Inequality has been rising for three decades in Canada. In Vancouver, the gap also continues to grow. Inequality is associated with decreasing health outcomes, poorer education levels, higher rates of mental illness, higher levels of incarceration and less social mobility. Minimum wage, social assistance rates and income levels generally, have not kept pace with the cost of living in cities. The number of people who are self-employed and underemployed has grown, while seniors’ poverty has increased. On November 2, 2015, a six-member panel discussed the impacts of social inequality in Vancouver and offered policy ideas for civic governments to consider.
- Mary Clare Zak, Managing Director, Social Policy & Project Division, City of Vancouver;
- Matt Hern, Instructor at SFU Urban Studies, author of Common Ground in a Liquid City: Essays in Defense of an Urban Future, and Co-founder/Director of 2+10 Industries;
- Paul Taylor, Executive Director of Gordon Neighborhood House in the West End, and formerly Executive Director of the DTES Neighborhood House;
- Viveca Ellis, Single Mothers Alliance;
- Margot Young, Professor at the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia;
- Bill Beauregarde, Community Coordinator, Aboriginal Front Door Society; and,
- Moderator: Charlie Smith, Editor of the Georgia Straight.
The lecture and panel event is part of the Vancouver City Planning Commission’s program of dialogues on the future of the city. Current Commission initiatives are described here.