How long did it take you to get to work this morning?
What was your mood when you arrived?
While our cities expand, so do the costs of running them and living in them, yet the quality of life within them is declining. While everyone can see the congestion and gridlock on our roads, not enough people are talking about commuter stress and what causes it.
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?
The Human Effort Index looks at how hard people have to work to produce the food, clothing and shelter we need, along with the extra material comforts we crave.
In regions with moderate climate and abundant resources, it’s taken relatively little effort to produce a good living. In more marginal lands with harsher climates, much more effort is required for survival.
In the Canadian Arctic, for example, indigenous people had to work constantly to eke out the barest living, often punctuated by periods of starvation and population decline. Their material possessions were minimal, their food storage capacity low and their educational system completely survival oriented.