Standard of Living: Canada vs Us

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Problem:
Having lived in the border town of Windsor, Ontario, for over ten years I have happened to observe some differences between the lifestyles of residents living in Canada and the United States; some differences being more apparent than others. To identify these differences, lets first look at the difference between standard of living and quality of life as these are specific terms I will use to identify the differences in lifestyles between Americans and Canadians. Standard of living refers to the level of wealth, comfort and material goods and necessities available to a certain socioeconomic class in a certain geographic area. Quality of life relates to the number and quality of basic benefits provided to all citizens. These include a strong social safety net, the number of freedoms and rights guaranteed to all individuals and a reasonable amount of equality among social classes. I typically see Americans enjoying a higher standard of living than Canadians and Canadians enjoying a higher quality of life than Americans. The following example can be taken to illustrate the higher standard of living in the US vs Canada. The average salary for a anaesthesiologist in the US is about one hundred and four thousand dollars higher than in Canada. Also, the average salary for a general surgeon in the US is about thirty one thousand dollars higher than in Canada (Physicians for National Health Program, For Medical Students, 2003). However Canada is consistently ranked higher than the US in terms of quality of life (Bloomberg Business Week, 2009). From these observations once can conclude that cost of living in Canada is higher than the US which is what causes many Canadian residents to maintain a lower standard of living than in the US. Windsor being a border town is significantly influenced by American beliefs, lifestyles and media than the other Canadian cities. Living so close to the border, some disadvantageous differences to Canadians become quite evident and tend to really tick me off as I live only a fifteen minute drive away from the border. The high cost of living in Canada is an impeding factor for many Canadians from living the same standard of living as their American counterparts. Especially, since the United states and Canada are very similar on several dimensions it is not necessary for them to differ so significantly in cost of living. Lets take a simple example such as the price of milk in which we would be able to illustrate this difference. The price of milk in Canada tends to be around three dollars and ninety seven cents for a four litre bag. If we look at the price of gas in Windsor, it is typically around one dollar per litre. Therefore the price of gas per litre and the price of milk per litre works out to be the same at about one dollar per litre. This is unacceptable as milk is an essential component in all human beings` nutrition and to price it the same as gas is ridiculous. We see minimum prices on certain basic grocery items due to price floors set by the Canadian government (Castro, J, 2009). When the price of essential items such as milk is high it causes the average propensity to save of local residents to reduced and disposable income to be further reduced. One of the reasons we see this difference between the US and Canada is because the American market is very large with several competitors competing to provide the best possible price and service to consumers . This healthy level of competition helps reduce prices and provide a better variety and quality of goods/services to consumers preventing the situation in which consumers are left with only a select few vendors to make their purchases from as we sometimes see in Canada. The Canadian market is quite small in comparison to the American market and the Canadian population is only that of one state in the United States, which means our economy is similar in size to that of the economy of one American state. If the cost of living...
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