There are various definitions of precisely who is middle class in Canada. The simplest is those who fall in the middle third of the income distribution. In Canada, that’s a broad category, with incomes ranging from as low as $35,000 to as high as $90,000. During the early post-war decades, this was a group that, generally speaking, was brimming with optimism. Incomes were rising, and there was no reason to think they’d stop. But when sociologists and economists talk about this group today, they inevitably point to one very troubling trend: over the past 25 years, middle-class incomes have not grown at all. In 1980, the median family income was $58,000. In 2006, over a quarter of a century later, that number had actually dropped to $57,700. (Both figures are expressed in 2005 dollars to remove the effects of inflation.)[1]

That doesn’t mean everyone has been treading water, though. As if to add insult to injury, while these median incomes have stagnated, those of the wealthy have been shooting up. Between 1992 and 2004, for instance, the average income of the top 10 per cent of families has jumped by 34 per cent, or by $55,000. For the top five per cent, according to a report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the average income has jumped by almost 44 per cent.[2]
  1. ^ Statistics Canada, 2009
  2. ^ 'The Dominance of Canada's 1%', Trish Hennessey, CCPA, 2013