Nunavut’s rich-poor gap continues to grow, stats reveal
Top 10 per cent raked in one-third of total income
Nunavut’s affluent wage-earners continue to get richer, while the territory’s poorest are earning less.
That’s according to economic indicator statistics included with Nunavut’s Finance Minister Keith Peterson’s annual territorial budget, released Feb. 25 at Nunavut’s Legislative Assembly.
The top 10 per cent of earners in Nunavut account for over one-third — 34 per cent — of all income reported in the territory, according to Department of Finance statistics that compiled data for individual Nunavut tax filers for 2014.
That’s actually .8 per cent lower than similar statistics gathered in 2013, but the gross income for Nunavut’s highest pay bracket has increased by two per cent, averaging now at close to $121,341 per person.
Comparatively, the lowest earning 10 per cent of Nunavummiut reported incomes of less than $2,435 each, which is 7.5 per cent lower than the lowest group’s earnings from 2013.
Baker Lake MLA Simeon Mikkungwak asked Peterson, during question period at Nunavut’s legislature Feb. 26, if the finance department will consider Nunavut’s income inequality when reviewing the territory’s income tax system.
“The taxes that are paid are collected by the Government of Canada. They set their federal taxes. We set our territory’s taxes. We’re not contemplating any new taxes for Nunavut that I’m aware of,” Peterson said.
The finance minister went on to say the Government of Nunavut only controls salaries for its employees, and has no control over private businesses or other sectors of Nunavut’s economy.
The total sum of earnings for the top 10 per cent in Nunavut was $336 million in 2014. That means they earn more than a third of the territory’s total income, reported to be $989 million.
The Department of Finance’s report goes on to say that Nunavut’s progressive tax system means the higher income earners pay more taxes.
The top 10 per cent of income earners amounted to 49 per cent of Nunavut’s total assessed personal income taxes in 2014.
The statistics also don’t factor in non-income benefits for low earners, such as subsidized social housing.
According to the same report, the median income for all tax filers in Nunavut for 2014 was $26,100, up one per cent from the previous year.
That means 50 per cent of Nunavut tax filers reported earning less than $26,100 per year.