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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

Barrie McKenna’s Three Strikes on Internal Trade

I appreciate a compelling headline, but “The Walls that Divide Us” in today’s Globe and Mail is way over the top. For building the myth of “internal trade barriers,” Barrie McKenna’s column should have been entitled, “Another Brick in the Wall.” Three claims are especially questionable.

First, “A recent back-of-the-envelope calculation by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute puts the tally of internal trade barriers at 0.5 per cent of GDP, or $8-billion a year.” (The online edition even reiterated this assertion as a secondary headline.)

In fact, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute provided no calculation, back-of-the-envelope or otherwise. It simply picked 0.5% of GDP out of the air. But I guess since The Toronto Sun and National Post had already repeated this figure, it was The Globe and Mail’s turn.

Second, “Alberta insists that only provincially certified welders assemble components used in the oil sands and other projects.” I am no expert on welding certification in Alberta, but the province generally recognizes inter-provincial Red Seal standards for the skilled trades. The Alberta regulatory authority’s website makes it seem pretty straightforward for welders to transfer in from other provinces.

Third, “Carole Presseault, vice-president of government and regulatory affairs for the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada, argues that U.S. accountants face fewer restrictions working in Ontario than accountants from elsewhere in Canada. . . . Ontario deems that Certified Public Accountants and Certified Management Accountants from the rest of Canada aren’t fit to work in the province.”

It is true that Ontario requires that public accounting be performed by Chartered Accountants, while other provinces permit other classes of accountants to do this work. So, an American Chartered Accountant may be better placed than a Canadian Certified Management Accountant to practice public accounting in Ontario.

However, Ontario is not discriminating against accountants because they are from other provinces, but rather preferring one type of accountant over other types of accountants. McKenna’s column sheds no light on whether that preference is justified. In any case, it is hardly an “internal trade barrier.”

UPDATE (September 17): I missed it at the time, but The Jurist also posted a great response to McKenna’s column.

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