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  • Could skyrocketing private sector debt spell economic crisis? June 21, 2017
    Our latest report finds that Canada is racking up private sector debt faster than any other advanced economy in the world, putting the country at risk of serious economic consequences. The report, Addicted to Debt, reveals that Canada has added $1 trillion in private sector debt over the past five years, with the corporate sector […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Betting on Bitumen: Alberta's energy policies from Lougheed to Klein June 8, 2017
    The role of government in Alberta, both involvement and funding, has been critical in ensuring that more than narrow corporate interests were served in the development of the province’s bitumen resources.  A new report contrasts the approaches taken by two former premiers during the industry’s early development and rapid expansion periods.  The Lougheed government invested […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Canada-China FTA will leave workers worse off June 2, 2017
    Global Affairs Canada is currently consulting Canadians on a possible Canada-China free trade agreement. In CCPA’s submission to this process, CCPA senior researcher Scott Sinclair argues that an FTA based on Canada’s standard template would almost certainly reinforce rather than improve upon Canada’s imbalanced and deleterious trade with China. It can also be expected to […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Faulty assumptions about pipelines and tidewater access May 30, 2017
    The federal and Alberta governments and the oil industry argue that pipelines to tidewater will unlock new markets where Canadian oil can command a better price than in the US, where the majority of Canadian oil is currently exported. Both governments have approved Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project, but a new report finds that […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Weathering the storm: is this the end of CRA’s political activities audits? May 5, 2017
    Yesterday, following a panel’s recommendation to allow charities more freedom to speak out, the federal government decided to suspend the Canada Revenue Agency’s controversial political activities audit program. Indeed this is good news for Canadian charities. Everyone at the CCPA is proud of the role our organization has played in challenging these audits and in […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Race and Earnings and the Census

I’ve blogged previously on this topic but it is worth revisiting in light of the Census debate.  The gold standard for looking at racial pay gaps is analysis of differences in earnings between Canadian born whites and visible minorities since this excludes differences between immigrants and non immigrants (most importantly country of education and work experience.) This is really only possible using long form Census data since the sub populations of many Canadian born visible minority groups are quite small.

A study by Feng Hou and Simon Coulombe of Statistics Canada – ” Earnings Gaps for Canadian-Born Visible Minorities in the Public and Private Sectors” published in Canadian Public Policy (March, 2010) confirms that significant pay gaps in terms of annual earnings exist for racialized minorities which cannot be readily explained away (not that this will stop many economists from muttering incoherently about “unobserved heterogeneity”, nor likely give pause to Conservative politicians bent on eliminating the factual basis for claims that racial discrimination demonstrably exists.)

The study looks at earnings gaps between Canadian born whites and Canadian born visible minorities in the public and private sectors, and by gender. It calculates an adjusted gap which controls for other factors captured by the Census, notably level of education, years of potential work experience, official language ability, and detailed occupation, and employment status (full time or not.)

The racial pay gap thus calculated is largest -  8.5% less  for visible minority men in the private sector (about half of the “raw” difference before controls are added.) The gap is just 1.9% for men in the public sector. For women, the pay gap is 3.8% in the private sector and 2.9% in the public sector. The difference between the pay gap within the private and public sectors seems to be the result of employment equity policies operating in the latter (and perhaps unionization though there is no such variable in the Census.)

For private sector men, the adjusted racial pay gap is largest for blacks (15.7%) but still significant for South Asians (5.8%) and Chinese Canadians (5.2%.)

Will we ever see data for 2011? Will racial pay gaps narrow or widen as the Canadian born visible “minority” population grows to majority status among younger age groups in our largest cities? I don’t know, but I think it is important that we continue to get the data and the expert analysis from Statistics Canada.

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