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  • A critical look at BC’s new tax breaks and subsidies for LNG May 7, 2019
    The BC government has offered much more to the LNG industry than the previous government. Read the report by senior economist Marc Lee.  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The 2019 living wage for Metro Vancouver April 30, 2019
    The 2019 living wage for Metro Vancouver is $19.50/hour. This is the amount needed for a family of four with each of two parents working full-time at this hourly rate to pay for necessities, support the healthy development of their children, escape severe financial stress and participate in the social, civic and cultural lives of […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Time to regulate gas prices in BC and stop industry gouging April 29, 2019
    Drivers in Metro Vancouver are reeling from record high gas prices, and many commentators are blaming taxes. But it’s not taxes causing pain at the pump — it’s industry gouging. Our latest research shows that gas prices have gone up by 55 cents per litre since 2016 — and the vast majority of that increase […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA welcomes Randy Robinson as new Ontario Director March 27, 2019
    The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is pleased to announce the appointment of Randy Robinson as the new Director of our Ontario Office.  Randy’s areas of expertise include public sector finance, the gendered rise of precarious work, neoliberalism, and labour rights. He has extensive experience in communications and research, and has been engaged in Ontario’s […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • 2019 Federal Budget Analysis February 27, 2019
    Watch this space for response and analysis of the federal budget from CCPA staff and our Alternative Federal Budget partners. More information will be added as it is available. Commentary and Analysis  Aim high, spend low: Federal budget 2019 by David MacDonald (CCPA) Budget 2019 fiddles while climate crisis looms by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood (CCPA) Budget hints at priorities for upcoming […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Archive for 'health care'

The Ontario NDP Platform

Pollsters tell us that Ontario’s New Democrats may double their seat total in next month’s provincial election. It’s also entirely conceivable that they could be part of a coalition government at Queen’s Park. But what’s actually in the party’s election platform? One central feature of the NDP’s proposals is to implement a tax credit for companies that hire new workers. The tax […]

McGuinty Proposes Undergraduate Tuition Grant

An Ontario election is slated for October 6, and the reigning Liberal Party will attempt to pull off a third consecutive majority government. In that vein, the Liberals have recently made a slew of campaign promises in the post-secondary education (PSE) sector. Notably, they’ve committed to reducing undergraduate tuition for “middle-class Ontario families” by 30 percent, amounting […]

The Double Whammy of Defunding Universities

As I’ve blogged about here, federal funding for post-secondary education (PSE) in Canada is decreasing.  Between 1985-1986 and 2007-2008, annual federal cash transfers to Ontario for PSE (in constant 2007 dollars) decreased from roughly $1.4 billion to just under $1 billion. (Yet, during that same period, PSE enrolment in Ontario increased by more than 60 percent). And as I’ve written about […]

The Town Without Poverty

A guest post from Richard Pereira, a recent winner of the PEF Essay Contest… – Canadian Economics Association – The Town Without Poverty There were hundreds of speakers at this year’s CEA conference in Ottawa.  About a dozen of these were designated “Special Lectures/Conférences spéciales” and among them were Jack Mintz on “The GST After […]

Healthcare in Rural and Northern Ontario

The Ontario Nurses’ Association has released a research paper by PEF-member Salimah Valiani on health and healthcare in rural and northern Ontario. It analyzes socio-economic and environmental forces that contribute to lower health outcomes, labour-process data drawn from focus groups with front-line nurses, and how to alleviate the nursing shortage. Enjoy and share:

Hillman Prize for Canadian Investigative Journalism

I was one of the three judges for the inaugural Canadian incarnation of the Hillman Prize for Investigative Journalism.  Sidney Hillman was a founding organizer of the garment union in the U.S., and left a legacy that has been used to fund an annual U.S. award for reporters who take the time & risk to […]

Avoiding a really bad drug trip – Pharmacare versus CETA

Boomers are getting blamed for an awful lot of fiscal problems these days. But blaming an aging population for healthcare costs spiraling out of control is misplaced. Missing opportunities to manage and contain costs is the real culprit. Take, for example, our spending on prescription drugs. Costs in that part of the healthcare system have […]

Why incentive pay won’t fix education or health care

It turns out — surprise! — that it’s really hard to measure quality in complex social systems and that employing simplistic quantitative measures can backfire. That’s the take-home message from a recent talk by UC Berkley economist and public policy professor Jesse Rothstein who came to SFU to present his latest research on using standardized […]

The OECD Attack on Medicare

The OECD Economic Survey of Canada (unfortunately only a summary is available on line) was released this week, and its call to impose user fees or deductibles on services covered by Medicare (ie physician and hospital care) received quite a lot of media coverage.  I saw OECD economist Peter Jarrett doing at least two TV […]

Recession Reduces Health Care Utilization

Here’s a fascinating finding from an NBER study: “The Economic Crisis and Medical Care Usage,” by Annamaria Lusardi, Daniel Schneider, and Peter Tufano (NBER study #15843). They undertook a broad public survey across 5 countries (the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, and France) on the economic and social impacts of the recession.  The survey covered over […]

Congress Passes Healthcare – I Told You So

This evening, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Obama’s healthcare bill. Two months ago, I was the odd man out on a Business News Network panel (watch video). The day after the Massachusetts by-election, I was talking about Democrats redoubling their efforts and being more aggressive in putting forward a progressive agenda. By contrast, one […]

Technology and the future of public health care

A couple years ago I put out a report for the CCPA that crunched the numbers on health care sustainability. The main finding was that public health care was basically sustainable in that it could handle projected increases in population, aging and inflation as long as GDP continued to grow at a reasonable rate (consistent […]

Inequality Kills

Population health researchers, most famously and consistently Richard Wilkinson,  have long drawn attention to the fact that the link between social class and health status is a gradient, such that an individual’s position in the class hierarchy is directly and causally linked to that person’s health status. It is not just that low income people […]

Ontario’s Health Premium

Yesterday, I appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs at Queen’s Park. The committee is reviewing the Ontario Health Premium, as required by the legislation that implemented this levy. My assessment of the premium starts from the premise that the Government of Ontario needs more revenue not only for healthcare, but also […]

No need for alarm over health care spending in BC

Jeffrey Simpson is right to lament that “there is no realistic, sensible debate” about health care in BC. Unfortunately, his May 13th Globe & Mail column “Even the redoubtable Premier Campbell struggles with health care” does not help. Simpson’s main point in the column is that health care spending in BC is rising out of […]

What the homeless need …

 … is homes. Check out this astonishing admission, as reported by CBC: St. Paul’s in downtown Vancouver, one out of every four beds is being used to treat the homeless, drug addicts and the mentally ill, said [Lorna Howes, the director of acute and community mental health for Vancouver with the Vancouver Coastal Health authority]. […]

Inequality and health

There is an interesting opinion piece in The Tyee this morning, aptly named Dying for the Rich, which points out the links between inequality and life expectancy. The article’s author, Crawford Kilian, should be praised for bringing up an angle that was virtually ignored by media commentators in their coverage of the recent Census findings […]

Aging, Health Care and Federalism

Last December I testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, making the point that public health care need not fear an aging population. Today, I was invited back again to comment on their draft interim report and in particular the issue of how to address the fact that some provinces have a larger share […]

TILMA and Medicare

An editorial in today’s Calgary Herald begins with the usual praise for TILMA, but ends by suggesting a new interprovincial deal on healthcare: Yet, for Ottawa to attempt to remedy matters by intruding itself into relations between the provinces would not only provoke reflexive opposition but, even if carried through by force majeure, be unlikely […]

Simpson spaces out on health care

Jeffrey Simpson really loves Gordon Campbell. Having done a series of columns on BC’s carbon tax, its clever political packaging and the leader behind it – all in all, not a bad set of columns – Simpson completely loses touch on the health care side of the provincial budget. He buys hook, line and sinker […]

BC introduces a carbon tax!

Since the provincial Liberals came to power in 2001 I have seen a lot of BC Budgets and not been too happy with any of them. Until now. Today’s 2008 model is a very interesting budget, and while I have a number of quibbles, I support the overall direction. And as in the recent past […]

Former Blair minister on why two-tier HC is a bad idea

Just came across this interesting article relating comments by Frank Dobson, former UK health minister under Blair, on the plan by BC liberals to bring in the private sector in health care. Essentially, he thinks it was a fairly bad idea for Britain and advises BC not to go ahead. The following well represents his […]

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 […]

Federal Spending Power: The Makings of a Phoney Debate

There have been suggestions that the Conservative government’s forthcoming Throne Speech will surrender the federal spending power. Through an op-ed in today’s Globe and Mail, Bob Rae tries to position himself, and presumably the Liberal Party, as defenders of the power. This posturing will help the Conservatives woo Quebec nationalists and help the Liberals appeal […]

Homelessness and health in Toronto

A dispatch from Nick Falvo, the winner of the undergraduate prize in the 2007 PEF essay contest. Nick works for Street Health in Toronto, and speaks to a newly released report: In 1992, Street Health conducted a groundbreaking research study on homeless people’s health and access to health care. The updated 2007 study finds that […]

Health care sustainability

I released a study today, How Sustainable is Medicare? A Closer Look at Aging, Technology and Other Cost Drivers in Canada’s Health Care System, available for download here. This essentially a national version of one I did last fall for BC only. With national data I was able to make projections 50 years into the […]

Closing the tooth gap

In Ontario, the election campaign is on. A topic of note is public dental care. Back in July, the NDP started the ball rolling: Calling poor dental health a “silent epidemic,” the leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party said Tuesday that the provincial government should provide care for children and low-income earners. Howard Hampton […]

Estimating Dr. Day’s conflict of interest

Sharpen your pencils, open your spreadsheets, everyone. It’s contest time! Following up on a recent post noting the major financial conflict of interest of the Canadian Medical Association calling for more private health care options, we can expect more ideological rhetoric to come in the next year as new CMA President Brian Day takes the […]

Bulk purchasing pharmaceutical drugs

The Vancouver Sun is two for two! Another front page headline, this time pressing the case for bulk purchasing of pharmaceutical drugs. Bulk purchasing is but one of many policy options for reducing the cost of pharmaceuticals, and is generally the one that is the most palatable politically as it does not overtly challenge Big […]

Michael Moore, the CMA and directions for Canadian health care

I just watched Sicko for the second time last night. The catastrophe that is US health care is a clear demonstration that universal, public health insurance works a whole lot better that a system based on for-profit private insurance companies. So, I was thinking about the Canadian system in comparison with Europe, and wondering why […]