Ten things to know about poverty measurement in Canada

I’ve written a blog post providing an overview of poverty measurement in Canada. Points raised in the post include the following: -One’s choice of poverty measure has a major impact on whether poverty is seen to be increasing or decreasing over time. -Canada’s federal government recently chose the make the Market Basket Measure (MBM) its official poverty measure. -According to […]

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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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Challenging Inflation Targeting

Every 5 years the federal Finance Minister updates the “marching orders” that guide the Bank of Canada and its conduct of monetary policy.  This process is the one opportunity for democratic oversight of the Bank, which otherwise is deemed to be operating “independently” of government — all the better to ensure that it has the authority to take away the […]

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Louis-Philippe Rochon’s Top 10 Economic Predictions for 2015

Louis-Philippe Rochon has written a provocative blog post for the CBC titled “Top 10 Economic Predictions for 2015.” The post is available here. Nick FalvoNick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant with a PhD in Public Policy. He has academic affiliation at both Carleton University and Case Western Reserve University, and is Section Editor of the Canadian Review of Social […]

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Inflation Slump Validates Low Interest Rates

Today, Statistics Canada reported inflation of 1.1% for August, even lower than June and July. But even at this anemic level, inflation is eating up three-quarters of wage gains. The Labour Force Survey indicates that Canada’s average hourly wage rose by only 1.5% between August 2012 and August 2013. Subdued inflation and the weak job market both argue for the […]

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Inflation Eats Up Three-Quarters of Wage Gains

Today, Statistics Canada reported an annual inflation rate of 1.3% for July. By comparison, it reports that the average hourly wage rose by 1.8% between July 2012 and July 2013. In other words, even anemic inflation is eating up nearly three-quarters of wage increases. On average, Canadian workers have eked out only a 0.5% improvement in purchasing power over the […]

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Inflation Eats Up More Than Half of Wage Gains

Today, Statistics Canada reported an inflation rate of 1.2% for June, validating the Bank of Canada’s recent decision to keep interest rates low for the foreseeable future. The rationale to raise interest rates would be to curb inflation, which is already under control and well below the central bank’s 2% target. But even at 1.2%, inflation eats up more than […]

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Inflation Collapse Confounds Monetary Hawks

Statistics Canada reported today that inflation collapsed to just 0.4% in April. The Bank of Canada’s core inflation rate, which excludes volatile items, fell to 1.1%. Continued low inflation does not provide a rationale to raise interest rates. Perhaps for that reason, Canadian monetary hawks have shifted their rationale for higher interest rates. In 2011, the C. D. Howe Institute […]

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Margaret Thatcher’s Economic Legacy

Here is my take from today’s Economy Lab in the Globe. To expand a bit on alternatives, my take is that the neo liberal turn at the end of the 1970s was one possible response to the stagflation crisis, which found mainstream Keynesian economics wanting. Left Keynesians such as Kalecki had long recognized that full employment capitalism with strong unions […]

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Prices Decline Yet Again

Statistics Canada reported today that, for a third consecutive month, consumer prices declined and the inflation rate fell below 2%. In July, the inflation rate was 1.3% and the Bank of Canada’s core rate was 1.7%. Gasoline and natural gas prices, which have been lower this summer than last, dragged down the overall Consumer Price Index. However, there is little […]

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Saskatchewan’s Rising Cost of Living

Today’s Consumer Price Index provides further evidence of Saskatchewan’s rising cost of living. Among the provinces, Saskatchewan is tied for the second-highest annual inflation rate: 2.0%. Consumer prices decreased in June from May in nine provinces (all except Alberta). But Saskatchewan was tied for the smallest monthly price decline: -0.3%. Compared to the rest of Canada, Saskatchewan residents experienced nearly […]

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CPI Deflates Case for Rate Hike

Today’s report that the national inflation rate fell to 1.2% in May deflates calls for higher interest rates to reduce inflation. The central bank’s core rate was 1.8%, also below the 2% target. The other argument for an interest-rate hike was to moderate mortgage lending and the housing market. However, the federal government’s move to reign in mortgage lending through […]

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Inflation On Target; Exchange Rate Off Target

Today, Statistics Canada reported an annual inflation rate of 2%, precisely in line with the Bank of Canada’s target. With inflation under control and renewed risks to the global economy, there is little rationale for the central bank to raise interest rates anytime soon. In fact, the Bank of Canada should now be more concerned about the exchange rate than […]

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Deflating the Monetary Hawks

Canada’s business press has recently been filled with speculation that the Bank of Canada may soon hike interest rates based on its somewhat more optimistic economic outlook. But today’s Consumer Price Index report indicates that there is no need to raise interest rates. Statistics Canada reported that both headline and core inflation fell to 1.9% in March, slightly below the […]

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Inflation Central

Statistics Canada reported today that consumer prices edged up by 0.1% in February on a seasonally-adjusted basis, bringing the annual inflation rate to 2.6% and the core inflation rate to 2.3%. These rates are within the Bank of Canada’s target range and should allow it to keep interest rates low, which would be appropriate given Canada’s stalled labour market. The […]

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Inflation and Drummond

Statistics Canada reported today that consumer prices jumped in January (by 0.4% or 0.5% seasonally-adjusted), offsetting the drop in December. As a result, the annual inflation rate is now 2.5% and the Bank of Canada’s core inflation rate is 2.1%. Monetary Policy Both measures are well within the central bank’s target range, which should allow it to keep interest rates […]

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Lower Inflation Frees Carney’s Hand

Statistics Canada reported today that consumer prices decreased in December, lowering the annual inflation rate to 2.3%. The Bank of Canada’s core inflation rate declined to 1.9%. Tame inflation leaves room to lower interest rates. If unemployment continues to rise, the Bank of Canada should reduce interest rates to boost the economy and create jobs. The modest inflation rate still […]

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Economic Climate and Inequality

The December issue of the quarterly Economic Climate for Bargaining publication I produce is now on-line.  This issue has a number of pieces on issues of inequality, including: Rising inequality is hurting our economy Labour rights, unions and the 99% Canadian economy bleeding jobs; public sector cuts to intensify Recession and cuts hit Aboriginal and racialized workers hardest It also […]

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The Inflation-Control Target

So, the 2% inflation target has been renewed as it now stands. (Take that, House of Commons Finance Committee, which is holding hearings on the issue next week.) The background report from the Bank of Canada is pretty self-congratulatory, though it does somewhat revise the current regime to underline the point that monetary policy also needs to take financial stability […]

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