Le Blogue Broadbent

Who represents Canada at the wealth inequality Olympics?

Canada's richest family, worth more than $20 billion thanks to inheritance and media holdings, are members of Club 85: the richest 85 people on the globe who own the wealth of half of the world's population.

Oxfam International's inequality index lays out how we got to a point where 85 families, including Canada's David Thomson and family, control as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population put together. 

That's 3.5 billion people.

"In developed and developing countries alike, we are increasingly living in a world where the lowest tax rates, the best health and education and the opportunity to influence are being given not just to the rich but also to their children," explains Oxfam's Winnie Byanyima, who is attending this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos.

"Without a concerted effort to tackle inequality, the cascade of privilege and of disadvantage will continue down the generations. We will soon live in a world where equality of opportunity is just a dream. In too many countries economic growth already amounts to little more than a 'winner takes all' windfall for the richest." 

Speaking of windfalls for the rich, Statistic Canada's upcoming Financial Security 2012 survey, expected to be released within weeks, will provide an updated snapshot of wealth inequality in Canada.

The last time Statistics Canada looked at assets, debts and net wealth of Canadians in 2005, it showed the top 20% of Canadian families held 75% of total household wealth, compared to 73% in 1999 and 69% in 1984. The bottom 20% didn't even register.