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  • Charting a path to $15/hour for all BC workers November 22, 2017
    In our submission to the BC Fair Wages Commission, the CCPA-BC highlighted the urgency for British Columbia to adopt a $15 minimum wage by March 2019. Read the submission. BC’s current minimum wage is a poverty-level wage. Low-wage workers need a significant boost to their income and they have been waiting a long time. Over 400,000 […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA-BC joins community, First Nation, environmental groups in call for public inquiry into fracking November 5, 2017
    Today the CCPA's BC Office joined with 16 other community, First Nation and environmental organizations to call for a full public inquiry into fracking in Britsh Columbia. The call on the new BC government is to broaden a promise first made by the NDP during the lead-up to the spring provincial election, and comes on […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Income gap persists for racialized people, recent immigrants, Indigenous people in Canada October 27, 2017
    In the Toronto Star, CCPA-Ontario senior economist Sheila Block digs into the latest Census release to reveal the persistent income gap between racialized people, recent immigrants, Indigenous people, and the rest of Canada.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA in Europe for CETA speaking tour October 17, 2017
    On September 21, Canada and the European Union announced that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a controversial NAFTA-plus free trade deal initiated by the Harper government and signed by Prime Minister Trudeau in 2016, was now provisionally in force. In Europe, however, more than 20 countries have yet to officially ratify the deal, […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Twelve year study of an inner-city neighbourhood October 12, 2017
    What does twelve years of community organizing look like for a North End Winnipeg neighbourhood?  Jessica Leigh survey's those years with the Dufferin community from a community development lens.  Read full report.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

TILMA and Medicare

An editorial in today’s Calgary Herald begins with the usual praise for TILMA, but ends by suggesting a new interprovincial deal on healthcare:

Yet, for Ottawa to attempt to remedy matters by intruding itself into relations between the provinces would not only provoke reflexive opposition but, even if carried through by force majeure, be unlikely to work.

Certainly, the Canada Health Act has not led to congruency among provincial health programs: Treatments approved in some provinces are not available in others, for instance, a reality that mocks the portability requirement of the act.

. . .

However, when two provinces agree to harmonize their standards while upholding their jurisdiction, the constitutional arguments are satisfied: The rest of the country should applaud their initiative and, it is to be hoped, seek to emulate their example.

. . .

First commerce, then health?

It is always advisable to walk, before attempting to run.

However, by attempting to show how mutual advantage can arise from friendly agreement, Canada’s two western provinces may turn out to be on the leading edge of a more efficient federalism.

The two governments deserve every encouragement in negotiating an agreement.

What does the Herald have in mind? The Canadian Press recently reported:

Alberta is taking a “leadership role” that he expects other provinces will follow, says the premier.

The strategy includes buying drugs with neighbouring provinces “on a much larger scale” to reduce costs, and using new labour mobility agreements to recruit doctors and nurses from other provinces.

Provincial governments co-operating to maximize their market power in buying pharmaceuticals is an excellent idea. However, progressives were proposing this approach long before corporate Canada’s latest round of hyperventilation about supposed “internal trade barriers”.

More generally, I suspect that many Canadians would not welcome the healthcare policies that Alberta’s Conservatives and BC’s Liberals would likely champion. Indeed, “the Canada Health Act has not led to congruency among provincial health programs” largely because these two provincial governments have aggressively deviated from this Act.

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