Homelessness in Canada’s North

I’m the main researcher on a three-year SSHRC-funded research project looking at homelessness and affordable housing in the Northwest Territories (NWT).  Frances Abele (Carleton University) is Principal Investigator on the project, and Arlene Haché (Yellowknife Women’s Society) is Co-Investigator.  The project falls under the larger umbrella of the Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada. Though several larger papers will come out […]

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Canadian Housing Observer 2010

In late-October, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation released the Canadian Housing Observer 2010.  I’ve finally given it a thorough read and am struck by some of the statistics. The MLS average price of a home in Canada has almost doubled in the past decade.  In 2000, the figure was just under $164,000.  By 2009, it was just over $320,000.  Perhaps not surprisingly, during this same period, residential […]

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Blaming the Victims: Quebec Students

Last month, I blogged about a major new report on the living conditions of Quebec undergraduate students.  The report’s findings include the fact that 50% of full-time undergraduate students in Quebec report living on less $12,200 per year. On the heels of that report’s release comes the news that the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities (CREPUQ), which lobbies on behalf […]

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McGuinty’s Post-Secondary Education Strategy

Many blog readers will remember that when Dalton McGuinty became premier of Ontario in 2003 he vowed to be the “education premier.” Yet, university students in Ontario–at both the undergraduate and graduate level–now pay the highest tuition fees in Canada.  Ontario is also in last place nationally in terms of per-student funding for post-secondary education, and has the lowest professor-to-student […]

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Debunking the Myth of the Lazy Student

Results of a major survey of post-secondary students were released on Thursday.  The 149-page report, entitled Sources et Modes de Financement des Etudiants the Premier Cycle 2009, was written by the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ).  It was done in collaboration with Léger Marketing, who suveyed almost 13,000 undergraduate students in Quebec, spanning 14 different post-secondary institutions in the province.  According […]

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Confusion Over Monetary Policy

It’s always been my understanding that left-of-centre economists, on the whole, like it when real interest rates are low (but not negative).  Among other things, this encourages more companies to borrow (and hire more workers), reduces unemployment, reduces debt-servicing costs for government, and increases the power of labour. In July of this year, I blogged over my concern that “important voices among Canada’s […]

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Silencing Student Dissent

Across Canada, university student associations–at both the undergraduate and graduate level–provide democratic representation to their members.  When students register for a term, memberhip fees are automatically collected by the university’s business office, much like an employer automatically collects union dues in a unionized workplace.  The university’s business office temporarily holds student membership fees “in trust,” and then remits them to […]

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Why Is The French Labour Movement So Powerful?

From time to time, I check out the The Real News Network.  I’ve just finished watching a video clip they’ve featured on labour protests in France over the government’s attempt to raise the “pension age” from 60 to 62.  The coverage includes a brief look at the impact of the blockades of French oil refineries. I’m struck by how powerful the French […]

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University Recruitment of International Students

Last month, I blogged about “pathway colleges,” which are private companies that have been entering into P3 arrangements with Canadian universities in recent years.  The private company helps recruit international students and then gives the students pre-university training.  If all goes according to plan, the students in question eventually become full-fledged students at the university in question.   There’s been increased attention to […]

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The “Big Five” Proposal for Canadian Universities

I have an opinion piece out on the so-called “Big Five” proposal for Canadian universities.  The plan, first articulated in MacLean’s magazine just over a year ago, would entail two main things: 1) more research money concentrated at five major Canadian universities; and 2) lower undergraduate-to-graduate student ratios for those same five universities.  The universities in question are Toronto, McGill, UBC, Alberta and […]

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Should Students Pay One Flat Fee for a Degree?

Yesterday afternoon, Alex Usher–who regularly blogs for the Globe and Mail on post-secondary education–blogged about an innovative concept proposed by the (now ousted) Liberal Party in New Brunswick’s recent provincial election campaign.  The proposal is for universities to charge students one flat fee for the cost of a degree.  Usher argues in favour of this move on the basis that it would […]

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What Would Bubbles Do?

Many blog readers are no doubt aware that, late last month, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a paper by David Macdonald entitled “Canada’s Housing Bubble:  An Accident Waiting to Happen.” As the title suggests, Macdonald argues: Canada is experiencing, for the first time in the last 30 years, a synchronized housing bubble across the six largest residential real […]

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Bank Economist Proposes Higher Tuition Fees

A globeandmail.com article posted last night discusses a recent report on post-secondary education in Nova Scotia.  The report itself, released yesterday, was written by BMO’s former Chief Economist, Tim O’Neill.  According to the article, O’Neill’s report calls for “complete deregulation of tuition fees” in Nova Scotia.  Moreover: He believes that higher tuitions are more equitable because they force students, who are disproportionately […]

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Pathway Colleges: A New Kind of P3

I have an opinion piece out on “pathway colleges,” a relatively new phenomenon in Canada.  In this public-private partnership (P3) model, private companies recruit international students to Canadian university campuses, targeting students who currently do not meet the university’s admissions criteria (usually because they lack the necessary English-language skills).  Once the students arrive in Canada, the company hires instructors (paying them considerably less […]

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How Political is Statscan?

The recent controversy over the long-form census has caused me to be a bit more suspicious of Statscan lately.  Two recent events in particular have left me scratching my head. First, as part of my doctoral dissertation research, I was trying to get ahold of (time series) social assistance statistics for all 10 Canadian provinces, namely social assistance rates and caseloads, going back […]

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Should We Reduce University Tuition?

On Thursday, the Globe and Mail’s post-secondary education blogger, Alex Usher, wrote this piece, in which he argues that any increased government assistance with the goal of increasing access to university ought to be targeted to low-income students (and not consist of an across-the-board tuition reduction).  I have three points to make in response to this.  First, while Mr. Usher […]

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Preparing for Rising Homelessness

I have an op-ed in today’s Toronto Star.  The piece stems largely from a policy paper I wrote on homelessness earlier this year, and that I blogged about here. In today’s op-ed, I argue that homelessness rises after a recession, but that there’s a lag effect.  To be sure, after the recession of the early 1990s, homelessness in Toronto (as measured […]

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“Teaming Up” with the Private Sector

Today’s Globe and Mail features an article about the University of Toronto’s plan to turn “to the private sector to solve their campus housing problems” for students.  In particular, the article refers to a plan whereby the U of T would become “the first university in Canada to erect a large tower offsite with private money.” According to the article, […]

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How About Monetary Policy?

Today’s Toronto Star features an op-ed by John Cartwright, President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council. (I once had the chance to hear John speak at a press conference in Toronto and found him to be an oustanding public speaker.  But I digress…) In the piece, he argues that “we” (I think he means both the Harper government and the […]

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Social Assistance in Ontario

Two weeks ago, the report of a government-appointed panel on Ontario’s social assistance system was made public.  The report, entitled “Recommendations for an Ontario Income Security Review,” was written by the 11-member Ontario Social Assistance Review Advisory Council, which had been struck in December 2009 by the McGuinty government.  The Council had been asked to make recommendations on the “scope and terms of […]

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“Innovation” and Students

I have an online opinion piece on the federal government’s “innovation strategy.” My piece focuses on how the strategy directly impacts university students.  I argue that the federal government’s current strategy creates winners and losers. Nick FalvoNick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant with a PhD in Public Policy. He has academic affiliation at both Carleton University and Case Western Reserve University, […]

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Do Tuition Rates Matter?

Alex Usher is a frequent commentator on post-secondary education in Canada.  He regularly blogs for the Globe and Mail at globecampus.ca.  Yesterday, he wrote an open letter to leaders of Canada’s three major political parties in which he offered advice on post-secondary education policy. I found the following passage to be particularly provocative: First, scratch anything that vaguely resembles a […]

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Recession’s Impact on Homelessness

I recently wrote a paper on the recession’s impact on homelessness, looking at Toronto as a case study.  I presented it on Friday at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Economics Association (May 28-30, Quebec City).  The paper’s title is “Calm Before the Storm,” as I believe that, based on the outcome of the last major recession in the early […]

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