Social Equality in Canada

Introduction

Social equality is a situation where individuals from different regions, groups or nations have a similar status in regards to rights and class. The very least expectation of social equality has same rights through the constitution, which comprises of property rights and a balanced access to social amenities like schools, and hospitals. In Canada, only a small part of the population can finance the highest living standards (Banting & Myles, 2016). This provides the need for social equality which is important for adequate social harmony to advance collaboration as well as avoid social conflicts. Social equality creates a platform where everyone has a chance to advance in life. To achieve the need, I tend to create awareness on the impact of social inequality and to promote education through a service learning. The paper will reflect on the outcome of service learning project.

Sociological knowledge

Causes of social inequality in Canada

In Canada, only a section of the population can afford the top living standards. The statistic conducted in the country indicated that, from 2005 about 9% of the population held 57% of the national wealth. In 2010, the average income earner at the top 1% received ten times more compared to the average income earner of the other 99%. It is apparent that rich people receive the best schooling, and go to the best hospitals. I also discovered that wealthy people have decision-making power in Canada. As a result of this, they can grant themselves salary increment and bonuses which continues to widen the gap. These people continue to be wealthier compared to the poor who can hardly afford a good meal and better housing (Smith, 2014). These issues some of the drivers of social inequality in Canada.

Patterns of social inequality in Canada

Many people view Canada as a middle-class society where few people are rich, few people are poor, and most people are pretty well off. However, based on the data provided, the distribution of wealth is uneven. Many people in Canada still struggle to pay rent, purchase food and find work that pays a living wage. I have also observed that the income perceived to be in the middle-income have continued to decrease while the income taken by the wealthy people have continued to increase (Laurin, Gaucher & Kay, 2013). Besides, inequality is also prevalent based on gender. In Canada, statistics indicate that men tend to earn more compared to women even when the parties have a similar academic qualification. The immigrants do not receive similar income as the natives. Therefore, it is apparent that the imbalance in the social strata has been the cause of inadequate collaboration among the people. 

The information from sociological research into inequality is that the variation in income and wealth between the rich and the poor has been rising in Canada. For instance, in the 1980s, the top 1% of income earners accounted for about 7% of all income generated in Canada while in 2010, they accounted for about 10%. It is apparent that the incomes for the middle-income earners were constant over the last 30 years while the income for the top 1% increased steadily both in great terms and as a proportion of all the incomes (Solga, 2014). The trend has continued to the point that the rich have their schools where they pay high fees while the poor also have their schools where they pay less fees. In addition, the variation has also continued to the point that the wealthy class gets quality care because they can afford while the poor get healthcare in low-class hospitals in the country.

Developing and implementing the project

In this project, I was hesitant about getting the right information that related to the issue of social inequality in Canada. With this in mind, I knew that I would get something to do with poverty levels as well as gender disparity. It is apparent that one of the impacts of social inequality is increased poverty levels. Thus, after several suggestions and discussions from group members, we decided to visit a local women’s shelter known as CARES that has been trending in social media about the significance. Based on this need in society, I felt it was important to narrow down and connect with women being served by the agency. With help from my group, I contacted the agency, and we planned to prepare and make some donations. I realized that there is a high level of social inequality, and most people in this area go without things that wealthy, and middle-class people describe as basic. With the aid of community agency such as CARES, some of the primary needs of the community are met.

After studying the resources within the community and talking with the administrators of CARES, I learned that most of the programs are focused on advancing self-sufficiency. Most of the times, it can be simple to have a negative perception or various questions regarding lack of shelter. However, this is not a true picture of the homeless community. At the agency, most of the women have been displaced due to constant lack or seeking refuge from a violent partner relationship. In regards to this, it is important to provide services that will assist these women in getting jobs and promote independence. It is also important to create awareness on the impact of social inequality in society. Most of the social fights are as a result of social inequality in the country. For instance, men are perceived to have more power than women which promotes domestic disputes, as well as the rich, have power over the poor.

What I learned from the service-event

I learned that most people in this community are at risk of being the house of the effects of social inequality such as poverty, discrimination and domestic fights among others. There is a need for more agencies such as CARES to assist the people by educating them on how to handle the social inequality issues within the country. For instance, it is very hard to get a job without a good education. Thus, most of the women are still unaware of their rights as provided in the constitution.  Through education, they will be able to rise and challenge inequality, by reducing the number of poor and unemployed people in this community. They will be able to advocate for their rights from the government to influence the building of good hospitals and schools. Truly, this service learning opportunity was significant to the community as more than 75% of the population is made up of immigrants and females.

Experiences

This experience has taught me more about the importance of service learning that I thought I knew. I was able to learn about something I have been reading in the newspaper, and watching on the TV. Social inequality was not something new to me because the message is always there for people to see. For instance, big hospitals and good schools that only the rich can afford to pay as well as low-class hospitals and schools for the poor. However, through service learning, I was able to experience the other side of social inequality. It was so real that some people could live in such environments while others are living in mansions. I asked myself a lot of questions regarding the gap. More importantly, as a result of the project, I felt that the whole community service was a humbling experience by assisting to offer these women and children affected with just the most primary things such as food and important hygiene items.

Moreover, what amazed me the most on service-learning experience was the positive attitudes of the project beneficiaries. The women and children were so appreciative, cheerful and had a positive outlook and aspirations ahead of them, regardless of the issues they have experienced. I will go on to apply these skills by recognizing the positive attitudes of those who have less than me and remain humble and understanding of my patient’s case never to judge. In regards to this, I feel that we can have a small positive impact on the community by finishing this project. We managed to advance the state of their constant smiles by making a reality of their basic needs for a day. Besides, during the conversation with the administrator, I learned that the agency had transformed the lives of many people who are currently the major donors to the agency. Thus, it was a great experience to carry out the project from start to finish.

Service outcome

There were different service outcome for this project. The service project was able to transform our thoughts about a social problem as well as come to reality with victims of the issues. For instance, I developed the desire to educate the public on the impact of social inequality and to identify possible ways to help reduce the gap.  In regards to this, I determined that people who engage in a well-designed service learning experience an increase in the following.

Service learning outcomeExplanation
ToleranceThe people grow in appreciation of different culturesA positive view of important issues in life reducing the possibility of stereotypingThey can endure issues in life by reflecting and comparing their situations with others
Personal and interpersonal developmentLeadership skillsGains a sense of assisting people who are in diverse situations. For instance, they start to exercise love for everyoneDevelop an understanding of personal efficacyIt makes the participants have the skill in the ability to work with others despite their social, and economic backgroundA desire to include service to others in the community. They become an advocate for social equality by speaking out to the relevant authorities for inclusivity
Engagement and curiosity approachesThe participant in service learning was inspired to learn and know more about social inequality in CanadaThe participants in the service leaning had the desire to engage as well as do more to assist the people affected by inequalityThe participants developed the ability to ask and generate more questions in relation to social inequality issueThe gained skills for practical application of issues learned in class
Critical thinkingThe participants were able to determine the social problems as well as open up new ideas. We were aware of the social problems that are brought by social inequality. For example, the ability to link poverty and existing social inequalityThe participants were able to understand the consequences of greed and being selfish in life. For instance, the greed of some of the leaders resulted in social stratification that is evident in the community
CitizenshipWe attained the attributes of a citizenship framework such as making a difference in the society by solving a problem as well as understanding what should be done
Perspective transformationWe gained the ability to understand the root cause of social problems. For instance, in this case, the root cause of social problems is social inequalityThe projected provided the need for the group to influence the political structure to aid the poor people in the community. The group perceived a political structure that will have a representative who will make sure that the essential resources are established
Provided a platform for creating awarenessThe women and children in the agency were enlightened on important issues about social inequality. Through this, they learned that they are not alone in the fight against social stratification

Design

Community service projects are usually based on one event and have a clear destination. For instance, in this case, we decided to visit CARES located at a local community that has been assisting people who do not have issues. The project requires a lot of planning and adequate execution and are always attempted by people who have confidence in their ability to follow-up with the project. Thus, in designing the project, we carried out about 10 steps.

  • Determine what is needed in the community

In regards to this, with the help of the project, we decided to go for social equality since it is the solution for most social issues. Social inequality is the root for major social problems such as poverty, discrimination and family violence that are being witnessed in the society.

  • Identify our abilities

It is apparent that most people in these communities need financial as well as emotional support. So, we decided to make some contributions to give out to the agency as a donation. The participants who had experience in motivational talks were selected to encourage the victims.

  • Select a project

I wanted my group to make the best impact on the day of visitation to the agency. With the help of other group members, I was able to select activities that will be able to make a move impactful. For instance, it is going to be entirely a donation project, or it will be tailored with educational operations.

  • Come up with a plan

It is impossible to complete a project successfully without a good plan. It was important to draft the tasks that are to be achieved, a list of equipment required, as well as time aspect for the project. Moreover, it was also necessary to program for a background check about the environment to determine the possible liabilities and complications.

  • Make a budget

A budget is an estimate of expenditure for a given project over a specified duration. Since the project is based on donation and education services, it was important to prepare a budget. With help from the group, I outlined essential materials such as food for the donation, participant’s daily expenses, and emergency funds. I ensured that the budget was reasonable and manageable.

  • Make a timeline

The timeline indicates the time and the order in which activities are supposed to happen. I aligned the anticipated activities for the project with time. For example, by a particular date, some tasks such as fundraising should have been completed. This was important to make sure that the project flows effectively.

  • Raise funds for the project

The project requires funds to facilitate its operations. The food for the donation has to be purchased. With the help of the group, I mobilized some funds from support groups to ensure that the money will meet the intended purpose.

  • Carry out the project

After such an extensive project, it was important to set for the project. Together we started the journey to the CARES agency.

Process Diagram for the project

Sociological concepts and Paradigm

Sociological paradigm is described as the fundamental picture of a society which has been more or less accepted. I used concepts and paradigm such as social conflict, and feminism. Social conflict is a system that is attributed by social inequality which is where a given section of society benefits more than the other part of the society (Banting & Myles, 2016). It is apparent that conflict-based social inequality leads to a social change that is distinguished by power and inequality. On the other hand, feminism is described as advocacy for women’s right based on equality of gender. It involves aspects such as women’s rights and liberations to make sure that they are respected and treated with dignity.

Through the project, I experienced the practicality of sociological and concepts paradigm. I felt the magnitude and impact of social inequality. For instance, most of the women who are living in the agency are victims of domestic violence. Before the project, I believed that these issues have little impact on the victim. I did not know that most of the victims can lack a meal or even shelter. On the other hand, I also noticed the class difference between the rich and the poor. It was a representation of a conflict based on social inequality.

Conclusion

Social inequality is still a significant issue in most countries. The social strata in society are based on class difference and gender disparity. The society understands a woman as being weak; hence can be oppressed at will while men are perceived to be strong. From service learning, I learned that education is the main barrier to achieving social equality. Through education, women will be able to understand their rights and freedoms which will aid reduce domestic violence that is prevalence. On the other hand, through education the poor will get knowledge and skills to actively participate in the job market, thus reducing the income disparity between the rich and poor. Thus, I will advocate for everyone to get a quality education. I also need to learn other ways to achieve social equality.

References

Banting, K., & Myles, J. (2016). Framing the new inequality: The politics of income redistribution in Canada. Income Inequality: The Canadian Story. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy, 509-40.

Laurin, K., Gaucher, D., & Kay, A. (2013). Stability and the justification of social inequality. European Journal of Social Psychology, 43(4), 246-254.

Smith, M. (Ed.). (2014). Group politics and social movements in Canada. University of Toronto Press.

Solga, H. (2014). Education, economic inequality and the promises of the social investment state. Socio-Economic Review, 12(2), 269-297.