Archive for the ‘Policy Context’ Category

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Trump’s beggar-thy-neighbour trade strategy is anything but foolish

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

… for decades the United States played by the rules; everyone grew richer and the United States grew richer faster than everyone else. In the postwar world, the United States’ support of free trade was a key – perhaps the key – to its rise to global economic leader. Nowadays, however, the game has changed. Where once the goal of the United States was to rise to global hegemony, today its goal is to maintain that dominance.

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Ontario divided: Anger, economics and the fault lines that could decide the election

Saturday, May 19th, 2018

Over the past decade, Ontario has created 580,000 new positions, as measured by the increase in employed people. Metro Toronto, which accounts for less than half of the province’s population, nabbed 80 per cent of those jobs. Ottawa accounts for another 10 per cent. The rest of Ontario, with millions of people from Cornwall to Thunder Bay, accounts for the remaining 10 per cent.
The situation is ripe for a populist to rip through the province and attract voters by exploiting the grievances of those who have been left out of the boom.

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Can Canada reinvent the plastic economy?

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

Stop the irrational level of plastic waste; Systematically ensure reduction of unnecessary products; Ensure reuse and recycling – with thoughtful cradle-to-grave product design; Replace petroleum inputs with benign materials… Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has already called for the G7 to develop a “zero plastics waste charter,” and there is talk of a global treaty… there must be more than a photo op, a news release and a general call for global action.

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A measly $292.50 that could have changed it all

Saturday, April 21st, 2018

“The Supreme Court failed to rule that Provinces have no right to erect interprovincial tariff barriers. This is indeed unfortunate news for Canadian consumers, but a relief for provinces who have allowed fiscal priorities to supersede consumer choice, for years. For the agrifood sector, the decision would have had tremendous significance.” … Some favorable to the current regime believe the Comeau ruling could have triggered a race to the bottom, in terms of health standards and food safety. Such an argument is nonsense. Risk management practices in the Canadian agrifood sector are exemplary.

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Later Retirement versus Higher Immigration as Remedies for an Aging Population

Friday, March 30th, 2018

Increasing the age at which Canadians typically cease work and access benefits such as pensions is a far more practical and powerful tool to mitigate the economic and fiscal stresses of aging… Safeguarding our living standards and public programs against the stresses of aging requires other tools – in particular, rewards for people who stay economically active into their 60s and beyond. If we foster longer working life and address other challenges facing our pensions and healthcare, we will handle demographic change much better

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New law to make employers accountable for temp worker injuries

Friday, March 9th, 2018

Employers who use temporary employment agencies will no longer be able to evade liability for workplace accidents… as new legislation promises to hold them responsible when temps are injured or killed on the job… they would remove existing incentives for employers to shift risky work onto temp agency workers who often receive little training or protection… The ministry is also undertaking an in-depth investigation into the temp agency sector with results expected to be available in the spring.

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Ontario to introduce ‘pay transparency’ legislation

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

If passed, the “pay transparency” bill would require all publicly advertised job postings to include a salary rate or range, bar employers from asking about past compensation and prohibit reprisal against employees who do discuss or disclose compensation. It would also create a framework that would require large employers to track and report compensation gaps based on gender and other diversity characteristics, and disclose the information to the province.

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

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

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.

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

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

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.

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THE HIGH COST OF LOW CORPORATE TAXES

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

StatsCan numbers show that drastic cuts to the corporate income tax rate over the last 20 years have not stimulated new business investment… “In Canada, the evidence is that increasingly a larger fraction of income to corporations is related to excessive profits,” said Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Laureate and Professor at Columbia University. “Lower tax rates encourage firms to engage in more excessive profit seeking… income and wealth have boomed for a tiny fraction of the population, but this has not benefitted the rest of the population at all.

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