WATCH: Sean Mallen has the details of Ontario’s declining median income.
TORONTO – The Broadbent Institute says an abundance of low-paying jobs created since 2006 have led to Ontario’s median income falling in the province while it grew in every other province but British Columbia.
The Ottawa-based think tank analyzed Statistics Canada data on the media income across the country (half of people make more, half make less) and concluded that in every province but British Columbia and Ontario, the median grew.
In British Columbia, the median income fell 2.4 per cent from $29,917 to $29,200. In Ontario the number fell 1.7 per cent from $32,708 to $32,140.
“What that tells you is probably that wages below that level, very low income earners, have probably been falling to drag that number down,” Andrew Jackson, a researcher from the Broadbent Institute said.
The median income in Toronto also fell between 2006 and 2012 as manufacturers left the area. The median income decreased 2.8 per cent from $33,601 to $32,670.
“Certainly in the Greater Toronto area there’s a very high proportion of workers, about 1 in 5, that are in very insecure jobs, very low-wage jobs. They didn’t do very well in the recession; they haven’t done very well in the recovery since.”
But the median income grew everywhere else. Jackson’s report offers a number of reasons for that including people simply working more, higher-paying jobs being created, or if salaries increase.
And in some provinces where oil and other resources has been a boon to the economy the median income has grown significantly. Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, and Saskatchewan saw the greatest increases with 37.7 per cent, 12.9 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively.
Deena Ladd, a coordinator at the Workers Action Centre, a group representing low-income workers, suggested the rise of precarious, non-unionized employment has led to a poorer working environment for people in Ontario.
“We absolutely have seen in the last ten years, a huge, exponential growth in precarious employment, a huge growth in part-time work, temp agency work, contract work,” Ladd said. “And what we’ve also seen though is that the conditions at work declining in terms of the stagnation of wages, very little access to benefits and people really feeling the brunt of not having stable work.”
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a report in March, 2014 that found 32 per cent of part-time workers in Ontario would prefer full-time work – a number which is significantly higher than the rest of Canada.