While overall income has grown, so has the gap between the highest income earners and others
In 2016, the median after-tax income for the highest 10% of earners was $91,700. It was $31,100 for the other 90% of earners.
Median income levels in Ottawa have been growing for most income brackets, but income has risen more for top earners. The income gap between the top-earning 10% and the remaining 90% increased by almost 243% between 1986 and 2016.
All values are inflation-adjusted with a base year of 2015. Median incomes can be a more accurate measure than average incomes, with less distortion from the extremes.
- Statistics Canada. Table 11-10-0055-01 High income tax filers in Canada
Incomes on social assistance are far from adequate
Income from social assistance in Ontario (Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program) are barely sufficient to cover even shelter and food costs in Ottawa. A minimum wage earner with a partner and two dependents fairs modestly better once benefits are claimed, but would still have very little left for transportation, clothing and other items after paying housing and food costs.
- Ottawa Public Health. Nutritious Food Basket Report. 2017
Income has grown for minimum wage earners, but not for those on social assistance
Minimum wages grew, in real-dollar terms, between 2007 and 2010. This was followed by a three-year period of slight decline. Despite a boost in 2014, minimum wage income is still slightly below what it was in 2010 in terms of actual spending power.
Income on Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), once adjusted for inflation, has essentially remained flat over the past 7 years.
Because the rate changes for Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program happen at different times each year, the values used in this graphic are based on rates in December of each year. Values were adjusted for inflation using Statistics Canada's all-items CPI with a base year of 2014. Minimum wage estimated based on a 35 hour work week.
- Income Security Advocacy Centre. OW & ODSP Rates and OCB amounts.
- Ontario Ministry of Labour 2014. Minimum Wage in Ontario: Profile and Trends. Accessed December 1, 2015
- Statistics Canada. CANSIM Table 326-0020
Many Ottawa residents live in low income
Although Ottawa is a relatively wealthy city, large segments of the population live on low income. Immigrants, indigenous people and those living with disabilities are all disproportionately represented in the low-income population. Mental health or addiction issues and chronic physical illnesses also increase the risk of living on low income.
Median income for Ottawa residents over 65 is high compared to Canada as a whole, but as of 2016. 10% live in low income, and in some neighbourhoods the proportion is over 25%. Those living with low income in rural areas often experience greater challenges in accessing affordable transportation and services.
The low income measure used for the top three statistics in this graphic is the Low-income measure after tax (LIM-AT). The LIM-AT is 50% of the median after-tax income of households, but attributed down to the individual level. First, household after-tax income per individual is calculated to account for households of varying sizes. The LIM-AT is then 50% of the median of all these incomes. The low income measure used for the statistic on visible minority children is the Low-Income Cut-Off (LICO).
- City of Ottawa 2010. People Living in Poverty. Accessed April 11, 2016.
- Ottawa Neighbourhood Study 2011. Accessed April 11, 2016.
- Statistics Canada. CANSIM Table 111-0034