As more information comes to light about Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's meetings with Canada’s corporate elite at his annual summer economic policy 'retreat,' it is becoming increasingly clear that the federal Conservative Government is warming to one of the recommendations that was put forward at last year’s gathering. According to the country's fat cat CEOs and rightwing politicians, corporations can no longer afford to pay for 'overpriced Canadian Workers.'
But are Canadian wages actually too high? Statistics say otherwise. In a recent article released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), economist Andrew Jackson reports that wages have become much more unequal in the past thirty years, with a higher percentage of total wages and salaries going to the top one percent of Canadians (mainly senior corporate executives).
Furthermore, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports that, since 1990, six percent of Canada's total national income has shifted from wages paid to workers to corporate profits and executive pay.
In addition to these reports, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney has suggested that corporate Canada is not doing enough to drive growth and create jobs in this country. He has accused companies of sitting on piles of money that should be invested in workers, technology, and infrastructure in order to ease Canada’s economic woes. Statistics Canada also reports that, with the exception of financial institutions, Canadian corporations were sitting on $526 billion in earnings at the end of the first quarter of 2012, which is a forty-three percent increase since the recession ended in 2009.
In light of these facts, it is clear that the wages of Canadian workers are not causing Canada's economic problems, but rather the salaries of the top one percent and the huge stockpile of cash that Canadian corporations are sitting on instead of investing in the economy to create jobs and drive growth.