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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

Poverty Reduction in Alberta

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’m co-author of a blog post titled “Poverty Reduction in Alberta.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -The NDP government of Premier Rachel Notley has undertaken important poverty-reduction initiatives since forming a government in 2015. -Alberta (relative to other provinces) has a considerable amount  of income concentrated […]

Read more

The Federal Role in Poverty Reduction

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’m co-author of a blog post titled “The Federal Role in Poverty Reduction.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development has been tasked to lead the development of a Canada Poverty Reduction Strategy. -Total public social spending in Canada (as […]

Read more

Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy

December marked the three-year anniversary of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. While I believe there is much to celebrate, much remains to be done. The Strategy surprised a lot of observers, especially in light of the fact that it was announced in December 2008, just as Ontario was entering a recession.  Its focus was almost exclusively child poverty, and at full […]

Read more

Early learning developments in BC

Having already eaten the NDP’s lunch on the climate change file, the BC Liberals (the second-term, more moderate Liberals) threaten to do the same on early learning and child care. In the 2008 Throne Speech, the government said that it would study expansion of full-day kindergarten to five-year-olds, then to four- and three-year olds. But they are smart: having resisted […]

Read more

Early learning and child care strategies

For as long as I can remember (i.e. when I was a kid) Ontario has had junior kindergarten for four-year-olds. It is mostly half-day, I think, as is senior kindergarten for five-year olds. Here in BC they just have one kindergarten for five-year-olds, and is generally two-and-a-half to three hours per day. In the recent BC Throne Speech, the government […]

Read more

Why we need to expand early learning programs

In a Vancouver Sun feature article, UBC’s Hillel Goelman reviews evidence on early childhood education and makes the case for universal pre-kindergarten for three- and four-year-olds. Dollar for dollar this is probably the best investment would could make as a society. But progress has been slow, as it has been framed as a family issue by both sides. The educational […]

Read more

Early learning lessons from the UK

A report from the front lines of the battle over early learning and child care in the United Kingdom, which appears to be in a similar space as Canada – supported by academic and policy elites, but with too little action on the political side to overcome the great inertia of the existing patchwork system. Taking great care We should […]

Read more

Expenditure Management: Conservative Style

Budget 2007 promised a new Expenditure Management System and provides a glimpse of what the Conservatives might have in mind. The Budget Plan boldly “proposes to provide a 25-per-cent investment tax credit to businesses that create new child care spaces” (p. 124). However, it allocates no money for this “Investment Tax Credit for Child Care Spaces” (p. 374). In its […]

Read more

Child-Care Flip: A Flop in the Right Direction?

One problem with the new Conservative child-care transfer appears to be that it would provide less money to provincial governments than the NDP-Liberal plan would have. Another problem is that it may entail even fewer guidelines about how the money is used. Nevertheless, this new approach seems much better than the Conservatives’ previous policy of providing tax cuts to employers. […]

Read more

Early childhood education: lessons from Oklahoma

Canada, with the notable exception of Quebec, continues to lag when it comes to early childhood education. The research says that the most important brain development happens between birth and age six, so why do we wait until age six before we have kids in school full-time (most kindergarten programs are “half-day”, generally three hours or less)? Dollar for dollar […]

Read more

Benefits of early learning programs

Today my boss walked in with a notice from his child’s daycare that fees were going up because the Tories have cancelled the Early Learning and Child Care transfer (and the BC government is not picking up any slack in spite of its multi-billion surpluses) – the fee increase eats up his family’s new “child care allowance” cheque and then […]

Read more

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 in paid employment. Income splitting […]

Read more

Big Payoff from Pre School Programs

http://www.upjohninst.org/publications/newsletter/TJB_1006.pdf In a major study for the Upjohn Institute, Timothy J. Bartik calulates the macro economic impacts of high quality universal preschool education for the US,  based mainly on studies of the  impacts of a well-studied, high quality program (the Chicago Child-Parent Centre program, a half day program for four year olds with 2 teachers per 20 children.) He estimates […]

Read more

Cheques in the mail

A few weeks ago, the Canada Revenue Agency sent my family our 2006 Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) paperwork. At the time, what struck me was no mention whatsoever of the new Harper government’s “child care” allowance. This seemed a major omission and I wondered if we would have to fill out some more paperwork to get our $100 a […]

Read more