Much of the recent focus on increased inequality has been at the top of the income scale; these are important stories to tell but they are also easier to tell: rapacious financiers, powerful Bay Street lawyers, physicians who hold our lives in their hands, or the glamorous lives of the rich and famous. The stories of those of us who are left behind are more complex. But the fact that these stories are harder to tell does not mean that they should be ignored.
Today workers at Walmart will be walking off the job to protest their working conditions. They will be doing so without the legal protection of a union. The risks that these workers are taking should start an important conversation about our values in North America. It is a conversation that will have important repercussions for our health. The relationship between poverty, low income and ill health has been clearly established. Recent Canadian research has focused on the negative impact of precarious work and income inequality on our health.
In a series of blog posts for the Broadbent Institute, I look at three policy initiatives that would improve working conditions for lower-income Canadians.