To address health inequalities, look beyond the role of individual responsibility

A new report by the Canadian Medical Association provides a timely reminder that money buys better health, even in a country with a universal public healthcare system. A poll commissioned by the CMA found a large and increasing gap between the health status of  Canadians in lower income groups (household income less than $30,000) and their wealthier counterparts (household income […]

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Canada’s Own Third World

There’s a fascinating new report from the Centre for the Study of Living Standards that calculates Human Development Index (HDI) scores for all of Canada’s provinces and territories.  Here’s the citation: The Human Development Index in Canada: Estimates for the Canadian Provinces and Territories, 2000-2011, by Elspeth Hazell, Kar-Fai Gee, and Andrew Sharpe (Ottawa: Centre for the Study of Living […]

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Missed Opportunity for PEI Poverty Strategy

The government of Prince Edward Island has introduced a Social Action Plan to Reduce Poverty, found online at PEI CSS. This Action Plan follows community consultations, including face-to-face meetings and written submissions by community groups. The government of PEI seems to take very seriously a Social Determinants of Health approach to poverty reduction, and so has exempted departments of health, […]

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Poverty in Yukon

Last week I was in Whitehorse where I released a peer-reviewed policy report on poverty in Yukon. The report was part of the much larger Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada project. Report findings include the following: -Ignoring poverty can be quite costly, as has been clearly demonstrated by research on the ‘costs of poverty’ done by economist Nathan […]

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Meilinomics II: Income from Within

The following is another excerpt from Dr. Ryan Meili’s new book, A Healthy Society: How a Focus on Health Can Revive Canadian Democracy, which fellow blogger Greg Fingas has been discussing. The road to Tevele is red sand and sloppy in the rainy season. The pick- up truck bounces in and out of ruts as we head thirty-some kilometres from […]

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Rex Murphy’s Naive Take on the Quebec Student Protests

On CBC’s The National last night, Rex Murphy weighed in on Quebec’s student protests; the transcript can be found here,  and the three-minute video here.  He calls the protests “short sighted,” points out that Quebec already has the lowest tuition fees in Canada, and suggests the students’ actions are “crude attempts at precipitating a crisis.” He says they are the “actions […]

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Stapleton on Harper’s Proposed OAS/GIS Changes

John Stapleton has an opinion piece out on Prime Minister Harper’s proposed changes to Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). I find the following quote from Stapleton to be particularly troubling: By providing OAS and GIS at age 65, Canada has greatly reduced the incidence of poverty among seniors. By moving the age of eligibility for OAS […]

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Hiking the Retirement Age is the Wrong Answer to the Retirement Crisis

Raising the age of eligibility for Old Age Security/Guaranteed Income Supplement (OAS/GIS) benefits is the worst possible way to deal with the retirement income security crisis facing Canadians. Experts such as former Assistant Chief Statistician Michael Wolfson project that one half of all middle income baby boomers face a severe cut to their living standards in old age. This is […]

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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 […]

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Housing in the Northwest Territories

Last week, I was in Yellowknife, where I released results of new research on affordable housing in the Northwest Territories (NWT). The research project was sponsored by the Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada, and was a collaboration with the Centre for Northern Families. Research findings include the following: -Housing indicators suggest that the state of housing in the NWT […]

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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 […]

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Fighting energy poverty and the transition to zero-emission housing

Today CCPA released a new Climate Justice Project report, Fighting Energy Poverty in the Transition to Zero-Emission Housing: A Framework for BC, by yours truly, Eugene Kung (a lawyer with the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre and a steering committee member of the CJP) and Jason Owen (who worked on this project as a student at UBC, now with the City of Surrey). The full report as […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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So the BC HST Was Defeated. Now What?

Earlier today, Elections BC announced the much anticipated HST referendum results. British Columbians have voted to scrap the HST. The best part about having the results is that now we can move on from the narrow issue of what type of sales tax is better and focus our energies on some of the bigger issues affecting British Columbia. Since the […]

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Tuition Has Increased 41% Since 1998

A recent cbc.ca article reports on plans by Quebec student groups to protest  planned tuition hikes by the Charest government. Over a five-year period, Quebec’s Liberal government plans to increase tuition by roughly 75 percent. The article notes that tuition levels in Quebec are currently among the lowest in Canada. But as I’ve blogged about here, living conditions for many […]

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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 […]

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How much does poverty cost BC?

We’ve known for a long time that we all pay for poverty. We just didn’t know how much. This is the question I investigate in my latest CCPA report The Cost of Poverty in BC. If you’re not in the mood for reading the report, you can watch a short video that summarizes the findings here. Study after study has […]

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Not allowed to talk about poverty

BC Stats put out a release yesterday with the headline “Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOs) are a Poor Measure of Poverty” and author Dan Schrier gets in a dirty hit right in first paragraph: Despite protestations from Statistics Canada that LICOs are not meant to be used as a measure of poverty, there are many groups that insist on using them […]

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How Rob Ford Can Fix Social Housing

I have an opinion piece in today’s Toronto Star regarding Toronto’s Mayor, Rob Ford, and the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). Mr. Ford would like to see a considerable number of units from TCHC’s existing stock sold off.  For background on the issue, please my blog post of April 13, which can be found here. In today’s piece, I argue that it is more […]

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Is Capitalism Terminally Ill?

Today (June 15th) the Toronto Star broke news that the NDP was planning to drop the term “socialism” from its party’s platform. This was a mere formality of what had been in existence for decades: the party hasn’t been “socialist” in any shape or form for a very long time. On the very same day, new data emerged from the […]

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Incomes and the Recession

Today’s Statscan release “Incomes of Canadians” provides data for 2009 and a partial reading on the impacts of the recession. (I say partial because the 2008 annual average data were impacted by the onset of the recession in the last quarter of the year, and since these impacts continued well into 2010.) The data give some sense of the devastating […]

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The Town Without Poverty

A guest post from Richard Pereira, a recent winner of the PEF Essay Contest… – Canadian Economics Association – The Town Without Poverty There were hundreds of speakers at this year’s CEA conference in Ottawa.  About a dozen of these were designated “Special Lectures/Conférences spéciales” and among them were Jack Mintz on “The GST After Twenty Years”, Don Drummond on […]

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Toronto Community Housing Corporation

I have an opinion piece in today’s Toronto Star regarding the recent controversy surrounding the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC).  In the way of background: -TCHC is Canada’s largest provider of social housing, and Toronto’s largest landlord. -There have been two recent reports by the City of Toronto’s auditor–one looks at staff expenses at TCHC, and another looks at TCHC’s […]

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Poverty – The 1% Solution

Statistics Canada provides free of charge a very rich set of data on income issues, including low income (aka poverty) in 20/20 format. Here you can find data on the incidence of low income by four different measures; by family type; and by quite detailed geography. (You have to play around with the active dimension to get at all of […]

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Homelessness in Canada’s North

I’m the main researcher on a three-year SSHRC-funded research project looking at homelessness and affordable housing in the Northwest Territories (NWT).  Frances Abele (Carleton University) is Principal Investigator on the project, and Arlene Haché (Yellowknife Women’s Society) is Co-Investigator.  The project falls under the larger umbrella of the Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada. Though several larger papers will come out […]

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