• Canada should listen to wake-up call on health care

    … according to the data, access to health care could be greatly improved if we had more doctors. Among the 11 advanced countries, Canada has the fewest doctors per 1,000 residents. In 2014, we had 2.5 doctors for every thousand people. Norway had 4.4 and the U.S. was only slightly better than Canada, with 2.6… the government has successfully controlled spending on doctors’ services, but it comes at a cost.

  • Ottawa’s tax reforms don’t go far enough

    Tax expenditures now account for upwards of $100 billion of forgone revenue annually, about a quarter of all government spending. Yet, unlike other government outlays, they are not subject to significant parliamentary scrutiny or even government study. No one seems to know exactly how much is lost through these loopholes, or whether they achieve their stated objectives… these tax breaks… too often benefit most those who need help least, deepening rather than mitigating economic inequality.

  • Ottawa targets income ‘sprinkling’ loophole that lets wealthy Canadians reduce tax bill

    Wealthy Canadians can now legally reduce their tax obligations by routing their incomes through private corporations. They then pay salaries to family members, such as their children, who are subject to lower personal tax rates or none at all. The government is working on new rules that would “help to determine whether compensation is reasonable, based on the family member’s contribution of value and financial resources to the private corporation,”

  • Covering drugs for young people isn’t the best way to fill gaps in health care

    In an international health survey, about 11 per cent of Ontarians said they may not fill a drug prescription due to cost, but roughly three times that many say they skip dental services for that reason. Further, far too many young people end up in emergency rooms for severe mental health issues; others walk around with improper prescription eyeglasses or rely heavily on family caregivers for home support.

  • Makers of OxyContin, Percocet sued by U.S. governments over opioid crisis

    Their suit is part of a wave of litigation against pharmaceutical companies by states, counties and local prosecutors besieged by the worst addiction crisis in American history… Opioid overdoses killed 33,000 people in the U.S. in 2015, about three times the number of gun homicides. The intensity of the crisis, and likely the fact that many of the victims are white middle-class suburbanites with political clout, has produced a bipartisan shift in perceptions of addiction.

  • In praise of the income tax, on its 100th birthday

    The income tax made it possible for Canada to develop into the advanced society that we are today, enabling us to raise the revenue to fight the Second World War and then create strong public programs in health care, education and social insurance that have pushed us toward the top of every global index of human development.

  • Knowledge Gap on Taxes Wide and Costly

    This knowledge gap lessens take-up of government social programming, particularly among low-income earners. Lack of knowledge is also associated with lower trust levels in the tax system, which in turn leads to higher rates of tax evasion or avoidance. This can raise the cost of taxation for everyone… “Policies that use the tax administrative apparatus as a delivery system cannot reach their full potential if citizens don’t understand how taxes work in general and how they are affected specifically.”

  • Ontario’s plan for ‘universal’ and ‘affordable’ day care won’t be universal and it sure isn’t affordable

    Subsidies will only be available to low- and middle-income families, and this is a good thing… Government-run day care is simply uneconomical… by increased levels of unionization among child-care workers — both those at public centres and those offering home-based day care. With Ontario’s new labour-law proposals, which would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour and allow for easier private sector unionization, the cost increases could be even more dramatic.

  • The Brass Tax: Busting Myths about Overtaxed Canadians

    … the average tax rate reflects disproportionately the tax rate of the highest-paid… typical Canadians, smack in the middle of the income spectrum, earn incomes of roughly $50,500 and pay about $7,000 in income taxes; their effective tax rate was roughly 14%. The table also shows that only 20% of working Canadians pay more than 20% of their income as income taxes… Canada’s highest earners have an effective income tax rate of only 26%.

  • Kathleen Wynne’s precarious workplace reforms fall painfully short

    … she has failed to deal adequately with two aspects of the modern workplace that contribute to job insecurity. One is the growing tendency of firms to pretend that their workers are self-employed contractors. This fiction allows unscrupulous bosses to avoid shelling out for statutory benefits, such as employment insurance and vacation pay. The other is an antiquated labour relations regime that, in an economy no longer dominated by factories, makes it impossibly difficult for unions to organize.