• Why business and banks hate the minimum wage

    … high-wage employers benefit from reduced turnover, lower recruitment costs, and greater productivity. That’s why more than 40 economists also signed an open letter cautioning against “fear-mongering that is out of line with the latest economic research”… At a time when the provincial unemployment rate has plunged to the lowest level in 16 years — 5.8 per cent last month — business interests want us to believe that we can’t afford it?

  • Income grows in resource-rich provinces, Ontario and Quebec lag behind

    All told, 4.8 million people in Canada were considered as living in low income in 2015, compared with 4.3 million in 2005. Though the rate was little changed, the poverty shifted among regions and age groups. More seniors are living in low income, while the share of the youngest children in low-income households fell. The rate of seniors in low income climbed to 14.5 per cent from 12 per cent a decade ago. By province, low-income shares… rose to 14.4 per cent from 12.9 per cent.

  • Canadian incomes jump, Ontario residents hit by manufacturing downturn: Statistics Canada

    Canadian incomes have risen by more than 10 per cent over the last decade, fuelled by a booming resource sector, while the number living on low incomes is rising in Ontario where growth has been sluggish, Statistics Canada says… the downturn in the manufacturing sector slowed income growth and the proportion of low-income residents has been on the rise… Across Ontario, 14.4 per cent of residents — some 1.9 million people — were low income in 2015, an increase from 12.9 per cent in 2005.

  • Ontario must toughen law to protect temporary workers

    … as it stands now hiring through temp agencies limits companies’ liability for accidents on the job, reduces their responsibility for making sure that employees’ legal rights are respected, and cuts costs — all at the expense of workers’ safety and earnings. The legislation now before the Ontario legislature does not address these concerns. As a result, the growing trend toward hiring temp workers — creating an increase in precarious work — may continue unabated.

  • Tax changes are about levelling the playing field

    As more and more people set up corporations, there is a growing number of individuals who have access to tax advantages not available to other hard-working Canadians. This means that some of the highest-income earners are effectively being taxed at a much lower rate than everyone else. It is legal, but as a former business owner and high-income earner myself, I do not think it is right.

  • New federal jobs program targets students from underrepresented groups

    Ottawa is launching a new work-placement program for postsecondary students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and business that includes extra incentives for underrepresented groups. Companies in these fields that provide placements for first-year students, women, Indigenous students, people with disabilities and new immigrants will be eligible for wage subsidies of up to 70 per cent or $7,000. All other student placements will be eligible for funding of up to 50 per cent of the wage, or $5,000.

  • Canada should not be satisfied with just tweaking NAFTA

    Chapter 11… allows foreign investors to challenge before nonjudicial trade panels, any laws and regulations — including environmental rules — that interfere with their corporate profitability… Chapter 19… allows NAFTA governments to challenge one another’s trade penalties before an independent panel… When the Americans have been ruled against in such cases they have sometimes acquiesced. But at other times, they have simply ignored the ruling.

  • School fundraising report says amounts raised far outpace government grants for needy areas

    Ontario now ranks fifth in Canada in per-student spending… much of the additional money has been spent on class size reductions, and full-day kindergarten. Both of those initiatives have benefitted elementary teachers and created thousands of jobs. Overall, the report says whether special education, English-as-a-Second-Language students or school maintenance, these areas “have all been underfunded for two decades.”

  • NAFTA needs an overhaul to improve workers’ rights

    In reality, NAFTA has been key to the transformation of Canada over the last two decades, enabling corporations to become ever more dominant economically and politically, while rendering our labour force increasingly vulnerable and insecure… NAFTA’s Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement (ISDS) mechanism… amazingly, allows foreign corporations to sue governments over laws that interfere with corporate profitability — even if those laws are aimed at protecting the public from, say, environmental or health risks.

  • The economic case for a higher minimum wage

    “The weight of evidence from the United States points to job loss effects that are statistically indistinguishable from zero.” … the growing group of minimum-wage earners, who currently comprise about 10 per cent of the workforce, spend a larger portion of their income than any other workers. When they make more, they spend more… higher wages improve businesses’ productivity by raising morale, reducing turnover and training costs and improving the quality of job applicants.