• Don’t forget child care

    What’s missing from all the leaks out of Ottawa is any hint that the budget will include the two programs that studies indicate would make the biggest difference in women’s lives and careers: a universal child care plan and use-it-or-lose-it paternity leave…. study after study indicates [that a national child care program ] would do the most to help women get back in the workforce, boost family incomes, improve early childhood skills for poor kids, add to government coffers, reduce child poverty — and, importantly, shrink the wage gap.

  • Wage wars, trade wars, and virtual economic reality

    Statistically, the provincial economy is the strongest in decades. Ontario’s 5.5 per cent unemployment rate is the lowest this century, economic growth has been best in the West since 2014, interest rates are low and the budget is balanced. Tell that to vulnerable workers. Or the venerable Ontario Chamber of Commerce… Even the latest uproar over the minimum wage appears to be a battle of perception versus performance — or virtual reality versus economic reality.

  • Universal health care’s humble origins

    Viewed solely in economic terms, Britain could not afford the NHS in 1946. That the NHS was created speaks to a conscious decision on the part of government to prioritize health care and social services. Ultimately, what a society can or cannot afford is a policy decision… / The creation of the NHS was a courageous decision by the Labour Party to radically improve the lives of British people. It benefited most sectors of society – hence the continuing broad support for it.

  • Buckle up: Final NAFTA talks will be a bumpy ride

    Canada is the world’s biggest buyer of America’s exports…. “We buy more from the U.S. than America sells to China, Japan and the U.K. combined.”… Canada also accounts for a remarkable one-quarter of all U.S. small-business exports… Our enthusiasm for multilateral trade deals has not been matched by Canadian exporters exploiting those deals to crack offshore markets… our less than intrepid exporters should concern us as much as a NAFTA in limbo.

  • NAFTA will undermine health unless Canada resists monopolies on medicines

    There are two potential changes to NAFTA that threaten to derail progress toward affordable access to medicines: First, U.S. trade representatives are advancing Big Pharma’s demand for more restrictive intellectual property rules, pushing longer patent terms and “data exclusivity” rules… Second, business lobbies are pushing hard to maintain and expand the widely-denounced “investor-state dispute settlement” mechanism currently found in NAFTA.

  • Big little lies

    Yes, it turns out, small business creates lots of new jobs. But small business also destroys lots of jobs, because so many tiny companies go bust. If you look at the net number of jobs generated, small firms’ ability to create employment is nothing special… Handing out special favours to small businesses rewards companies for staying tiny and relatively inefficient rather than pushing them to grow and achieve economies of scale.

  • After the Sears debacle, why is Ontario making it easier to underfund pensions?

    Leaving retirees to scramble in their golden years is cruel, and it is unconscionable to expect an overtaxed middle class to foot the bill for corporate chicanery. If governments won’t stop companies from dodging their pension obligations, it’s just a matter of time before we see the next Sears Canada. And that’s a prospect that should worry us all.

  • Imagining an alternative to growing global inequality

    If the global growth in income inequality keeps on at its current pace, populist and nationalist trends around the world will flourish… 82 per cent of the wealth generated last year went to the richest 1 per cent of the global population. The poorest half of the world’s population — 3.7 billion people — saw no increase at all… the wealth of the billionaire class has risen by an annual average of 13 per cent since 2010, over six times faster than the wages of average workers.

  • Alberta’s minimum wage hike working despite gloomy predictions

    If an inexpensive meal in a restaurant can only be provided on the backs of people slaving away in the kitchen for next to nothing maybe we should consider a restaurant that charges a bit more. If we really need qualified, caring people to look after our children and our elders shouldn’t we be prepared to pay them what that is worth to us? And what about all those women who keep hotel rooms clean and tidy? Are we getting a good room rate because they don’t earn enough to properly support their families?

  • Why a guaranteed minimum income is a better option than raising the minimum wage

    Rather than blithely decreeing that employers must pay their employees an amount the rest of us think appropriate, and hoping it all works out for the best, the option is open to us as a society to put our money where our mouths are: to finance a decent minimum income for all with our taxes — which unlike wages are not so easily avoided. Maybe this latest increase in the minimum wage will prove less harmful than feared, but it is certain to be more harmful than the alternative: a minimum income, socially guaranteed and socially financed.