A few years ago, TD Bank Financial Group laid out a goal for Canadians: to raise the country’s standard of living above U.S. levels within 15 years. In 2002, the bank hosted the TD Forum on Canada’s Standard of Living, which brought together Canadians from all walks of life to develop practical suggestions for how to translate the standard of living challenge into reality. And, in support of that goal, TD Economics has produced a series of reports on the issue, focusing on the needs of Canada’s urban areas â€“ the locus of economic activity and population growth in the country, and the main battleground where the standard of living challenge will be won or lost.
One issue that has cropped up repeatedly in our research is the importance of developing a more effective and equitable income transfer system â€“ one that does a better job of bringing disadvantaged individuals into the economic mainstream. In 2004, the Toronto City Summit Alliance and St. Christopher House launched a task force devoted to this goal. The Task Force on Modernizing Income Security for Working Age Adults (MISWAA) is seeking to identify failings in the present income security system and lay out a road map for change â€“ objectives that mesh well with the TD standard of living challenge. TD is a member of the MISWAA Task Force and has conducted this background study to assist the Task Force with its deliberations and provide insight into the policy recommendations it is considering.