Quebec ineffective at reducing income inequality: study

The Quebec's model is successful at reducing income inequality, but is no better than much of the rest of Canada in helping those in lower income brackets from achieving new financial heights, according to a new study.

The findings were reported in "Is Quebec Equal?", a survey of economic mobility conducted by the Quebec Institute, a joint venture from HEC Montreal and the Conference Board of Canada.

The study concludes Quebec is among the provinces with the greatest income inequality before government intervention.

Yet it is "one of the most egalitarian provinces," according to Quebec Institute associate director Jean -Guy Côté, because of these government redistributions, including progressive taxation, tax credits and other benefits.

The problem is these policies create only short-term benefits, according to Cote, as they do not give low-income Quebecers adequate tools to change their financial fortunes.

To help the poorest have a greater chance of reaching a higher level of income, economists advocate more "social investment"—putting money in public education and post-secondary learning, and creating policies to promote the integration of immigrants.

The study notes social investment efforts would be as effective at combating income inequality, and would be cheaper on the public purse.