Behind the Numbers

Don’t throw taxes under the bus

April 15th, 2014 · · Ontario, public services, Taxes and Tax Cuts

As Ontario inches toward a potential spring election showdown, Premier Kathleen Wynne is making clear that she wants public transit to become the ballot box question.

That’s heartening, because there is majority public support for greater transit investments after too many years of political and traffic gridlock.

But it looks like she’s throwing needed new taxes under the bus in the process.

In her most recent announcement, Wynne committed to $29 billion in transit and transportation improvements over the next 10 years.

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Ontario’s slow growth economy: better news than you might think

April 14th, 2014 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Ontario

Ontario’s Minister of Finance recently released a report that looked into the future, and saw a slow growth scenario for our economy over the next 20 years.

Charles Sousa predicts that Ontario’s economy will grow at just above 2 per cent a year, on average, for the next 20 years. To put just how slow that is in context: that’s below the average for the previous 25 years – including the two huge recessions that took place during that period.

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Unfortunate outcome to a disappointing campaign

April 13th, 2014 · · Democracy, Employment and Labour, Quebec

The province of Quebec now has a new government. On April 7th, in a majority of ridings, the population chose to elect a representative of the Liberal Party of Quebec, making neurosurgeon Philippe Couillard the new Premier. Former PQ leader Pauline Marois thus became not only the only woman to lead Quebec, but also the first Premier to fail to win a second term for his or her party in more than 40 years.

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Why the job market still looks pink and blue

April 9th, 2014 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Employment and Labour, Gender Equality, Income Inequality

ImageOver the past twenty years more women have gone to university and more women have entered the paid workforce. So why does the job market still look pink and blue?

A recent study published by Statistics Canada finds that young women with university degrees today are most likely to become elementary school teachers or nurses.

Just like young women twenty years ago.

The increasing share of women attaining university degrees has clearly increased their share of some professional job markets—particularly in law and medicine. However, women’s shares of jobs in science and engineering have grown only slightly from their historically low levels.

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Help wanted: Ontario’s temporary foreign workers and the need for answers

April 8th, 2014 · · Employment and Labour, Ontario

Temporary foreign workers seem to be top of mind for many today.  In a CBC news article posted this morning, the CFIB claimed that temporary foreign workers have a better work ethic than their Canadian counterparts.  And yesterday, CBC reported that McDonald’s has been bringing in temporary foreign workers to fill new vacancies.

At the same time, new research from the Metcalf Foundation points out that migrant worker recruitment is big business – for profit companies are making big money matching migrant workers with precarious jobs.

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Privatization and promises

April 7th, 2014 · · public services, Saskatchewan, Uncategorized

When it comes to privatization, it seems the Saskatchewan government has a tough time recalling past promises. Heading into the 2007 election, then-Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall stated unequivocally that ”Crowns are not going to be privatized and (subsidiaries) are not going to be wound down.” Of course, we all know that once in power, Mr. Wall’s government sold off the Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN), privatized the Information Services Corporation (ISC), sold off a slew of crown subsidiaries  through the government’s Saskatchewan First Policy and has sought to privatize any publicly-delivered service not deemed a “core function” of government. So perhaps it should not be too surprising that Friday’s announcement by the government that it will privatize four rural liquor stores completely contradicts Mr. Wall’s promise in October of 2012 “not to privatize existing government-owned liquor stores.” This government has been remarkably adept at denying its privatization agenda, so I eagerly await the intellectual contortions necessary to justify how this latest broken promise is actually not further evidence of the government’s privatization agenda.

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Ontario’s Labour Market: Part-time gains, long-term pain

April 4th, 2014 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Employment and Labour, Ontario

This morning’s job numbers from Statistics Canada report that Ontario created 13,400 net new jobs in March.  That’s the largest gain in seven months – a fact that masks a loss of 6,500 full-time jobs in exchange for 19,900 part-time positions.

The good news is the employment rate for prime-aged workers increased by 0.1 percentage points.  The youth employment rate increased by almost 1 percentage point.  At the same time, the participation rate of prime-aged workers decreased as 15,000 prime-aged workers left the labour force.

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Nova Scotia Nurses are Pulling the Red Cord

April 3rd, 2014 · · Employment and Labour, Nova Scotia, public services

Nurses in Nova Scotia are on the picket lines today in a legal strike. They are expected to be out until the government passes essential services legislation. Bill 37, Essential Health and Community Services Act, is a sly attempt to achieve two things:

  • Effectively remove the right to strike (the legislation itself anticipates this by referring, in Section 15, to “depriving the employees in the bargaining unit of a meaningful right to strike,” and
  • Avoid the substitute – interest arbitration on issues in dispute.

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Comments on the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23)

April 2nd, 2014 · · Democracy

The CCPA was invited to appear before The House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to present on Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act. Patti Tamara Lenard, an Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and CCPA Research Associate, presented to the Committee. Her remarks are below.

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Thank you very much for inviting the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives to speak to the Committee this evening.  I am Assistant Professor of applied ethics at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and I am a research associate with the CCPA.

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Commentaires sur la Loi sur l’intégrité des élections (C-23)

April 2nd, 2014 · · Democracy

Le CCPA a été invité à commenter auprès du Comité permanent de la procédure et des affaires de la Chambre au sujet du projet de loi C-23, la loi sur l’intégrité des élections. Patti Tamara Lenard, professeure adjointe en éthique appliquée à l’École supérieure en affaires publiques et internationales de l’Université d’Ottawa et attachée de recherches au CCPA, a presenté devant le Comité. Ses remarques sont ci-dessous.

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Je vous remercie d’avoir invité le Centre canadien de politiques alternatives à témoigner devant le Comité ce soir. Je suis professeure adjointe en éthique appliquée à l’École supérieure en affaires publiques et internationales de l’Université d’Ottawa ainsi qu’attachée de recherches au CCPA.

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