Top 1 per cent accounts for 10 per cent of Canada’s income

Are you making $201,400? If so, you're part of the top 1 per cent of earners accounting for one-tenth of the country's income, according to Statistics Canada data published on Monday.

The agency says that's down from a peak of 12.1 per cent in 2006, but well above the 7 per cent level seen in the early 1980s.

Monday's analysis is based on some 25.5 million tax filers in the country, and comparisons are made between 1982 and 2010.

In 2010, a tax filer needed an annual income of $201,400 to be in the top one per cent, compared to up from $147,500 in 1982, Statistics Canada said.

Looking back to 1982 -- when the agency started tracking this data -- the median income of the top 1 per cent of filers was $191,600. That was seven times higher than the median income of $28,000 for the other 99 per cent of filers.

In 2010, the median income of the top 1 per cent of filers was at $283,400, or roughly 10 times higher than the median income of $28,400 for the rest, the agency said.

"The income gap between the top 1 per cent and the rest of filers has widened over time," said Statistics Canada.

The examination also showed that if you make it to the top, you're more likely to stay there. Among those who were in the top 1 per cent in 1983, two-thirds were also in the top 1 per cent in 1982. By 2010, this "one-year measure of high income persistence had risen to 72 per cent," Statistics Canada said.

The data comes amid growing concerns about the income cap as reflected in the “Occupy” movement.

Brenda Lafleur, a program director at the Conference Board of Canada, said one of most worrisome findings in Monday's report is that the richest are staying rich for longer. "What that means is they're talking about income mobility," said Lafleur.

"There's always been this kind of myth that it doesn't matter too much if there's income inequality because if people invest in their education they too can grab the gains from a booming economy. What the Statcan release is showing is that is getting less and less of the case."

Taxes for the richest have steadily risen. In 2010, the top 1 per cent of filers paid 21.2 per cent of federal, provincial and territorial income taxes, up from 13.4 per cent in 1982. That peaked at 23.3 per cent in 2007. The share of income taxes paid by the rest fell to 78.8 per cent in 2010, from 86.6 per cent in 1982.

Elsewhere, men continued to dominate in Canada's top 1 per cent, but "women have made significant gains," accounting for 21 per cent of the total top earners in 2010, almost twice the proportion than in 1982.

Canada's growing income gapDavid McDonald, economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, on the growing gap between Canada's 1% and the rest of us

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