A number is never just a number: Year in review

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Editor's note: this column was originally featured on December 2, 2013

January 2

By 1:18 p.m. on this date most workers had just finished lunch on the first working day of the year, but Canada's highest paid 100 CEOs had already pocketed the equivalent of the average wage in Canada, $45,448. BTW: The CCPA's 2013 CEO pay clock is still ticking. (Source)

January 24

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence ended a six-week hunger strike whose aim was to spark federal political will to improve conditions on aboriginal reserves. Meanwhile, a movement called Idle No More, focused on Indigenous rights, began taking hold in the public eye. (Source and source)

January 28

Statistics Canada released data showing the richest one per cent of Canadians made almost $180,000 more in 2010 than they did in 1982 (adjusted for inflation). The bottom 90 per cent of Canadians saw income gains of only $1,700. (Source and source)


February 4

The Conference Board of Canada ranked Canada 12 out of 17 developed countries for its laggard performance on income inequality: "Since 1990, the richest 20 per cent of Canadians has increased its share of total national income, while the poorest and middle-income groups lost share." (Source)

March 25

The Globe and Mail launched its specialized 'time machine' showing young Canadians today have it worse in terms of jobs, tuition and housing costs. (Source)

April 6

News broke that one of Canada's 'big six' banks, RBC, was replacing Canadian staff with temporary foreign workers, sparking national outrage. (Source and source)

May 27

A Pew Research Centre poll showed three-quarters of Canadians think income inequality is getting worse; two-thirds said their children would be worse off than their parents. (Source and source)

June 18

RBC released a report showing Canadians with liquid assets worth $1 million or more enjoyed a 6.8 per cent wealth growth between 2011-12. Compare that to average household net worth growth in Canada in 2011-12: 1.4 per cent. (Source and source)

July 5

An unmanned 74-car freight train carrying crude oil derailed at hurtling speed into Quebec township Lac-Mégantic -- creating massive explosions that killed at least 42 people, devastated the town's centre and raised serious questions about railway cost-cutting and deregulation. (Source and source)

July 24

Canada's provincial and territorial leaders called for a national public inquiry into the 582 cases of missing or murdered aboriginal women and girls over 13 years in Canada, "ratcheting up the pressure on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to follow suit." (Source)

August 26

A CIBC World Markets report showed that while the attainment of post-secondary education in Canada is higher than all other OECD countries, the cost is about twice as high as the OECD average. And, comparatively, more Canadian graduates earn less than median income. (Source and source)

September 25

Ontario's Health Minister Deb Matthews blazed a new trail by encouraging Canadians to start a conversation about assisted suicide. It came on the heels of a posthumous video by SARS specialist Dr. Donald Low's YouTube plea eight days before he died of a brain tumour. (Source and source)

October 4

Four respected University of Toronto academics denounced Canada's mandatory census survey's inferior replacement, the National Household Survey, as so 'worthless' that it should be withdrawn. (Source)

November 8

The Globe and Mail, Canada's business newspaper of record, launched an investigative series on income inequality in Canada -- saying it "hurts every Canadian's chance of building a better life." (Source and source)

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative's Trish Hennessy has long been a fan of Harper Magazine's one-page list of eye-popping statistics, Harper's Index. Instead of wishing for a Canadian version to magically appear, she's created her own index -- a monthly listing of numbers about Canada and its place in the world. Hennessy's Index -- A number is never just a number -- comes out at the beginning of each month.

Photo: Michael DancingEagle Cassidy

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