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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Mixed bag for EI in Budget 2016

The 2016 Budget announces some much needed improvements to Employment Insurance, and leaves room for more changes in the near future. The changes announced in the budget are largely positive, but many details are still missing, and some stinkers from Harper are left unchanged. The Good … Significantly, the government will reduce the 910 hours threshold for new entrants/re-entrants as […]

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Making Real Change Happen

Today’s throne speech was notable for its brevity, but there were certainly a lot of priorities packed into those 1600 words. A small selection: “The Government will, as an immediate priority, deliver a tax cut for the middle class.” This is quite easily my least favourite action promised by the new Liberal government. The plan increases the marginal tax rate on […]

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Transforming Precarious Work

The Ontario government has launched a review of their Labour Relations Act and Employment Standards Act. The premise is that the workplace has changed, and Ontario labour law no longer does as much as  it should to protect vulnerable workers. The Workers’ Action Centre in Toronto took this opportunity to document the myriad ways that workers are left behind, and […]

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Job Numbers Surprise

For the first time in a while, Statistics Canada gives us some good news on the job front. 74,000 net new jobs added in September, certainly nothing to sneeze at. Still, we would need to keep this pace up every month for the next year to close the employment gap left by the last recession. On the graph below, this […]

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Indigenous Workers in Canada

Labour market data in Canada is easily available by sex, age, and region. We spend a great deal of time talking about these factors. More recently Statistics Canada made labour market data available on CANSIM by landed immigrant status, going back to 2006. This factor is less often included in most labour market analysis, and too few know that it […]

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Alex Usher Needs to Consider Taxation

My debate with Alex Usher on tuition fees continues, over at the Academic Matters web site.  In my latest post, I make the case that Mr. Usher needs to consider Canada’s tax system when suggesting that reducing tuition fees is “regressive.” Nick FalvoNick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant. He has a PhD in public policy.

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Where the jobs at?

Mark it in your calendars folks, today, March 25, 2014 is the day that the Canadian labour shortage**  myth officially died. (It may, of course, be resurrected as a zombie). Responding to a Parliamentary Budget Office report that refutes the existence of a labour shortage or skills mismatch in Canada, Jason Kenney claims the government never suggested any such thing. […]

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Millennials, School, and Work

Given that the 2014 Federal Budget talked a lot about youth unemployment, but didn’t actually do very much, I thought it would be worth going over a few trends for the 20-29 age group. Young workers are usually hit harder by recessions, and this most recent recession was no different. You can see significant spikes in unemployment rates during recessions […]

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How to calculate un(der)employment

For my day job, I wrote a thing about underemployment in Canada. I thought that it might be useful to post my method here so that other interested parties could calculate it for themselves. The headline unemployment rate counts all those who are unemployed, available to start work, and actively looking for a job. The internationally accepted measure of the […]

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Do High Tuition Fees Make for Good Public Policy?

This afternoon I gave a presentation to Professor Ted Jackson’s graduate seminar course on higher education, taught in Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration.  The link to my slide deck, titled “The Political Economy of Post-Secondary Education in Canada,” can be found here. Points I raised in the presentation include the following: -Tuition fees have been rising in […]

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Boost the Minimum Wage, Boost the Economy

A version of this article appeared today in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab. (This version includes references to the debate plus charts and graphs from data specially tabulated from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. The data don’t include the self-employed.) President Obama put the idea of raising the minimum wage on the radar in the U.S. It deserves to […]

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Welcome to the Wageless Recovery

The Harper government likes to remind Canadians that we’ve done better than most developed nations in bouncing back from the global economic crisis. But digging into the data shows why many people might be having trouble cheering this news: wages have not kept pace with inflation, and new hires are making 40 per cent less than the average worker. Tiff […]

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Time to Rethink The Way We Fund Higher Education

This September, like every year, a new group of high school graduates headed to college or university to pursue higher education. But today’s generation of students is in for a very different experience from the ones their parents had. On campuses across the country shiny new buildings are popping up, bearing corporate logos or the names of local philanthropists. But […]

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We can do better

So there were 52,000 new jobs in September, but we needed 72,500 to keep up with labour force growth.  33,800 of those jobs were self-employed workers, and none of those jobs were for workers under 25. In the past year, men over 25 have been adding full time jobs, with 116,000 more full time jobs compared to September 2012.  Women […]

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Measuring Youth Unemployment

Miles Corak has a great post up about Paul Krugman’s “favourite gauge” of unemployment, the employment rate.  Looking at the ratio of employed to population for working age men, he shows that the employment recovery in Canada appears to have stalled, moving very little since January 2011. The graph below shows youth unemployment (right axis) and employment (left axis) from […]

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July Job Numbers Fall

Statistics Canada’s monthly job numbers are out, and it doesn’t look great.  After big jumps in March and April, there was little change in May and June.  In July, total employment fell by 30,000, mostly due to a fall in the numbers of women part-time workers over 55.  The unemployment rate rose to 7.3%. Employment losses were spread among manufacturing […]

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Youth employment trends

As a follow-up to my last post, where I showed R7 – the unemployment rate that includes involuntary part-time, I was curious what the longer term trend was regarding youth and part-time employment. As you can see in the graph below, the proportion of 20-24 year olds engaged in full-time work has steadily fallen since 1980, accelerated during recessions.  This is […]

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Student Employment Rate Sinks

In the summer months, Statistics Canada collects labour force data on students who were attending school full time in March, and who intend to return full time in the fall. The unemployment rate for these students rose compared to June of last year. The June 2012 unemployment rate for students 17-19 was 17.3% (up from 13.8% in June 2011), and […]

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Youth Unemployment

Here’s the link to a TVO The Agenda panel I was on this Friday.  Good to put some focus on the fact that the “real” unemployment rate for young people is 20%, while the youth employment rate is down a full five percentage points from 2007. My basic take is that it is not very surprising that youth unemployment and […]

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Quebec Students: “Faire Leur Juste Part”

Simon Tremblay-Pepin, an emerging social policy scholar, has recently blogged here (in French) about Quebec tuition fees. He points out that, when one adjusts for inflation, Quebec tuition fees are headed into uncharted territory. Indeed, contrary to some recent spin from the Charest government, Tremblay-Pepin makes two important observations: 1. When one takes an average of Quebec tuition fees over […]

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Discussing Quebec Student Protests on Talk Radio

Last Friday, I blogged here about the Quebec student protests.  Subsequently, I was invited to appear on 580 CFRA News Talk Radio, with hosts Rob Snow and Lowell Green. I should note that Mr. Green is the author of several books, including: -How the Granola Crunching, Tree Hugging Thug Huggers are Wrecking our Country; –Mayday Mayday. Curb Immigration. Stop Multiculturalism […]

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