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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Ontario Electricity VII – Committee Testimony

The PC Government in Ontario has introduced Bill 87 which would eliminate the rate-based borrowing to subsidize electricity prices and replace it with Government borrowing. Last week’s Provincial Budget estimates that the required borrowing to subsidize electricity prices for 2018/19 was $2.8 billion. It is likely to exceed $3 billion in 2019/20. Ontario is the only jurisdiction in North America […]

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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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Ontario Election: Inequality Impacts of Fiscal Plans

In the context of Ontario’s upcoming June 7 election, I just finalized an article on the CCPA’s “Behind the Numbers” blog, exploring the fiscal plans of the three major political parties from a historical and comparative context. I concluded that while the Ontario election offers voters three distinct fiscal visions, it is also true that all three would maintain Ontario’s […]

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NDP Math Error will Help the Party, Not Hurt It

The number-cruncher in me cringed in sympathy for the anonymous research nerds who made the now-famous math error in the Ontario NDP’s fiscal platform. They wrongly added a $700 million contingency reserve to net revenue, instead of to expenses.  The result is an underestimation of the planned deficit (if we include that reserve – more on that below) by $1.4 billion in […]

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Newly-signed FPT housing framework agreement

I’ve just written a blog post about the newly-signed federal-provincial-territorial housing framework agreement. This agreement builds on (and helps move forward) Canada’s National Housing Strategy, which was released last fall. One of the points made in the blog post is that the federal government’s stated objective of removing approximately half-a-million households from core housing need is very ambitious, in light […]

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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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Ten proposals from the 2018 Alternative Federal Budget

I’ve written a blog post about this year’s Alternative Federal Budget (AFB). Points raised in the blog post include the following: -This year’s AFB would create 470,000 (full-time equivalent) jobs in its first year alone. By year 2 of the plan, 600,000 new (full-time equivalent) jobs will exist. -This year’s AFB will also bring in universal pharmacare, address involuntary part-time […]

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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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Canada’s newly-unveiled National Housing Strategy

Over at the website of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve  written a blog post about the Trudeau government’s recently-unveiled National Housing Strategy. Points raised in the post include the following: -One of the Strategy’s stated objectives is to reduce chronic homelessness in Canada by 50% over 10 years. -The Trudeau government claims that this is Canada’s “first ever” national housing […]

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Why Toronto needs a national housing strategy

Dr. Colin Phillips is an up-and-coming scholar in Canada’s homelessness sector. He has an opinion piece in today’s Toronto Star titled “Why Toronto needs a national housing strategy.” Points made in the opinion piece include the following: -The City of Toronto has worked hard to develop good practices on the ground to address homelessness. -But, like all of Canada’s major […]

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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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Ten things to know about social assistance in Canada

I’ve just written a blog post about social assistance in Canada. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Social assistance has two contradictory objectives: 1) to give people enough money to live on; and 2) to not give people enough money to live on. -Very few immigrants receive social assistance (relative to the general population). -Several Canadian provinces […]

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A tale book-ended by two Trudeaus: Canada’s foreign aid since 1970

Soon after the 2015 federal election, Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau affirmed that Canada was back as a “compassionate and constructive voice in the world” after a decade of Conservative governments. One of the most important means by which any industrialized country interacts with the developing world is via the amount, composition and effectiveness of its foreign aid, which can help […]

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Program Evaluation

I’ve just blogged about program evaluation and the way it’s used where I work—namely, at the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF). The blog post serves as a primer on program evaluation. It also discusses how CHF measures performance by programs that it funds (CHF disburses $42 million annually to programs in Calgary’s homeless-serving sector). The blog post can be found at […]

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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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Ten Things To Know About The 2017 Federal Budget

I’ve just written a blog post in which I review the recent federal budget. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -The federal government is projecting deficits in the $20B-$30B range for roughly the next five years. -This was likely the most important federal budget for housing since 1993. -The budget contains important new announcements for homelessness (my […]

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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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