Canadians want to reform capitalism, wealth inequality

Fairness and sustainability must be at the centre of reforms according to a new report

Canadians want to reform capitalism, wealth inequality
Steve Randall

This year has produced an exceptional focus on how things can and should be done differently.

With investors and the wider population adapting to the new normal, 2020 has intensified existing trends towards demand for a fairer society and an economy that has sustainability at its core.

Canadians want capitalism to be reformed to address issues such as wealth inequality and environmental and climate challenges.

A new survey from the Canadian Centre for the Purpose of the Corporation (CCPC) reveals how, even during a health crisis, Canadians are focused on the bigger picture.

"What is even more remarkable about this finding is that in the midst of a global pandemic and with much uncertainty facing the world economy, Canadians are largely focused on inequality, inequity, and the environment rather than solely concerned about health care or the economy," said CCPC CEO Brian Gallant.

Businesses should do more
While the respondents recognize the importance of businesses to the economy, they believe that they should do more to address the key issues of wealth inequality, environment/climate change, and inequitable treatment/discrimination.

More than half of respondents said that capitalism should be reformed so that it is more inclusive, fairer and more sustainable. Less than half (48%) indicate that business is "a force of good within society."

Although the majority (62%) of Canadians agree that if corporations in Canada do better, Canadians do better, more than three-quarters (78%) think Canadian businesses should contribute more to the betterment of society.

Stakeholders not shareholders
Only 16% of Canadians agreed with the traditional "shareholder model" of business, where firms' only concern is the satisfaction of their shareholders.

Instead, 84% favour a stakeholder model where businesses take into consideration all stakeholders (e.g. communities in which they operate, their employees, their retirees, consumers, governments) on par with those of shareholders.

The survey was conducted among more than 3,000 Canadians aged 16+ and was in partnership with Navigator.