Archive for the ‘Policy Context’ Category

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Why Canada exploits temporary foreign workers

Saturday, June 20th, 2020

As long as free trade rules, farmers will be under pressure to pay their workers less than Canadians are willing to accept. That in turn will lead to more temporary foreign workers… the government is being urged to provide such workers with a path to citizenship that would give them the same rights (and presumably the same wages) as other Canadians… But who then will pick the asparagus?

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Here’s one simple — and relatively cheap — thing Ottawa needs to do to kick-start our economic recovery

Saturday, June 20th, 2020

Business closures have pounded women across the country, hitting service-oriented sectors that tend to be female-dominated harder than others. Parents who were able to arrange to work from home quickly realized that caring for young children at the same time is unsustainable… “There’s no way our economy can reopen, reboot and recover if 40 per cent of its labour market cannot engage the way it did before”

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Unpaid sick days are what ails Doug Ford’s recovery plan

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

It makes no sense to expect the working poor to become poorer if they come down with COVID-19. Nor is it fair to demand they sacrifice their individual wages, in poor health, so as to benefit society’s collective health… By penalizing sick workers, we will only make more people sick. The premier is right to preach that workers should stay home when unwell. But he should put his money where his morality is, rather than demand that those who can least afford it bear the burden

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Justin Trudeau says he’ll seek 10 days of paid sick leave for all workers

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

Right now there is a patchwork of sick-leave provisions across the country. All provinces require workers have access to unpaid sick days, but only Quebec and Prince Edward Island require paid sick leave. Ontario stipulates three days of unpaid sick leave, while paid sick leave is a decision between employers and their employees, companies and unions… Ottawa “can’t impose” paid sick leave on provinces or employers, but it “can come to the table with money and that would make a difference.”

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Five Eyes allies urged to lessen dependence on China

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Canada depends on China for 367 categories of goods, such as pharmaceuticals and food additives, of which 83 are used to supply critical national infrastructure, including rare-earth minerals, industrial products and electronics… as China has become more authoritarian under President Xi Jinping, it has increasingly shown a willingness to threaten and punish countries that question its actions… Canada must at a minimum diversify its supply chains.

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Ottawa to seek equity or cash from companies applying for new COVID-19 loan program

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

Large companies that receive bridge financing through a new federal loan program will have to give the government the option to take an ownership stake, or provide a cash equivalent… “The idea behind the warrant is to make sure that if the firm does well that Canadians, and Canadian taxpayers, share in that upside” … companies can pay off the interest on the loan through in-kind contributions, usually goods or services, for the first two years of the loan.

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Neo-liberalism may be another COVID-19 victim

Friday, May 8th, 2020

Overall, neo-liberalism seemed to be working. The developed world got its foreign-made goods at bargain basement prices. The workers of the developing world were usually exploited. But at least they had jobs… Now we have a pandemic that strikes right at the heart of globalization… Global supply chains may work in neo-liberal theory. But in the real world of disease, fear and sharp practices, these supply chains are strikingly vulnerable.

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How to restore Canada’s Employment Insurance program

Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

If we hadn’t already spent most of it, the EI surplus could have been used to pay for the entire cost of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program, currently estimated to cost $24 billion, and much of the $71 billion to support the Federal Wage Subsidy Program. The fact is, a strong, comprehensive and robust EI system that provides for all workers could have avoided the need to develop any overlapping programs.

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Millions of Canadians are now collecting a state-funded income. But what happens after the pandemic ends?

Saturday, April 18th, 2020

The advent of UBI in its pure form is unlikely. It has its champions today as never before, but UBI is likely to fade as the pandemic does. To start, the federal finance ministry, no fan of UBI, prefers to create targeted rather than universal programs. And never mind the streamlined efficiency of universal programs like Medicare… the issue isn’t affordability. It’s culture. People either embrace or reject paying the freight for ensuring that everyone has a decent, dignified way of life.

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Shockproofing Canada: We can make masks and ventilators, but we can’t make drugs needed to treat COVID-19

Friday, April 17th, 2020

“That’s the problem with stockpiles… You end up sitting on millions of dollars in drugs and equipment. Then you have to keep replacing it. And which ones do you stockpile?” The alternative, then, would be to expand production capacities for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies at home, but that’s more complicated than it might seem… Countries such as Canada will have to each find their own balance between self-reliance and international cooperation…

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