• Guaranteed not-even-low income a leap in the dark

    … who but a monster would balk at paying a measly three extra points to end poverty? … On the other hand, if $17,000 a year still sounds a lot like poverty to you… the basic personal exemption on federal income tax forms is just $11,809 this year. Before we hurl ourselves headlong at a new social program of a relatively untested nature, maybe we could explicitly just stop taxing the poor first?

  • Pitfalls for Ford’s mimimum wage tax-break plan

    The first issue is who will benefit. Is it only minimum-wage workers, or will it include part-time workers with the same annual earnings? What about those who make slightly more than the minimum wage? This is an important detail, as poorly designed policy can make taxpayers face what is known by economists as the welfare cliff… A simpler way is to raise the basic minimum exemption (the amount every person isn’t taxed on) to what an average minimum wage worker earns.

  • Universal pharmacare the right prescription for Canada

    the Parliamentary Budget Office calculates that while universal pharmacare would cost governments $7 billion annually, it would provide Canadians on the whole with net savings of $8.1 billion a year.
    To put it another way, any increase in taxes attributable to pharmacare would be more than compensated for by out-of-pocket savings… perhaps this report is a sign that, finally, this eminently sensible idea is gaining political traction in Ottawa.

  • More talk about universal pharmacare in Canada, but still no action

    Since the Royal Commission on Health Services issued its recommendations on reforming still wet-behind-the-ears medicare in 1964, there have been dozens upon dozens of earnest reports, each saying more or less the same thing and each greeted with bons mots, then dutifully filed on a dusty shelf… The report from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, predictably, called for Canada’s patchwork of private and public drug plans to be replaced with a national single-payer pharmacare system.

  • Three points on the GST, to end poverty? Guaranteed income sounds like a good deal

    The income guarantee in the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, the province notes, is set at 75 per cent of Statistics Canada’s Low Income Measure; combined with “other broadly available tax credits and benefits,” it would be enough to pay for basic household needs. Indeed, it is not far off the low income thresholds defined by StatsCan’s Market Basket Measure. Three points on the GST, to end poverty. I can’t think of a better way to spend public funds.

  • Charities ‘worried’ after meeting with Morneau on ‘political activity’ law

    … the legislation should be rewritten “to explicitly allow charities to fully engage, without limitation, in non-partisan public policy dialogue and development,” the panel recommended. Partisan activities, such as supporting candidates or parties, should remain banned, said the report — echoing a view widely held by charities themselves… there’s been a year of silence since. The 2018 budget in late February dashed charities’ hopes again…

  • NDP’s Andrea Horwath finds her footing on progressive platform

    While Horwath may gain traction with soaring rhetoric, her platform remains slippery in spots — brimming with good ideas on caring, but burdened by a black hole on hydro promises that sound too good to be true. Like the Liberals with their ambitious budgetary spending, the New Democrats stress caring while downplaying paying for it… The NDP fiscal plan calls for a budget deficit of roughly half the $6.7 billion projected in the Liberal budget in 2018-19, thanks to higher taxes on the rich and corporations

  • Too many Canadian governments are borrowing too much money

    Now that good times have returned, provincial and federal politicians are still piling on debt. This week’s Ontario budget crystalized the fact. A province with a strong economy and a small budget surplus, but the country’s fourth-highest net debt-to-GDP ratio, plunged itself back into deficit for the foreseeable future… social democrats have as much reason as conservatives to be appalled by heavy government debt. That’s because, far from being a reliable source of government revenue, debt quickly begins biting into government spending.

  • Doug Ford’s false fiscal promises

    Ford won’t find $6 billion in waste, just as he and his brother did not find the promised efficiencies at city hall. Instead, he will have to raise the money the old-fashioned way: taxes, debt or cuts to services. And given his outspoken disdain for taxes and debt, it’s no great mystery what path he would pursue… Ford is asking us to play a sort of austerity lottery. Because Ford won’t tell us, we can’t know which jobs will be lost, which programs deep-sixed, which services cut.

  • Highlights of the Ontario budget

    - $822 million extra to hospitals, funding more cardiac and cancer surgeries, chemotherapy, MRIs and other services; – $575 million to make drugs completely free for seniors; – $800 million over two years for drug and dental coverage for people without insurance (up to $400 for singles, $600 for couples, $50 for each child); – $2.1 billion over four years for mental health care; – $2.2 billion over three years, providing some parents free child care; – $1 billion over three years for a seniors home-care benefit of $750 a year…