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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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Archive for September, 2013

IPCC: Time for a Global Carbon Budget

Political commitments on climate action, to the extent they exist, are usually pitched in terms of targets and timelines. BC, for example, has a legislated target of 33% below 2007 levels by 2020; Canada’s official target is a 17% reduction by 2020 relative to 2005 levels. Neither target will be met under status quo policy, […]

The Staple Theory @ 50: Hugh Grant and David Wolfe

For the next installment in our special series of commentaries marking the 50th anniversary of Mel Watkins’ classic article, “A Staple Theory of Economic Development,” we provide excerpts from the preface to an edited collection of Mel’s writings assembled by Hugh Grant and David Wolfe, which provides some great personal perspective on Mel’s personality and passion. […]

Sask. Party Spin Outstrips Population Growth

Sask. Party spin appears to be growing even faster than the province’s population. Today’s Saskatchewan government news release quotes Premier Wall as saying, “We have the strongest job growth and lowest unemployment in Canada.” By what measure does Saskatchewan have the strongest job growth? Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey indicates that employment grew by 2.9 per […]

The Staple Theory @ 50: Abe Rotstein

Here is the first contribution to our special series of commentaries marking the 50th Anniversary of the publication of “A Staple Theory of Economic Growth,” by Mel Watkins, in the Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science.   The author, Abe Rotstein, was a colleague with Mel at the University of Toronto, and a founder of […]

The Staple Theory @ 50: Introduction to a Special Blog Series

In my job as economist for Unifor (and before that the CAW), I have had a long-time interest in more sustainable and sensible policies for managing Canada’s resource wealth. The challenge, given the lucrative but fleeting nature of resource booms, is to leverage Canada’s resource wealth in a manner that stimulates a more diversified, inclusive, […]

The benefits of sick leave — and of absenteeism

Most of us know the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”   That’s why we’re told by teachers to keep our kids home from school when they’re sick, so they get better and they don’t get others sick as well.  It’s why there’s increased focus on leading healthy lives, prevention […]

The Blackberry mess and what Canada needs

Another year, another dead Canadian tech giant.  Blackberry was sold yesterday for scrap to the Toronto private equity firm Fairfax.  The purchase price of $4.7 billion is essentially valued at its cash of $2.6 billion and the value of its patents.  Blackberry’s active businesses are being valued at essentially nothing.  If Fairfax can stop the […]

The rise and fall (and rise?) of Blackberry – the story that just won’t quit

The rise and fall (and rise?) of Blackberry is a story that has gripped our attention, and not just because it affects so many Canadians. It’s because this tumultuous story has more plot twists than a thriller. Yesterday the company stole the spotlight yet again with news that its future might not be dashed after […]

Regina’s P3 Columnists

As the referendum on whether to privatize Regina’s wastewater plant nears, the Regina Leader-Post is printing a column a day advocating the P3: John Gormley on Friday, Bruce Johnstone on Saturday, and Murray Mandryk today. Johnstone and Mandryk repeat three of the City’s key claims. Gormley only gets to one of these claims because he […]

Inflation Slump Validates Low Interest Rates

Today, Statistics Canada reported inflation of 1.1% for August, even lower than June and July. But even at this anemic level, inflation is eating up three-quarters of wage gains. The Labour Force Survey indicates that Canada’s average hourly wage rose by only 1.5% between August 2012 and August 2013. Subdued inflation and the weak job […]

What’s the real risk and cost for Regina’s wastewater P3?

The City of Regina is engaged in a controversial debate about a proposed public private partnership (P3) for the city’s wastewater plant. Residents formed a Regina Water Watch group to keep the facility public.  They collected enough names to take the issue to a municipal referendum on September 25th, despite attempts by the city to […]

More on alternate measures of unemployment

I’ve mentioned differences between Statistics Canada’s R8 measure and the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics’ U6 measure before, but I think it’s worth covering again. R8 is Canada’s broadest measure of unemployment, and includes discouraged workers, workers waiting for a job to begin, and a portion of involuntary part-time. The most recent value for R8 […]

Trickle Down Would Work If It Weren’t For The Sponges At The Top

This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab. Five years after a global economic crisis unleashed chaos on markets everywhere, income inequality has become an inescapable political and economic issue, in Canada as elsewhere. That’s because of mounting evidence that the increasingly skewed distribution of gains from economic growth slows future growth potential, […]

Black Day for EI in July

Today, Statistics Canada reported a large monthly drop of 10,900 for July in the number of Canadians receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. Its press release noted, “This decline brings the number of beneficiaries to a level similar to that observed before the start of the labour-market downturn in 2008.” But the number of unemployed […]

Unemployment is higher than you think.

Every month, Statistics Canada comes out with the unemployment rate, and every month it gets a lot of attention. But the unemployment rate provides quite limited information about the actual health of the labour market. The addition of two other pieces of information nearly doubles the unemployment rate: the proportion of the labour market employed […]

Who really bears the risk for P3s?

Canada is now the second biggest market for public private partnerships (P3s) in the world, as a recent Conference Board report showed (on page 30, see my initial critique here). P3s are big business: Canadian governments closed deals on a reported $7 billion in P3 contracts in both 2010 and 2011.  This was the highest […]

When Good Data Goes Bad: The NHS2011

This piece was  published today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.  Two findings stand out in the National Household Survey (NHS) data released Wednesday, both critical in this post-recession era of uncertainty: 1) A quarter of Canadian households spent 30 per cent or more of their pre-tax income on shelter, the official measure of housing affordability. […]

NHS fails low incomes–and Canadians

Unfortunately the following note to readers from today’s release of the third and final set of data from the National Household Survey by Statistics Canada speaks for itself: Note to readers Comparability of low-income estimates Low-income estimates from the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) compared with previous censuses show markedly different trends than those derived from other surveys […]

Memo to Obama: Canada’s carbon problem IS the tar sands

Canada’s Harper-ment is getting increasingly desperate. The quest to double production out of the Alberta tar sands needs new pipelines (or rail). In recent months, we have seen new proposals for pipelines to the west and to the east, amid further delays of the KeystoneXL pipeline to the south. The success of US activists (environmentalists, […]

What UBC and SMU’s rape chant scandals say about women in the Canadian economy

The news of UBC Sauder Business School students chanting about rape of underage girls during a FROSH week event has generated much outrage. As it should. While the chant might seem like an isolated incident, it is not. The recent rape chant scandals in UBC and in St Mary’s University in Halifax are evidence of […]

A Fine Balance: GDP Growth by Sector and the Impact of Austerity

The second-quarter GDP numbers confirm that Canada’s continuing “recovery,” such as it is, is still balancing very precariously on a knife-edge between expansion and contraction.  The various sources of growth vary widely in their current momentum.  The overall net balance is barely positive.  And coming austerity in the public sector could very much push the balance […]

EI Premium Freeze Leaves Unemployed Canadians in the Cold

Today, finance minister Jim Flaherty announced a three-year freeze on Employment Insurance (EI) premiums, ostensibly because a stronger job market has alleviated the need for additional premium revenue. Under the current policy, employee premiums were rising each year by 5 cents per $100 earned. Flaherty had announced this policy on September 30, 2010, when 1.5 […]

Part-Time Growth in a “Hamster Wheel” Job Market

Today, Statistics Canada reported that employment increased in August, although two-thirds of the additional jobs were part-time positions. The part-time rate rose to 19%, its highest level in more than a year. Job growth has also been “part-time” in the sense that only a few months this year have seen meaningful employment gains. Over the […]

The G-20, Global Stagnation and the Option of Wage Led Growth

Here is the link to a short piece I wrote for Economy Lab. It borrows from and includes the link to an important paper co-authored by the PEF’s own Marc Lavoie and recently published by the ILO , which I highly recommend. The overall conclusion of that paper is that a shift from profits to […]

Unifor: Canada’s Newest Union

I am still catching my breath from one of the wildest weeks in my life: all the events that culminated in the founding convention last weekend in Toronto of Unifor (formed from the combination of the CAW and the CEP).  Enjoy and share:

The New Attack on Unions

The latest issue of the York University e journal Just Labour is now available. In addition to three articles on youth and labour, it includes my paper “Up Against the Wall: the Political Economy of the New Attack on the Canadian Labour Movement” and thoughtful responses from Sam Gindin, Ken Lewenza, Maya Bhullar and Patricia […]

Economists for Linda McQuaig

Forty economists, including many Progressive Economics Forum members, have signed the following statement (PDF version): We write to endorse Linda McQuaig’s candidacy for the upcoming federal by-election in Toronto Centre. Linda has deep roots in Toronto Centre, having been born in the riding and lived in it for many years. She is also well-known across […]

EI, Self-Insurance or Three-Card Monte?

Monte Solberg, the former Conservative cabinet minister responsible for Employment Insurance, proposed to eliminate the program in a recent Sun Media column: An alternative would be to self-insure. Employee and employer premiums would accumulate in an account in each worker’s name. Including interest, anyone who managed to stay employed through their lifetime earning even a […]