Parents, take note! Your search for clarity in the education debates is finally over. The Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) commissioned a report a few weeks ago that set out a fairly bleak picture of general dissatisfaction with public schools and then concluded with a series of recommendations about how to “fix” the problem.
You know, by measuring teacher quality through student outcomes, in addition to having students and other “impartial” parties judge a teacher’s performance through more frequent (possibly surprise) evaluations…and then assigning bonuses to those educators deemed worthy. Because: incentives! ...Read more
Yesterday, Ontario’s NDP announced an election plank: increase the minimum wage, and at the same time, cut taxes for small business.
The gist of their proposal:
a) a 33% tax cut for small businesses and
b) a 56 cent minimum wage increase over and above what the current government has already committed
I have no squabble with the minimum wage increase. Sure, I wish it were higher, as we proposed to the Minimum Wage Advisory Panel back in November. The problem comes when a wage increase is coupled with a tax cut. This sets an extremely dangerous precedent. It buys into the rhetoric that minimum wage increases are bad for business and governments need to mitigate the damage. ...Read more
Tags: Employment and Labour·minimum wage·Ontario·Taxes and Tax Cuts
Yesterday, Statistics Canada released its 2012 wealth survey (Survey of Financial Security). Two previous wealth surveys were published in 2005 and 1999 with a similar methodology.
We often talk about income inequality, which examines what middle class and rich Canadians make in a year. However, wealth inequality examines middle class and rich Canadians’ net worth, including their house, RRSPs, savings, car, etc. If income inequality—where the top 20% of families get 43% of the income— is concerning, then wealth inequality should be downright shocking. The top 20% of families in Canada own 67% of all net wealth (although this is down slightly from the high of 69% of all wealth in 2005). ...Read more
Tags: Middle Class·Poverty and Income Inequality·wealth
Austerity has been the keyword for the past five years: initiatives decreasing spending in order to then slow down public debt growth were meant to ensure recovery after the 2008 financial crisis. We now know that it has instead hurt the economy. The Parti Québécois now contends it is turning its back on austerity and steering towards prosperity. In view of yesterday’s budget, doubts may raised over the government’s growth forecasts, but we can most certainly call into question the current budgetary direction’s benefits for the population of Quebec.
First, the government projects that increases in corporate investments will spur on growth by going up from 0.7% this year to 3.2% next year. Banking in part on this boost, the government expects a 4.2% increase in its own revenues next year. It’s hard not to see this as anything other than typical pre-electoral enthusiasm, since the Finance Minister himself acknowledges that the uncertainty facing the global economy leads to “hesitation in investments.” ...Read more
Tags: budget·debt·Quebec's budget
I like playing monopoly as much as the next girl. But I know the difference between monopoly money and what’s in my wallet. Not so Federal Budget 2014—at least not when it comes to public spending to improve the lives of women.
Status of Women Canada, the federal organization tasked with just this, has always had a laughably small budget. Consider that Status of Women Canada is mandated to promote “equality [and the] full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada” of half the population. All that with an operating budget that amounts to $1.67 per woman and girl in Canada. ...Read more
Tags: Child Care·Economy & Economic Indicators·Employment and Labour·Federal Budget·Gender Equality
In the wake of the Federal Budget, the CCPA’s Alternative Federal Budget, and months of disappointing job numbers, it seems that the national conversation about youth and work is undergoing a bit of a revival. Following on the heels of Jim Flaherty’s announcement of interest-free loans for skilled trades students, CBC’s The National called together a panel of experts to talk about the fit between post-secondary programs and the kinds of jobs available in our evolving economy. Between on-the-street interviews with anxious students, panelists were asked to make sense of the confusing labour market for young workers, to cut through conflicting statistics and rhetoric around labour shortages and the value of a university education. They were pressed, as so many experts are, to offer advice to recent graduates. ...Read more
Tags: Capitalism·Economy & Economic Indicators·Education·Employment and Labour·Youth
There was a strange debate at the Ontario Legislature on Monday. It was a disagreement not over policies or a scandal, but over the state of the labour market in Ontario.
Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak said: “Premier, in review of your first year in office, I noticed that Ontario didn’t create a single new job, that we lost as many jobs in the province as we gained. … [we’re] on the wrong track. We’re losing jobs—39,000 jobs in December alone.”
And Premier Wynne responded: “… he’s got his information wrong. There have been 93,000 net new jobs created in this province just in the last year.” ...Read more
Tags: Employment and Labour·Jobs·Ontario
Are you one of those people for whom your job is also a passion? Would you be ready to accept a pay cut only for the pleasure of keeping the job you currently have, along with the people you work with? According to a poll conducted last year by recruiting firm Monster, those who earn most are also those most likely to fall into that category. We shouldn’t be surprised. High wages often come with jobs wholeheartedly chosen, complete with responsibilities, influence, and recognition. However, for the vast majority of workers, work is more like a chore for which you get paid, too often with little opportunities for moving up and even less grasp on how your firm conducts business or on how things are done. ...Read more
Tags: capitalist system·wages·work·working day
Well, that was awkward.
Oh, sorry—I’m not talking about how the federal government, in a remarkable display of self-satire, cut short debate on the Fair Elections Act (or as I like to call it: “Democracy 2.0: Abridged too far”).
And, tempting as it is, I’m not hinting at the recent PBO analysis that demonstrates, directly contradicting the Treasury Board’s 18 days estimate, how sick leave in the Federal public service is virtually identical to the 11 days per year that private sector workers take.
Nor am I referring to the Federal Budget’s youth internship programs that, at best, address the needs of 1% of unemployed youth. ...Read more
Tags: Alternative Federal Budget·Child Care·Income Splitting·satire·Taxes and Tax Cuts
This piece was first published in the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab.
You could hear the sound of jaws dropping across the nation this week when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, in response to a question from a journalist, cast doubt on the idea of income-splitting for young families, something his party has been promising since March 28, 2011.
The idea – which would allow the higher-earning spouse to transfer income to their lower-earning spouse in order to reduce their total tax hit – provoked controversy right from the start. But it became an increasingly hard sell as economists and think tanks from across the political spectrum lined up in agreement: Income-splitting costs too much for something that is worse than doing nothing. ...Read more
Tags: Income Splitting·Poverty and Income Inequality·Taxes and Tax Cuts