Inequality of opportunity is a major problem in Canada. We all know that if you are born in a prosperous country, you have greater opportunity compared to someone born in a less prosperous country. But even in Canada, which is a prosperous country, there is a divide in opportunity between those who have money and resources, and those who don’t.
Popular belief is that the harder you work, the more rich and therefore more successful you will be. However according to the IMF (International Monetary Fund), economic inequality is more associated with inequality in opportunities. Which refutes the belief that the wealth you have is based on how hard you work. Which is why it is important we provide good opportunities to people who don’t have access to it. This is especially important to our society in order to give everyone a fair chance at achieving success.
A Statistics Canada report has also found that economic inequality correlates with the death of 40,000 Canadians a year. Which further emphasizes how differences in opportunity can massively result in different outcomes.
What both of these arguments and sources show is that since inequality of opportunity results in such unequal outcomes. We need to abandon the notion that success is based on hard work. We must acknowledge the fact that even when some people are placed in places where opportunity is scarce, they can still turn successful from hard work. However this idea only happens to lift up a few individuals and has failed to lift up communities. By reducing inequality in opportunity, it is possible to lift up communities of the disadvantaged.
Activists of the past have believed that we must give equal chances and opportunities to everyone. We as a society have done things like university program advantages to LGBTQ+ and people of color. However these are bandage solutions. Even in today’s world. According to a 2016 Canadian Census report, the average black man’s Canadian income is $37,152 and the average non-visible minority man’s Canadian income is $60,437.
Why is the pay gap so massive? This is because after slavery was abolished, black people started with no wealth while white people had the wealth. This advantage of initial wealth leads to the inequality we see today. The lack of wealth black people have leads to not being able to afford college or being able to afford a house, both of which are vital for building wealth.
Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Fred Hampton all advocated for wealth redistribution to the black race in order to correct this systemic inequality in wealth. It might not even be an unreasonable idea today. The wealth gap is still massive between men and women, white people and black people and we have lots of progress that needs to be made in order for the youth of today to have access to opportunities other people have.
Although there are multiple solutions proposed by all people from different areas of political thought, it is clear that something has to be done. No progress will just further exacerbate inequality in opportunity and will prevent success to all peoples.
Anderson, Natalya. “The Black Wealth Gap in Canada.” canadianfamilyoffices. Canadian Family Offices, July 20, 2021. https://canadianfamilyoffices.com/wealth/the-black-wealth-gap-in-canada
“Catalyst for Change: Empowering Women and Tackling Income.” Accessed April 18, 2022. https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2015/sdn1520.pdf
Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. “Cause-Specific Mortality by Income Adequacy in Canada: A 16-Year Follow-up Study.” Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. Government Of Canada, November 27, 2015. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2013007/article/11852-eng.htm
Shimmin, Carolyn. “The 5 Things You Need to Know about Canadian Economic Inequality.” HuffPost. HuffPost, January 11, 2017. https://www.huffpost.com/archive/ca/entry/5-canadian-economic-inequality-facts_b_8940992