Low taxes are nothing to brag about

I’ve written an opinion piece that appears in today’s Regina Leader-Post. The piece argues that the Saskatchewan government shouldn’t brag about the province’s low-tax climate (which it recently did). Rather, I argue that taxes serve important functions. The link to the opinion piece is here. Nick FalvoNick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant with a PhD in Public Policy. He […]

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An update on Canada’s National Housing Strategy

Steve Pomeroy, arguably Canada’s top affordable housing policy expert, has written a status update on Canada’s National Housing Strategy (NHS). His overview includes some great background material on Canadian housing policy generally. Points raised in his analysis include the following: -The Trudeau government’s much-anticipated NHS was unveiled in November 2017. -In most provinces and territories, federal funding accounts for less […]

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Supportive housing for persons with serious mental health challenges

I’ve recently written a ‘top 10’ review of a new book on supportive housing—i.e., subsidized housing with social work support—for persons with serious mental health challenges. The book’s an anthology that was edited by three Ontario-based researchers. A key questions that emerges in the book is: Should such housing be owned and operated by for-profit providers, or by non-profit providers? […]

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Carey Doberstein’s book on homelessness governance

I’ve just reviewed Professor Carey Doberstein’s book on homelessness governance (UBC Press). The book looks at the way decisions were made pertaining to funding for homelessness programs in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto during the 1995-2015 period. Points raised in my review include the following: -Homelessness trends look quite different across the three cities. For example, it can be growing in […]

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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 things to know about the 2018 Saskatchewan budget

I’ve written a ‘top 10’ blog post about the recently-tabled Saskatchewan budget. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -This year’s budget was quite status quo. -Last year’s budget, by contrast, included a series of cuts to social spending. Last year’s budget also announced cuts to both personal and corporate income taxes that were subsequently reversed. -Saskatchewan has […]

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Newly-signed FPT housing framework agreement

I’ve just written a blog post about the newly-signed federal-provincial-territorial housing framework agreement. This agreement builds on (and helps move forward) Canada’s National Housing Strategy, which was released last fall. One of the points made in the blog post is that the federal government’s stated objective of removing approximately half-a-million households from core housing need is very ambitious, in light […]

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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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Media release: Alberta needs a provincial sales tax

(March 20, 2018-Edmonton) Today, a coalition of researchers, economists, and members of civil society released an alternative budget to boost Alberta’s economic growth while reducing income inequality. “Alberta is on the road to recovery after a deep recession,” said economist Nick Falvo, “now is not the time to reverse the course.” The document, High Stakes, Clear Choices, sets a progressive […]

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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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New book on Indigenous homelessness

I’ve recently reviewed a new book on homelessness among Indigenous peoples. The book, published by the University of Manitoba Press, was edited by Evelyn Peters and Julia Christensen. My review can be accessed at this link. 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 […]

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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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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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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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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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Program Evaluation

I’ve just blogged about program evaluation and the way it’s used where I work—namely, at the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF). The blog post serves as a primer on program evaluation. It also discusses how CHF measures performance by programs that it funds (CHF disburses $42 million annually to programs in Calgary’s homeless-serving sector). The blog post can be found at […]

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