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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Call for federal support of cancelled Ontario basic income project

Members of the Progressive Economists Forum noted with dismay the premature cancellation of Ontario’s basic income pilot and have penned an open letter to Federal Minister Jean-Yves Duclos (Families, Children and Social Development) calling for federal support for the project. So far, the letter has been signed by 50 Canadian economists and researchers. _____ Dear Minister Duclos: As economists and […]

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Saskatchewan budget misses opportunity on rental housing assistance

I recently wrote a ‘top 10’ overview blog post about the 2018 Saskatchewan budget. Following on the heels of that, I’ve now written an opinion piece about the budget’s announcement of a phase out a rental assistance program for low-income households. Points raised in the opinion piece include the following: -Across Saskatchewan, rental vacancy rates are unusually high right now, […]

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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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Homelessness and employment: The case of Calgary

I’ve just written a blog post about homelessness and employment, with a focus on Calgary (where I live and work). Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Persons experiencing homelessness usually have poor health outcomes, making it especially challenging to find and sustain employment. -There are several non-profits in Calgary that assist persons experiencing homelessness to find and […]

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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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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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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 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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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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Foundations for an Alberta Alternative Budget

An Alberta-based volunteer working group, of which I’m a part, recently released a document titled Foundations for an Alberta Alternative Budget (for media coverage, see this Metro article).  Working group members include staff from Alberta’s non-profit sector, labour movement and advocacy sector. While our long-term goal is to emulate the great work of the Alternative Federal Budget, this year’s effort […]

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Public Policy and Homelessness: The Case of Calgary

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “Public Policy and Homelessness:  The Case of Calgary.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Calgary experienced explosive growth in the size of its homeless population from the mid-1990s until 2008. -Though causation is hard to establish, the following factors likely had […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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How Housing Policy Benefits from a Socioeconomic Perspective

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve written a blog post titled “How Housing Policy Benefits from a Socioeconomic Perspective.” Points raised in the blog post include the following: -Leaders in Canada’s non-profit housing sector should think beyond just housing, and think hard about the importance of economic and social factors that have an impact on […]

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Ten things to know about the CPP debate

This fall, Canada’s Parliament will debate a proposal to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).  And over at the Behind the Numbers web site, I’m co-author of a blog post titled “Ten things to know about the CPP debate.” The blog post’s other co-authors are Allan Moscovitch and Richard Lochead. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -CPP […]

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