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  • How to make NAFTA sustainable, equitable July 19, 2017
    Global Affairs Canada is consulting Canadians on their priorities for, and concerns about, the planned renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In CCPA’s submission to this process, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood point out how NAFTA has failed to live up to its promise with respect to job and productivity […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • What’s next for BC? July 4, 2017
    Five weeks ago the CCPA-BC began a letter to our supporters with this statement: “What an interesting and exciting moment in BC politics! For a bunch of policy nerds like us at the CCPA, it doesn’t get much better than this.” At the time, we were writing about the just-announced agreement between the BC NDP […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Could skyrocketing private sector debt spell economic crisis? June 21, 2017
    Our latest report finds that Canada is racking up private sector debt faster than any other advanced economy in the world, putting the country at risk of serious economic consequences. The report, Addicted to Debt, reveals that Canada has added $1 trillion in private sector debt over the past five years, with the corporate sector […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The energy industry’s insatiable thirst for water threatens First Nations’ treaty-protected rights June 21, 2017
    Our latest report looks at the growing concerns that First Nations in British Columbia have with the fossil fuel industry’s increasing need for large volumes of water for natural gas fracking operations. Titled Fracking, First Nations and Water: Respecting Indigenous rights and better protecting our shared resources, it describes what steps should be taken to […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Betting on Bitumen: Alberta's energy policies from Lougheed to Klein June 8, 2017
    The role of government in Alberta, both involvement and funding, has been critical in ensuring that more than narrow corporate interests were served in the development of the province’s bitumen resources.  A new report contrasts the approaches taken by two former premiers during the industry’s early development and rapid expansion periods.  The Lougheed government invested […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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The Progressive Economics Forum

Income transfers, means testing, and universality, oh, my!

Overall, the NDP leadership race has provided a lot for progressive economists to be excited about. From progressive tax reform to fair wages and worker’s rights, poverty fighting income transfers to new universal social programs, the four leadership candidates have put substantive and laudable social democratic proposals on the table. Unfortunately, the last debate waded […]

Precarious work, Federal government edition

There was a recent article in the Hill Times about temporary workers in the federal public service, noting that this number is growing even under Trudeau’s sunny ways (that’s not entirely fair, the report only covered the first 5 months of the Liberal’s tenure). The numbers come from the Privy Council clerk’s annual report, which […]

NAFTA and Labour Rights

I recently spoke at the Standing Committee on International Trade on their study “Priorities of Canadian Stakeholders having an interest in Bilateral and Trilateral trade in North America, between Canada, United States and Mexico”.  I share my notes with you here, although I did ad-lib a bit in the actual committee meeting. ********************** The labour […]

Transit costs are too darn high

Public transit is a key piece of urban infrastructure, important for getting people where they want to go while limiting congestion and pollution. A central part of the federal government’s infrastructure plan involves expanding and improving public transit, through their newly established Public Transit Infrastructure Fund. Note that Budget 2017 allocates some amount of the total […]

Alberta Alternative Budget 2017

Media Release Foundations for an Alberta Alternative Budget released today (March 14, 2017-Edmonton) Today, a coalition of researchers, economists, and members of civil society released a plan to boost Alberta’s economic growth while reducing income inequality. “For too long Alberta’s public services have been strained from decades of underfunding and reliance on volatile energy markets,” […]

Alternatives to Corporate Globalization: Cooperatives

In this guest post Tom Webb gives a summary of the pitch in his new book, that co-operatives are the answer to the problems of the global capitalist agenda. At the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University, at the beginning of the new millennium, I was part of a team creating a masters […]

Harper’s EI Appeals Process Not Working

This weekend, Quebec unions and activists issued a joint statement on the appeals process in Employment Insurance, calling on Trudeau to review the appeals process. The 2012 budget removed part-time panels of three community representatives – one labour, one business, and one government, and replaced them with full-time adjudicators working on their own. The joint […]

Stop Trump copy-cats: Listen to workers

I presented at the Standing Committee on International Trade’s incredibly brief review of the implementing legislation for CETA. With me were representatives from the Business Council of Canada, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Canadian Cattleman’s Association. There are only two more meetings scheduled, and there are no IP experts, no pharmaceutical experts, no representatives […]

Parental and Caregiving Leaves

The very narrow and brief on-line consultations around parental and caregiving leaves finishes today. As we’ve done in the past, a coalition of community and labour organizations worked together to develop a common list of policy asks. Even though the official consultation is finished, we encourage concerned individuals and groups to submit their own recommendations […]

How do you solve a problem like precarious work?

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has taken quite a bit of heat for his tone deaf comments about the reality of precarious work, specifically saying that we should just “get used to job churn”. His policy prescription, an improved social safety net, is actually a valid part of the solution. But must we accept that the precarious […]

How to Solve a Problem like Internal Trade Barriers?

In 1995, Canadian First Ministers signed an Agreement on Internal Trade. From the website, “Its purpose is to reduce and eliminate, to the extent possible, barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services, and investment within Canada and to establish an open, efficient, and stable domestic market.” Well, it turns out that agreement, although […]

Minimum wages as economic stimulus?

Update: The Alberta government has announced their timeline for getting to $15 / hour, which includes eliminating the lower minimum wage for liquor servers. The Alberta Federation of Labour has an excellent minimum wage campaign, called “15 is fair”. I provided some research support for a paper they produced on the positive economic impact of increasing […]

The TPP is a Bad Idea, part 27

On June 16th the House Committee on International Trade held its 27th meeting about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, Scott Sinclair, and Gus Van Harten were all in Ottawa to tell parliamentarians just how bad the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be for Canada. We outlined the limitations on […]

Who earns minimum wage?

UPDATE: All numbers exclude self-employed workers. The Labour Force Survey doesn’t provide wage data for self-employed workers, and self-employed workers aren’t subject to minimum wage laws. “Proportion of workers” is more accurately “Proportion of employees”. The number of employees per province can be found in CANSIM Table 282-0012. Minimum wages have been getting a lot […]

Equal Pay Day

Every year, women around the world celebrate (angrily) the day their average full-time full-year earnings have caught up to men’s average full-time full-year earnings from the year before. This year in the United States that day fell on April 12th. In Germany it was March 19th. In Switzerland it was February 24th. In Ontario? Equal […]

Corporate rights masquerading as trade (again)

Anti-democratic investor rights deals are in the news again, thanks partly to a Communications Workers of America & Trade Justice Network event that brought Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz to Canada. Professor Stiglitz pronounced the Trans-Pacific Partnership the “worst trade deal ever”, adding that provisions allowing multi-nationals to sue governments are particularly toxic. Professor […]

Mixed bag for EI in Budget 2016

The 2016 Budget announces some much needed improvements to Employment Insurance, and leaves room for more changes in the near future. The changes announced in the budget are largely positive, but many details are still missing, and some stinkers from Harper are left unchanged. The Good … Significantly, the government will reduce the 910 hours […]

February Labour Force Woes

The unemployment rate is up again this month, to 7.3%, with 1.4 million workers looking for jobs in February. A loss of full-time work was partly replaced by part time positions. A disproportionate percentage of last year’s growth came from precarious self-employment. Remember those heady days when we could say that at least Canada’s unemployment […]

Le budget de 2016, la stimulation économie, et l’AE

Déclaration commune des groupes communautaires et syndicaux sur le budget de 2016, la stimulation économie et l’AE Nous exhorter le gouvernement agir rapidement et de faon décisive pour tablir le regime d’assurance-emploi (AE) du Canada. Plus précisément, il est crucial que le budget de 2016 assure une stimulation économique et prépare le pays à affronter d’éventuelles […]

The Budget, Stimulus, and E.I.

A coalition of community and labour organizations have come together to present their views on necessary EI reforms as part of the pre-budget process. Joint Community and Labour Statement on the 2016 Budget, Stimulus, and E.I. We urge the government to act quickly and decisively to restore the integrity of Canada’s EI social insurance system. […]

Jobs and Growth after the Great Recession

This is the time of year when articles list their favourite things about last year, and their “things to watch” for the next year. Naturally, my “things to watch” list will always include the labour market. Where have we seen the strongest job growth or worst job losses, and what are the trends that might […]

Making Real Change Happen

Today’s throne speech was notable for its brevity, but there were certainly a lot of priorities packed into those 1600 words. A small selection: “The Government will, as an immediate priority, deliver a tax cut for the middle class.” This is quite easily my least favourite action promised by the new Liberal government. The plan increases the […]

Progressive, pro-family, pro-growth

A good parental leave system makes children more affordable, and improves gender equity in the labour force and at home. In Quebec, parental leave innovations include time reserved solely for the father, higher replacement rates, and flexibility. This has dramatically increased the number of fathers taking parental leaves, which in turn has a long-term impact […]

Who’s Afraid of Deficits?

We all knew that Budget 2015 was optimistic about medium term growth and rebounding oil prices, but the good people at the PBO have given us an indication of just how far off those projections were.  They estimate that nominal GDP will be about $20B lower through 2020 ($30B lower in 2016), which also means […]

First Nations Education is critical social infrastructure

Many Canadians know that the federal government is responsible for funding social services, health care, education and income supports on First Nations reserves. Few people realize that the escalator for these transfer payments has been frozen at 2% per year since 1996, without consideration for population growth or need. According to the Assembly of First Nations, by […]

Balanced Budget Myopia Breaks Both Ways

Opinions on deficit budgeting have become a short-hand litmus test in Canadian politics. Deficits are left-wing and balanced budgets are right-wing austerity.  Economists know that there is virtually no difference between a small surplus and a small deficit, but politicians and voters are a different story. I have spent the past three and half years railing […]

Wages: Up, Down, or Sideways?

We’re coming up to a Federal Election, and one where “The Economy” will likely be a central battlefield. As such, we’re going to hear many claims and counter-claims that support the view that Stephen Harper is either the Greatest or Worst Prime Minister ever. One point of contention is wages. Part of the problem are the […]

Budget Balanced with EI Surplus

Mr. Oliver likes to say that most of the growth in jobs has been high wage, private sector growth. This is simply not true. Two-thirds of net new jobs created between 2008 and 2014 pay below average wages. Own account self-employment, those self employed workers who have no employees, have dominated growth in self-employment, and […]

Bank of Canada Holds Rate Steady

The Bank of Canada released it’s quarterly Monetary Report today, and held rates firm at 3/4 per cent. The Bank cut growth expectations for 2015, but expects Canada’s GDP to rebound in 2016. Much of this rebound will depend on a growing U.S. and global economy, and on the ability of Canadian exporters to capture a bigger […]

Workers Link $15 Minimum Wage to Decent Work

Wednesday April 15th is a global day of action on a $15 minimum wage and decent work. Actions are happening across the U.S., and in BC, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. Both in the US and in Canada, workers are making links between decent wages and other employment standards.  The Ontario campaign is named $15 and Fairness, […]