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Archive for 'demographics'

Do High Tuition Fees Make for Good Public Policy?

This afternoon I gave a presentation to Professor Ted Jackson’s graduate seminar course on higher education, taught in Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration.  The link to my slide deck, titled “The Political Economy of Post-Secondary Education in Canada,” can be found here. Points I raised in the presentation include the following: -Tuition […]

Homelessness Policy

This afternoon, I gave a presentation on public policy responding to homelessness in Canada, with a focus on the past decade.  I gave the presentation at this year’s annual conference of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association. Points I made in the presentation include the following: -Once inflation is accounted for, the current annual value of […]

The Limits of Demography

Here is a piece I wrote for today’s Globe Economy Lab re the Department of Finance report on the costs of an aging society. The key point is that the mainstream doom and gloom projections of the costs of falling labour force growth  ignore the positive impacts which can be expected as and when we […]

Canada’s Self-Imposed Crisis in Post-Secondary Education

On June 7, I gave a keynote address to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Education Sector Conference.  My PowerPoint presentation (with full references) can be found at this link. Points I raised in the address include the following: -Canada’s economy has been growing quite steadily over the past three decades, even when one adjusts […]

While You Were Sleeping: Fed Policies Make It Easier to Hire a Cheaper You

A shorter version of this article appeared today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab Have you noticed how common it has become to talk about replacing workers with even cheaper workers? If you’re looking over your shoulder, you’re not paranoid; you’re paying attention. There’s probably a cheaper you out there.  And in Canada, the […]

Quebec Students: “Faire Leur Juste Part”

Simon Tremblay-Pepin, an emerging social policy scholar, has recently blogged here (in French) about Quebec tuition fees. He points out that, when one adjusts for inflation, Quebec tuition fees are headed into uncharted territory. Indeed, contrary to some recent spin from the Charest government, Tremblay-Pepin makes two important observations: 1. When one takes an average […]

Stapleton on Harper’s Proposed OAS/GIS Changes

John Stapleton has an opinion piece out on Prime Minister Harper’s proposed changes to Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). I find the following quote from Stapleton to be particularly troubling: By providing OAS and GIS at age 65, Canada has greatly reduced the incidence of poverty among seniors. By moving the […]

Diane Finley’s Demographics

On CTV yesterday, human resources minister Diane Finley said (45 seconds into this interview): “As we go forward, we’re going to have three times the expense in Old Age Security as we do now, but we’re only going to have half the population to pay for it.” That sounds pretty scary. If the total cost […]

The OEA Conference: Harmony and Discordance

The Ottawa Economics Association (OEA) held a conference today and yesterday evening. The usual suspects were in attendance saying the usual things: Mark Carney spoke about the need for China to understand the risks of the “paradox of thrift” (see my post from earlier today) that will be unleashed by fiscal consolidation. Don Drummond sang […]

Marc’s testimony to the Senate on population aging and health care

I was a testator (if I was a woman I’d be a testatrix!) to the Senate Special Committee on Aging today, along with national treasure, Bob Evans, a couple reps from the Canadian Institute on Health Information, and UNB’s Joe Ruggeri. We all pretty much agreed that aging is not the issue it is made […]

Alberta and BC elect more Conservatives than Ontario

In today’s column, Andrew Coyne examines the Conservative government’s decision to increase parliamentary representation in line with population growth for Alberta and BC, but not for Ontario. He suggests that this move is designed to appease Quebec, while steering clear of the obvious motive: additional Alberta/BC ridings are far more likely than additional Ontario ridings […]

Immigration and Wages

A study released by Statistics Canada today concludes that “Immigration has tended to lower wages in both Canada and the United States.” Of course, immigration is but one of many influences on wages and class divisions are of far greater economic significance than any supposed conflict between immigrant and non-immigrant workers. Nevertheless, this issue has […]

We Went to Separate Schools Together

Today’s Ottawa Citizen has a good editorial on the existence of two publicly-funded school systems in several provinces. The original concept of one system for Protestants and another for Catholics has evolved into a “public”, secular system and a “separate” system that teaches some Roman Catholicism but is also attended by many non-Catholics. Many schools […]

Income Splitting Redux

On October 31, Finance Minister Flaherty announced that pension income could be divided between spouses for tax purposes. More recently, he mused about allowing spouses to divide all income for tax purposes. This latter proposal would benefit an affluent minority at the expense of important public programs and create a disincentive for women to engage […]

Will an aging population bring health care to its artificial knees?

A few months back, the BC government launched a “conversation on health care” that will last almost two years and will feature forums around the province engaging people on what they would like their public health care system to be. Having such discussions should be seen as a part of a health democracy, even though […]

Demographic apocolypse 2020?

Pierre Fortin, who I usually find to be an interesting economic commentator on public policy issues, makes the case for demographic apocolypse. i used to share that fear, but I’ve done some number crunching on this issue in the BC context (i.e. more seniors than the national average) and am not convinced that the problem […]