Wealth distribution uneven in Canada

By Staff | December 19, 2014 | Last updated on December 19, 2014
2 min read

Canadians vastly underestimate the wealth gap in Canada, and want a much more balanced distribution, finds a poll by Broadbent Institute.

“Canada is much more unequal than Canadians think it is and a far cry from what they think it should be. That holds true for people of all political stripes, including Conservative voters,” says Rick Smith, executive director of the Broadbent Institute.

Read: Canada’s child poverty rate dips

According to the poll of 3,000 Canadians, the ideal wealth distribution would see 60% of Canadians in the middle class owning roughly 60% of the wealth. The richest 20% would be three times richer than the poorest 20%, who would still own a significant share of the pie — 11.5% compared to 30.3% for the wealthiest fifth.

Canadians think the actual distribution of wealth in the country is much more unequal than the ideal, the survey shows. People think the richest 20% in Canada own 10 times the wealth of the poorest 20% — 55.5% of the wealth compared to 5.8%. And they think there’s still a sizeable middle class, and the poorest own at least some share of the pie.

Read: Economy on track for increased growth

As bad as Canadians think wealth inequality is, the reality is much worse. The richest 20% hold 67.4% of all wealth, while the poorest 20% don’t control any wealth at all.

Other key findings include:

  • 80% say the gap between the rich and everybody else has increased over the last 10 years;
  • 73% Canadians believe government can do something to reduce the wealth gap; and
  • 80% suggest increasing the federal income tax rate on the highest income tax bracket.
Advisor.ca staff


The staff of Advisor.ca have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.