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 […]

Read more

Labour Force Exodus

Statistics Canada reported this morning that 38,000 people gave up looking for work in February. The official unemployment rate fell because these Canadians were no longer counted as being unemployed. However, this huge withdrawal from the labour force is a sign of weakness in the job market. Nationally, 25,000 of the 38,000 who dropped out were younger than 25. The […]

Read more

What To Do About Dutch Disease?

In response to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s complaint about oil and the exchange rate, several (conservative) commentators argued that this “Dutch disease” is not what ails Ontario manufacturing. Andrew Coyne took a different tack yesterday, agreeing that petroleum development drives up the exchange rate to the detriment of manufacturing and hence Ontario’s economy, but concluding that nothing can or should […]

Read more

The Affordability of Post-Secondary Education

Carleton University’s Ted Jackson teaches a graduate seminar course on post-secondary education in Carleton’s School of Public Policy and Administration. Earlier this month, I was invited to give a guest presentation to Professor Jackson’s class. I focused the presentation on affordability challenges faced by students wanting to pursue post-secondary education. My slide presentation can be found here. Nick FalvoNick Falvo […]

Read more

Drummond Misdiagnoses Ontario’s Economy

The Harvard International Review has posted an interview with Don Drummond. I have posted the following response: It is good Drummond confesses that his free-market policy prescriptions failed to improve productivity, but old habits apparently die hard: “We have an Employment Insurance scheme that basically dissuades people from going where the jobs are. We still have interprovincial trade barriers.” The […]

Read more

McGuinty’s Business Tax Breaks

An interesting nugget in last week’s Drummond report is Table 11.1, an updated version of Table 2 from “Ontario’s Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth” (2009). It provides a sectoral breakdown of the McGuinty government’s recent business tax breaks: HST input tax credits, cutting the corporate income tax, and eliminating the corporate capital tax. The combined annual cost of these […]

Read more

Drummond: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Drummond Commission reported today. The Good While the McGuinty government prevented the Commission from considering tax rates, it proposes some sensible measures to raise revenue. Chapter 18, “Revenue Integrity,” recommends combating corporate tax avoidance and cracking down on the underground economy. Businesses sometimes hire workers as “contractors” to avoid paying Ontario’s Employer Health Tax. Drummond advises the province to […]

Read more

Could McGuinty’s cuts be worse than Harris?

The Ontario government’s long awaited and much discussed report of the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services (aka, the Drummond report) was finally publicly released this afternoon. As was rumoured, the report says Ontario would need to increase program spending by no more than 0.8% per year for the government to reach balance by 2017/18.   Drummond has adopted […]

Read more

Ontario’s Not Digging Deep Enough

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ biennial guide to Canadian mining taxation, Digging Deeper, features a comparative summary of royalties, mining taxes and corporate taxes for a hypothetical gold mine. This approach differs from the table I posted yesterday, which displayed royalty and mining tax revenue as a share of the minerals actually extracted from different provinces and territories in 2010. However, the conclusion is the same: […]

Read more

Ontario’s Pitiful Mining Tax

This table displays the mining taxes and royalties paid for minerals – including coal, but excluding oil and gas – to Canada’s major mining jurisdictions in 2010. The ideal would be to compare these charges with economic rent, which varies by mine and is difficult to calculate. However, even a simple comparison to overall production values suggests that provincial governments are collecting […]

Read more

The Universal Student Transit Pass

I have an opinion piece out on the City of Ottawa’s universal, student transit pass–also known as “the U-Pass.” Points raised in the op-ed include the following: -U-Pass programs exist for roughly 30 universities and colleges across Canada. -For a U-Pass program to be introduced, students typically must vote in favour of the program in student referenda. -When there is a […]

Read more

Corporate Taxes and Investment in Ontario

Last week, Ontario’s Ministry of Finance released the Ontario Economic Accounts for the third quarter of 2011. As The Globe reported, business investment was less than impressive: . . . investment in machinery and equipment fell slightly by 0.2 per cent between June and September, 2011, prompting Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan to fire a shot across the bow of […]

Read more

Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy

December marked the three-year anniversary of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. While I believe there is much to celebrate, much remains to be done. The Strategy surprised a lot of observers, especially in light of the fact that it was announced in December 2008, just as Ontario was entering a recession.  Its focus was almost exclusively child poverty, and at full […]

Read more

The Privatization of Social Housing

Last weekend, I spoke on a panel at the Annual Conference of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association.  The panel was inspired in large part by the recent debate in Toronto over Mayor Rob Ford’s attempt to sell social housing units to private buyers.  The panel, entitled “To Privatize or Not to Privatize? That is the question,” included myself, Vince Brescia […]

Read more

Ontario’s Stimulating Election Platforms

A common refrain among political pundits has been that all of Ontario’s election platforms are unrealistic given a deteriorating economic outlook. Rather than bemoaning this alleged lack of realism, we should evaluate how each party’s platform would fare in a downturn. The NDP platform is built on the fiscal framework set out in the 2011 provincial budget. The Liberal and […]

Read more

Time to Nationalize The Globe and Mail?

In response to a pretty moderate Ontario NDP platform, today’s lead Globe and Mail editorial goes off the rails on a crazy train: “disastrous,” “protectionism run amok,” “a fantasy,” “a radical platform that would move Ontario toward a command economy” and “dangerous provincialism.” It breathlessly reports that “Ms. Horwath did not rule out nationalization of the auto insurance industry” and […]

Read more

CCPA Comparison of 3 Ontario Election Platforms

Hugh Mackenzie of the CCPA has prepared a comprehensive comparison of the election platforms of the three major parties in Ontario’s election. It reveals an enormous fiscal “hole” in the Conservative platform, that will inevitably result in dramatic reductions in public spending if that party wins the October 6 election. The report, released yesterday, added up the value of the […]

Read more

Ontario’s Corporate Tax Debate

Today’s Ottawa Citizen (page A15) features the following op-ed on Ontario corporate taxes. I have added links to references. I recently discussed this issue on TV Ontario: Corporate Taxes are Low Enough By Erin Weir, Ottawa Citizen, September 27, 2011 Corporate taxes are a major dividing line in Ontario’s election campaign. Liberals and Conservatives would slash the provincial general corporate […]

Read more

Ontario NDP Platform: The Full Monty

Today, the Ontario NDP presented its comprehensive platform costing, including all policies announced during the election campaign. A popular theme among commentators has been that platform costings are unrealistic given the deteriorating economic outlook. As Andrea Horwath noted, her platform includes significant contingency funds. It is also cautiously built on the fiscal framework set out in the 2011 provincial budget. […]

Read more

The Ontario NDP Platform

Pollsters tell us that Ontario’s New Democrats may double their seat total in next month’s provincial election. It’s also entirely conceivable that they could be part of a coalition government at Queen’s Park. But what’s actually in the party’s election platform? One central feature of the NDP’s proposals is to implement a tax credit for companies that hire new workers. The tax credits would be valued at […]

Read more

Liberal Math

This Ontario NDP fact check should warm the hearts of economists, accountants and math teachers everywhere: Are Liberals Smarter Than a 5th Grader? The Ontario Liberals put out a release with this erroneous secondary headline: “NDP K-12 plan amounts to just 0.0009% of total education budget.” To calculate this figure, they divided $20 million by the province’s 2011-12 education budget […]

Read more

PSE in Newfoundland and Labrador

Last March, Keith Dunne and I wrote an opinion piece on Danny Williams’ post-secondary education (PSE) legacy in Newfoundland and Labrador. Among other things, we pointed out that average undergraduate tuition fees (for domestic students) in Newfoundland and Labrador are $2,624/yr., compared with $5,138 for Canada as a whole and $6,307 in Ontario. With a provincial election slated to take place in Newfoundland and Labrador on […]

Read more

McGuinty Proposes Undergraduate Tuition Grant

An Ontario election is slated for October 6, and the reigning Liberal Party will attempt to pull off a third consecutive majority government. In that vein, the Liberals have recently made a slew of campaign promises in the post-secondary education (PSE) sector. Notably, they’ve committed to reducing undergraduate tuition for “middle-class Ontario families” by 30 percent, amounting to “$1600 per student in […]

Read more

McGuinty’s Graph Misleads on Corporate Taxes

Further to Jim’s excellent critique of the Ontario Conservative platform’s graphs, I am similarly struck by the Liberal platform’s lone graph. “Cutting Ontario’s Taxes on New Business Investment in Half” (page 25) purports to show that corporate tax cuts are required to get the province’s “Marginal Effective Tax Rate” below the US and OECD averages. It compares projections of those […]

Read more

Tim Hudak’s Troubled Geometry

The Ontario election is in full swing, and the Conservative party’s campaign is guided by a platform booklet called the “changebook.”  It’s an audacious manifesto for significant change in the policy and the philosophy of government in the province, mapping out a long agenda of measures to cut taxes, balance the budget, privatize government assets and agencies, get tough on […]

Read more

“Grade-Boosting” Stimulant Use on Campus

A recent editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal looks at the use of “grade-boosting” stimulants (such as Ritalin) by Canadian post-secondary students. According to the editorial: “Universities and colleges are ground zero for ‘grade-boosting’ stimulant abuse.” The thrust of the editorial’s argument is that universities and colleges need to work proactively to reduce the misuse of such substances, including by […]

Read more

Ontario Student Debt

Last week, the CCPA released a paper by David Macdonald and Erika Shaker entitled Under Pressure: The Impact of Rising Tuition Fees on Ontario Families. The paper does a good job of explaining which households have been most impacted by rising tuition fees in Ontario. Points made in the paper include the following: -In light of rising levels of household debt, Canadian […]

Read more

The Double Whammy of Defunding Universities

As I’ve blogged about here, federal funding for post-secondary education (PSE) in Canada is decreasing.  Between 1985-1986 and 2007-2008, annual federal cash transfers to Ontario for PSE (in constant 2007 dollars) decreased from roughly $1.4 billion to just under $1 billion. (Yet, during that same period, PSE enrolment in Ontario increased by more than 60 percent). And as I’ve written about here, during Dalton McGuinty’s time as […]

Read more

Tuition Increases by Stealth

On Tuesday night, Peterborough City Council approved a plan for a for-profit corporation to own and operate a new student residence at Trent University.  I’m concerned that this may signal a new trend at Canadian universities; about a year ago, I blogged about a similar plan at the University of Toronto. I am not opposed to private sector actors being […]

Read more

Is Social Assistance a “Poverty Pariah?”

An article in the current edition of NOW Magazine looks at social assistance in Ontario. The article is aptly entitled “Poverty Pariah,” in light of how apparently unpopular Ontario’s welfare system has become over the past 20 years. As can be seen at the National Council of Welfare’s Interactive Welfare Incomes Map, a single adult on welfare in Ontario receives […]

Read more
1 2 3 4 5