The gap between Canada's rich and poor appears to be closing, according to new Statistics Canada data.

Canada's wealthiest — or the top one per cent — saw their share of the country's total income fall to a six-year low in 2012, the federal agency said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the total income portion of the bottom 99 per cent increased for the first time since 1982.

To be classified a one per center, one needed to make a total income of at least $215,700 2012. That group carried 10.3 per cent of total income, a drop of 0.3 percentage points from 2011. Their share of income peaked at 12 per cent in 2006.

The new figures are in contrast to a September report from the think-tank the Broadbent Institute, which looked at wealth levels, not income — a subtle but important difference. That report looked at population deciles (10 chunks of 10 per cent each) and found that for some, the share of wealth had grown and for others, it had gotten smaller. Overall, however the Broadbent report showed "deep and persistent" wealth inequality.

South of the border, the low and medium-income earners are worse off. The income share of the richest Americans grew from 18 per cent in 2006 to 19.3 per cent in 2012. 

Record number of women in 1%

Inequality has been a contentious topic in the U.S. in recent years, as evidenced by Occupy Wall Street protests and fast-food worker strikes.

In Canada, some provinces also buck the national trend. The richest five per cent of people on Prince Edward Island, and in Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and Alberta saw their share of income tick up. No data was included for the bottom 99 per cent of those provinces. 

Statistics Canada also said a record number of women are bringing home big bucks.

While men still make up the majority of the one per cent, the number of women in that group reached a 31-year high in 2012. 

Out of the more than 260,000 Canadians in the top wealth pyramid, one in five was a woman — double the proportion in 1982.

INCOME OF CANADA'S TOP 1 PER CENT

Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story contained the term bottom feeders to describe low and medium-income earners. The offending phrase was replaced quickly the same day.
    Nov 21, 2014 2:07 PM ET