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Over the past 50 years, wages in Canada have stayed the same while personal debt has quintupled. In Ontario, the percentage of workers in minimum wage jobs has increased 500% since 1997.
What has caused Canada to so completely miss the international trend to higher wages and fuller employment that many more successful nations in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) have enjoyed? How were their policies different?
Immigration Policy and the Economy
What really sets Canada apart from the vast majority of developed countries is its exceptionally high rate of immigration. The fact is we have the fastest growing labour force in the developed world, yet we do not set aside enough resources to train and equip this labour force properly.
Unemployment is not just about those actively seeking work, but also those whose skills are being wasted – the mis-employed and under-employed, and the idle discouraged workers who have given up looking and are therefore not counted as unemployed.
Instead of providing high-quality employment for Canadian workers, Canada’s national policies have been aimed at simple growth of the GDP no matter the cost to human welfare. The poor management of our human resources has led to a flood of low wage jobs and high levels of poverty.
Studies by the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (also discussed at Huffington Post) merely document what a long stream of forecasts and economic modelling research have predicted: when immigration increases, higher unemployment and lower wages are the result.
Mass immigration works only to expand the economy at the price of actually improving it. More does not mean better. It is impossible to maintain a viable social safety net on the backs of the working poor.
Reducing Unemployment and Increasing Wages
Our national goal should be to reduce unemployment and increase wages and working conditions to eliminate the social costs inherent with poverty. Right now, Canada’s policies are having exactly the opposite effect.