Here in Ontario, we have glimpsed the future, and it looks a lot like Austerity 2.0.
That’s what Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s mandate letters set out for her cabinet last week.
On the one hand, the premier is instructing her ministers to invest – in poverty reduction, transit and transportation improvements, and (hopefully) job creation.
But, with those same letters, ministers are being told to hold the line on spending. Even after two years of her predecessor’s austerity cuts, Wynne has instructed her cabinet to find $250 to $500 million in savings every year until 2017-18 – her target to eliminate the province’s fiscal deficit. ...Read more
Tags: Employment and Labour·Ontario·Public Services·Taxes and Tax Cuts
Today, the federal NDP is slated to use its Official Opposition Day to table a motion that would have Parliament Hill vote on a proposal to reinstate the federal minimum wage, which has been dormant since 1996.
The motion asks parliamentarians to consider incrementally raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over a five-year period.
For a while there, it looked like it would never happen – a Canadian $15 minimum wage movement. ...Read more
Tags: Federal Government·Income Inequality·living wage·minimum wage·Ontario
This morning the federal government announced a “Small Business Job Credit”. The idea is that small businesses with a payroll of under about $550,000 a year will have a portion of what they paid in EI refunded to them. Only the employers get some of their money back, not any of the workers. Also, this is at a time when EI is so restricted that 6 out of 10 unemployed Canadians can’t even get it. ...Read more
Tags: Employment and Labour·Employment Insurance
Many analysts agree that this morning’s job numbers from Statistics Canada are dismal. Canada created only 81,000 new jobs between August 2013 and August 2014. That’s the smallest August over August change since 1990.
While taking a look at the Canada wide numbers is important to understanding the economic health of the country, zoning in on the provincial and regional levels can be very informative, showing that different parts of the country are driving different trends. ...Read more
Tags: Economy & Economic Indicators·Employment and Labour·Ontario
The rich are growing richer at a faster pace than the rest of the population, which explains the widening gap between the richest and the poorest. That we know. Studies have proven the existence of income inequality time and time again. But why is the 1% getting richer at the expense of others? The latest IRIS study, conducted by associate researcher Paul-André Lapointe, provides potential answers. Basically, labour unions’ decline has weakened workers’ bargaining power, preventing them from taking full advantage of productivity gains. And if unions can no longer hold the balance of power, they can’t negotiate advantageous working conditions or ensure compensation keeps up with productivity gains.
To better understand the phenomenon, we must first go back in time. After WWII, the Western world (including Canada) went through a period of uninterrupted growth known as the postwar economic boom, or more pompously as “the Golden Age of Capitalism.” Productivity gains then were huge, and wages increased at roughly the same pace. The 1%’s share in wealth even decreased, meaning that others were managing to grow richer. The postwar economic boom is also a high point in unions’ history. Membership grew, and many struggles ended with victories. The improvements in working condition they won for their members then spread to other sectors. This is especially true for unionized workers in the public sector, long considered the labour movement’s powerhouse. ...Read more
By Timkal (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Prime Minister is wrapping up his ninth annual trip to Canada’s north this week. This year, like every year, the stealth ski-doo is loaded up with announcements.
Presents for everyone!
So what are women in Nunavut going to find in their stockings this year? The bulk of federal investments in economic development in the north are funnelled through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, which has an annual budget of just over $50 million (although that number is projected to decline over the next few years). Much of that $50 million is currently directed towards resource development—training for folks to work in the resource sector, infrastructure to get to the resources, research to tell us where the resources are. ...Read more
Tags: Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency·Nunavut
What makes for happy families? It turns out parents and policy makers could learn a lesson or two from their kids.
Lesson one: share.
OK, I’ll admit it, there is one thing you can’t share—those nine awesome months of heartburn and swollen ankles. But the day your bundle of joy arrives, the sharing benefits start. In 2006 Quebec implemented a new paternity leave program to help fathers share more of the benefits and (yes, also the dirty diaper, and the middle of the night headaches) with mothers. Result? More fathers take time out after their kids are born in Quebec than in the rest of Canada. A lot more. Three times more. ...Read more
Tags: Child Care·Employment and Labour·Gender Equality·quebec
There is something great about summer in Canada; it’s hot but also full of promise with places to visit, camping, travelling, cottaging, trips to the beach and various summer events and festivals.
For many of Canada’s students, however, summer has not been so great. New data from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey released Friday shows that students are struggling to find summer jobs for the sixth year in a row. ...Read more
Tags: canada·Employment and Labour·Jobs·post secondary education·students
The Conservative Government’s Minister of Employment and Social Development, Jason Kenney, announced on June 20th 2014 a raft of changes to the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). The program has attracted controversy since at least 2006, most recently when the CBC reported that MacDonald’s outlets in Victoria were favoring temporary foreign workers over Canadians in hiring decisions and the allocation of hours. ...Read more
Tags: canada·Employment and Labour·Immigration·Temporary Foreign Workers
Who does employment insurance help? It seems like an obvious question. One would assume that EI is for Canadians who’ve lost their jobs and are therefore going to be low income. EI is meant to support them through hard times as they hopefully get another job and get back on their feet.
But…. what if we look at what income quintile EI recipients formerly found themselves? Were they low-income, middle class, or rich before they got laid off? I did some digging and I was surprised by the result. ...Read more
Tags: Employment and Labour·Employment Insurance·Poverty and Income Inequality