreak gave rise to a new phenomenon called remote working. Remote working is a practice where employees can work from their homes or other preferred location away from the office (, 2022). Communication would benefit primarily through information technology and is often only done when an urgent issue arises. Remote working was initially adopted to ensure social distancing and prevent the spread of the coronavirus among co-workers in the workplace. Many companies, however, retained remote working after the danger of the spread of coronavirus had lapsed because it is a unique and convenient way of reducing operating costs for companies while still gaining the most from their employees (, 2022). Employees become more productive as they create their ideal environment and self-motivate to achieve organizational goals.

Apart from the coronavirus outbreak, other factors play prominent roles in causing social inequality in Canada and around the world. Indeed, the global pandemic was the newest factor causing inequality, and its effects are more short-term than long-term. The actual cause of social inequality has longer-lasting impacts and affects a larger scale of the population than the coronavirus outbreak. Globalization is one of the leading causes of global and local inequality in countries such as Canada (Reza Nakhaie et al., 2007). With opening borders and global trade routes, more prosperous countries in the global economic north source products cheaply from those in the final economic south. One of the most common and high-demand goods that richer countries source from poorer ones is cheap labor (Reza Nakhaie et al., 2007). Richer countries seek to increase their manufacturing capacity by seeking cheap unskilled labor from underdeveloped or developing countries. Inversely, globalization also opens up new markets for export in high-tech companies that use more skilled labor (Reza Nakhaie et al., 2007). The impact is that there is less incentive to increase wages for unskilled labor within the country as most of their roles can be outsourced. Similarly, there is increased demand for highly skilled labor as the market for high-tech goods expands. The effect is a widening wage gap which ultimately leads to greater inequality within the countries in the global north, such as Canada.

Another factor that fuels inequality is technological advancement. The proliferation of technological inventions in the recent past has led to a paradigm shift in the world. Manufacturing is fast being replaced by technology as the most valuable facet of society to be employed in (Mohtadi & Castells-Quintana, 2021). Indeed, so important has technology become that the 21st century is vastly referred to as the century of the technological revolution. Consequently, possessing skills and knowledge in technology makes one more valuable than those who possess skills in the industry, regardless of experience and level of education. Companies are keen to attract the most talented people in the technology fields and, therefore, offer higher wages and better compensation in that industry. There is, however, less incentive for those who lack the relevant skillsets for the technology industry, leading to a widening wage gap between the industries (Mohtadi & Castells-Quintana, 2021). Another major challenge with technology is that it has rendered many positions held by the middle class obsolete as computers and machines can now do them. The conditions that technological advancements have created increase socioeconomic inequity in society.

Commodity price cycles also play a role in determining social inequality. Commodities’ prices are often driven by different market factors and the forces of demand and supply (, 2022). The prices of products are high when the demand surpasses the supply and low when there is a higher supply than demand. The relationship between demand and supply is one of the primary principles in economics and determines many socioeconomic practices, including the government’s economic policy. Commodity prices affect inflation but mainly only when they have affected the capital-intensive markets compared to the labor-intensive markets. Capital-intensive markets are those commodities more concerned with creating wealth, such as residential buildings, furniture, and banks (, 2022). The prices of such commodities have a ripple effect affecting the entire economy. An increase in housing prices, for instance, makes it difficult for low-income houses to afford to house. However, higher-income households can afford the houses and buy them either to sell at a profit or rent out to tenants. The impact is a widening income gap not created by the wage gap. For free markets such as Canada, the government cannot control commodity price life as that would be interfering with a free market and might affect its stability. The only form of intervention that the government can make is to adopt fiscal and monetary policies that create a balance between supply and demand (, 2022). The government’s main aim should be to increase employment rates and control inflation, giving the majority of the population relative purchase power. Through such a strategy, the people have enough purchasing power to control the market as they have greater bargaining power than the sellers.

As aforementioned, recent years have seen a proliferation of activist activity around the issue of social inequality in Canada. While activism is not a new phenomenon in the country, it gets more attention and has more reach now than in the past. With the advent of new information technologies such as smartphones, personal computers, and the internet and social media, activists can now film their actions and spread them to their audience (Wagner, 2021). These gadgets allow the activists to reach w broader audience and gain more significant support from people in different geographic locations. They also gain the attention of traditional mainstream media and get coverage as the larger the audience an event reaches, the more newsworthy it becomes (Wagner, 2021). Activists have also learned to seek the support and endorsements of famous individuals who share their beliefs and course. Celebrity involvement in activist activities gives them more traction, especially among their fans and followers (Wagner, 2021). All these factors have made activism in the 21st century more effective. Through such methods, activists have managed to reach the government’s attention and inspired policy changes that have had a powerful impact on the socioeconomic inequality issue in Canadian society.

The Canadian government, in response to increased public outcry and in keeping with its responsibility of addressing its population’s wellbeing, has adopted numerous changes to address the socioeconomic inequality in the country. Canada operates under an opportunity for all doctrine where every individual is exposed to the same opportunities and has an equal chance for success. However, that doctrine becomes detrimental when the opportunities are made scarce by market forces and other circumstances that are beyond human control. The government has, therefore, partnered with community organizations and the private sector to uplift all Canadians and reduce the poverty rates. The government has initiated multiple social security programs to help uplift some of the most adversely affected households out of poverty. These programs advance education, health, and housing inequality, the three vital social areas where inequality is most inhumane. The government started the Canada child benefits fund, where families receive financial aid to assist in bringing up children (Hee, 2022). The guaranteed income supplement fund is a program that gives money to senior citizens to help them retire with dignity (Hee, 2022). The Canadian workers’ benefit provides money for low-class families and the unemployed to help them escape poverty and join the middle class (Hee, 2022). These programs aim for the government to ensure that all Canadian citizens and residents can live in dignity, achieve resilience and security, and experience opportunity and inclusion. The government will effectively fight inequality and create a fair and just society through these strategies.


Hee, H. M. M. (2022). Social Inequality in Canada: Dimensions of disadvantage. OXFORD UNIV PRESS US. (2022). Introduction to inequality. IMF. Retrieved December 10, 2022, from

Mohtadi, S., & Castells-Quintana, D. (2021). The distributional dimension of the resource curse: Commodity price shocks and income inequality. Structural Change and Economic Dynamics59, 63–78.

Reza Nakhaie, M., Smylie, L. K., & Arnold, R. (2007). Social Inequalities, social capital, and health of Canadians. Review of Radical Political Economics39(4), 562–585.

Stigendal, M. (2018). Systemic causes of inequality. Combatting the Causes of Inequality Affecting Young People Across Europe, 47–62.

Wagner, L. (2021). Chapter 8 developing a repertoire of activism strategies. Language Activism, 188–214.


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