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This article was published 22/3/2012 (2767 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg's sizzling real estate market continues to lead almost every other city in Canada this year, according to a new report, but it's a trend no one should celebrate, a University of British Columbia professor said Thursday.
Paul Kershaw, of the Human Early Learning Partnership at UBC, said as house prices go up, young families have less time and resources to raise children, if they're even having kids.
"Your escalation of house prices is outpacing the very, very modest growth in household income for young people," Kershaw said, explaining between 1976 and today, house prices are up 53 per cent in Manitoba.
"What it's resulting in is a dramatic decline in the standard of living for the generation that's in their prime child-rearing years because they have less time at home, they have less income after the cost of housing, and then they're squeezed for services like child care, which grow more and more important when you need two earners to make the same household income one earner often could a generation ago."
Kershaw was in Winnipeg speaking at an event hosted by the Winnipeg YMCA-YWCA and is to meet with provincial officials today on what he calls a silent generational crisis.
Despite higher wages and more women in the workforce, young Canadian couples are in worse financial shape than their parents were at their age, Kershaw said. House prices have skyrocketed and household incomes have flatlined since the mid-1970s, after adjusting for inflation.
Government can mitigate that by making parental leave and child care more affordable so parents don't take such a financial hit to raise children, he said. More importantly, Canadians under 45 must become more politically active, he added.
"The reality is Canadians haven't yet signalled they want to go from a bad generational deal to a new deal for families," he said. "That should be our priority. One of the major reasons we're not signalling that is that Canadians under age 45 are not strong in using their political voices.
"When push comes to shove, we are signalling other things, whether it's tax cuts or medical care or even the (Winnipeg) Jets and (more) jails.
"If you want to understand why a bad generational deal is emerging, it's in large part because it's become way too sexy for Canadians under 45 to say, 'Politics aren't about me. It doesn't matter if I vote,' and so we don't."
The Harper government gave the Winnipeg YMCA-YWCA $261,000 on Thursday to support its programs to help troubled young people find jobs.
The funding announcement was made at the downtown Y by Elmwood-Transcona MP Lawrence Toet.
Marlene Beaudet, the Winnipeg YMCA-YWCA's general manager of community initiatives said the money will go toward the Y's Youth Now program. It teaches participants communication and interview skills and puts them in on-the-job training placements to gain work experience.
"They may not have had their Grade 12 education or the skills on how to dress or anger management issues and have no job experience," she said. Participants are referred to the program by Employment and Income Assistance.