Alberta must find alternatives to cutting social spending

I have an opinion piece in today’s Edmonton Journal about Alberta’s current fiscal situation. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -The Jason Kenney government will almost certainly announce cuts to social spending in the near future. -Yet, more than 80% of Alberta’s kindergarten through Grade 3 classes currently exceed the provincial government’s own class-size targets. -Tuition fees […]

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Ten things to know about this year’s Alberta Alternative Budget

The Alberta Alternative Budget (AAB) is an annual exercise whose working group consists of researchers, economists, and members of civil society (full disclosure: I’m the Editor). Our general mandate is to create a progressive vision for Alberta to boost economic growth and reduce income inequality. This year’s document was released today, and here are 10 things to know: The NDP […]

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MEDIA RELEASE: Alberta should increase social spending; cuts are not the way to go

(June 24, 2019-Calgary) With Alberta’s economy still facing challenges and vulnerabilities, the Alberta government should not be doling out tax cuts or cutting social spending, according to the Alberta Alternative Budget (AAB) released today. “Alberta still has, by far, the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio of any province,” says Nick Falvo, editor of the report. “We are in a good position to […]

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What Impact will the 2019 Federal Budget have on Canada’s Housing Market?

I’ve written a blog post about what the recent federal budget means for Canada’s housing market. Points I make in the blog post include the following: -The budget contains several initiatives designed to make it easier for households of modest means to become homeowners. -Such initiatives are often framed as being win-win propositions, while their unintended consequences are rarely discussed. […]

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Low taxes are nothing to brag about

I’ve written an opinion piece that appears in today’s Regina Leader-Post. The piece argues that the Saskatchewan government shouldn’t brag about the province’s low-tax climate (which it recently did). Rather, I argue that taxes serve important functions. The link to the opinion piece is here. Nick FalvoNick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant. He has a PhD in public policy.

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Ten things to know about the 2018 Saskatchewan budget

I’ve written a ‘top 10’ blog post about the recently-tabled Saskatchewan budget. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -This year’s budget was quite status quo. -Last year’s budget, by contrast, included a series of cuts to social spending. Last year’s budget also announced cuts to both personal and corporate income taxes that were subsequently reversed. -Saskatchewan has […]

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Ten proposals from the 2018 Alberta Alternative Budget

The 2018 Alberta Alternative Budget (AAB) was released yesterday—it can be downloaded here. An opinion piece I wrote about the AAB appeared yesterday in both the Calgary Herald and the Edmonton Journal. Inspired by the Alternative Federal Budget exercise, this year’s AAB was drafted by a working group consisting of individuals from the non-profit sector, labour movement and advocacy sectors. […]

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Five Things to Know About the 2018 Federal Budget

I’ve written a blog post about the 2018 federal budget. Points made in the blog post include the following: -Important new housing investments were made for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. -The Working Income Tax Benefit was expanded, made automatic and rebranded (i.e., renamed). -Canada’s official unemployment is now the lowest it’s been in decades. -Canada’s federal debt-to-GDP ratio is […]

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Parental Leave and Pay Equity

Budget 2018 is being advertised as a truly comprehensive gender budget, with two key pieces of that being use-it-or-lose-it paternity leave, and action on pay equity. Last year’s gender budget implemented the Liberal campaign promise to extend EI parental leave from a total of 12 months to 18 months, despite the fact that the idea was universally panned by feminists, […]

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Homelessness in BC

In anticipation of tomorrow’s provincial budget in British Columbia (BC), I’ve written a blog post about the state of homelessness in that province. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Public operating spending by BC’s provincial government has decreased over the past 20 years. -Even after controlling for inflation, average rent levels across the province increased by 24% […]

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Panel discussion at federal NDP policy convention

Yesterday I spoke on a panel discussion on economic inequality, along with Andrew Jackson and Armine Yalnizyan. We were guests at the federal NDP’s policy convention in Ottawa. The panel was moderated by Guy Caron. Topics covered included the minimum wage, basic income, affordable housing, the future of jobs, gender budgeting, poverty among seniors, Canadian fiscal policy in historical perspective, […]

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Book review: Social policy in Canada (2nd edition)

Oxford University Press has recently released the second edition of Social Policy in Canada, co-authored by the father-daughter duo of Ernie Lightman and Naomi Lightman. I recommend this book as an excellent resource for students of social policy. It will be useful for classroom instruction, while also being a handy reference for researchers, persons who design and administer social policy, […]

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Fiscal situation of Canada’s ‘oil rich’ provinces

I’ve just written a blog post about the fiscal situation of Canada’s ‘oil rich’ provinces (i.e., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador). It consists of a summary of key points raised at a PEF-sponsored panel at this year’s Annual Conference of the Canadian Economics Association. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -The price of oil is impossible […]

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A Response to the 2017 Saskatchewan Budget

I have an opinion piece on Saskatchewan’s recent budget in the Regina Leader-Post. Points raised in the opinion piece include the following: -Reductions in personal and corporate income taxes help the rich more than the poor (and this budget cut both personal and corporate income taxes). -Increases in sales tax hurt the poor more than the rich (and this budget […]

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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 public transit funding to the […]

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A Review of the 2017 Alberta Budget

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a review of the recent Alberta budget. Points I make in the blog post include the following: -Alberta remains the lowest-taxed province in Canada. -Alberta’s net debt-to-GDP ratio remains the lowest in Canada. -For the third consecutive year, the Rachel Notley government announced a tuition freeze for (domestic) […]

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The Alternative Federal Budget 2017

This year’s Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) was released on March 9. I was proud to be the primary author of its housing chapter (that chapter is available in English here and in French here). The first AFB exercise began in 1994, with the first AFB being published in 1995. That involved a joint effort between the Canadian Centre for Policy […]

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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,” said contributing economist Robin Shaban, […]

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Central Agencies in Canada

Do you ever lie awake wondering what it is that Finance Canada, the Privy Council Office and Treasury Board Secretariat actually do?  Well, wonder no more my friends!  Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Ten things to know about central agencies in Canada.” Here’s the link to the post.   […]

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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 threshold for new entrants/re-entrants as […]

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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 rate was lower than the […]

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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 tempêtes économiques. Comme l’a confirmé […]

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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. In particular, it is vital […]

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