Ontario’s Electricity Sector IV: Pre-Election Update

My first, second and third posts on the Ontario electricity sector described how policy and administrative decisions by different Liberal Governments gave rise to excess electricity generation with an inflated cost structure, leading to higher electricity prices. In anticipation of June 2018 elections, the Liberal Government recently implemented a costly and first-in-Canada financial scheme to fund its “Fair Hydro Plan” […]

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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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Update on Jimbo’s Minimum Wage Wager

It’s been over a week now since I challenged the authors of 5 business-friendly economic reports to a friendly wager over the future trajectory of employment in provinces that are raising their minimum wage to $15 per hour.  The challenge was issued in my Globe and Mail column of October 3. I was responding to the several business groups and […]

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Stephen Clarkson: An Introduction to a special blog series

Stephen Clarkson: Political Economist with a Global Vision (1937 – 2016) Marjorie Griffin Cohen and Daniel Drache Stephen Clarkson died early in 2016 in Freiburg, Germany and Canada lost someone very special. Stephen was a Professor in Political Science at the University of Toronto and engaged in teaching, research and writing until his death. He has contributed, in an extraordinary […]

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Self-insurance for workers doesn’t work

This is a guest post from Rod Hill, a Professor of Economics at the University of New Brunswick, Saint John campus. A previous version of this post first appeared in the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal. In a report this month for the Halifax-based Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), entitled “An Alternative to Employment Insurance”, Justin Hatherly proposes replacing the […]

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Income and geographic distribution of low-income renters in Toronto

In this second of a series of housing-related posts I analyze the income and geographic distribution of renter-occupied households in the City of Toronto. My first post focussed on affordability and inequality trends by analyzing time series (2001-16) data for Ontario by household income quintiles. As a complement, this blog studies the income and geographic distribution of low-income and other […]

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Some comments on the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario’s minimum wage commentary

The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO)—an independent, arm’s length, non-partisan research institute—released a paper on September 12th outlining the likely economic impacts flowing from the pending minimum wage increase (see here). The FAO’s findings are already garnering significant media attention and will almost certainly be used by the opponents of Bill 148 as further proof that the Ontario Government […]

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The headline you didn’t see: $15 per hour will have a big net benefit

You wouldn’t know it from today’s headlines about impending job losses, but an analysis of the impact of Ontario’s move to a $15 minimum wage from the province’s Financial Accountability Office shows a net benefit for Ontario workers. Overall, this is a much more cautious report than what the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and its allies had furnished, noting both the costs […]

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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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The Ontario Chamber’s economic impact analysis of Bill 148 still doesn’t make sense

On Monday, the Keep Ontario Working coalition spearheaded by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released an analysis of the impacts of Bill 148 in Ontario, which will introduce a $15 minimum wage by 2019 and a host of other employment standards improvements. The analysis raised many red flags: it focused only on costs, predicting very large negative impacts out of line […]

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Income transfers, means testing, and universality, oh, my!

Overall, the NDP leadership race has provided a lot for progressive economists to be excited about. From progressive tax reform to fair wages and worker’s rights, poverty fighting income transfers to new universal social programs, the four leadership candidates have put substantive and laudable social democratic proposals on the table. Unfortunately, the last debate waded into unhelpful – if not […]

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Book review: Understanding spatial media

I’ve just reviewed a new book about spatial media (and have written it from the vantage point of somebody working in Canada’s homelessness sector). One point raised in the blog post is the fact that the language used when enumerating persons experiencing homelessness has an impact on policy discussions. One point raised in the book itself is the fact that […]

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The NDP and Old Age Security

NDP leadership candidate Jagmeet Singh has proposed (with few details) to reform the current Old Age Security system by integrating Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS.) “A Jagmeet Singh-led government will implement the Canada Seniors Guarantee to ensure that no Canadian senior has to live in poverty. The Canada Seniors Guarantee will combine a number of […]

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Canada Lags in Job Quality

The 2017 OECD Employment Outlook provides an assessment of member country performance in terms of the quantity and quality of employment as judged by a new set of key indicators. Overall, we do well in terms of job quantity. The employment rate (the proportion of the working age population with jobs) stands at 72.5% compared to an OECD average of […]

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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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Monitoring Program Performance in Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care

I’ve just written a blog post discussing how program performance is monitored in Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -The Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) is the System Planner for Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care (full disclosure: I work as CHF’s Director of Research and Data). As System Planner, CHF disburses approximately $42 […]

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A Post-Keynesian Summer School – TORONTO – June 23-25, 2017

The Review of Keynesian Economics and the Progressive Economic Forum are sponsoring a “Post-Keynesian Summer School”, to be held on the campus of the University of Toronto, June 23-25, 2017, and featuring leading post-Keynesian scholars from Canada, the US, and Europe. The summer school is aims at both undergraduate and graduate students, and registration is only $25 US per person, […]

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Income Inequality Surged Under Harper

Just as Conservatives gathered to elect a new leader, Statistics Canada released income data for 2015. These allow us to look at trends under the full term of the Harper Government from 2006 to 2015. Average after tax income of economic families rose over this period – from $68,200 to $76,900 in inflation-adjusted dollars. But the gains were very unfairly […]

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Precarious work, Federal government edition

There was a recent article in the Hill Times about temporary workers in the federal public service, noting that this number is growing even under Trudeau’s sunny ways (that’s not entirely fair, the report only covered the first 5 months of the Liberal’s tenure). The numbers come from the Privy Council clerk’s annual report, which shows that the number of […]

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Ontario’s Electricity Sector III: Legislative & Finance Update

My January and April posts on the Ontario electricity sector described how decisions by different Ontario governments gave rise to excess electricity generation with an inflated cost structure, leading to higher electricity prices. Here I discuss the latest development, the Liberal Government of Ontario’s proposed financial framework for its “Fair Hydro Plan” (FHP). In election mode, the Government tabled Bill […]

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NAFTA and Labour Rights

I recently spoke at the Standing Committee on International Trade on their study “Priorities of Canadian Stakeholders having an interest in Bilateral and Trilateral trade in North America, between Canada, United States and Mexico”.  I share my notes with you here, although I did ad-lib a bit in the actual committee meeting. ********************** The labour movement is keenly aware that […]

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