Behind the Numbers

Entries Tagged as 'Federal Budget'

Lost and found: What budget language says about government priorities

April 23rd, 2015 · · Federal Budget

searchlight_leftThere’s already a ton of good analysis around the 2015 Federal Budget. Critics’ consensus? This budget is short-sighted, misleading and full of vote-buying measures that do little to address Canada’s real challenges.

The policies and measures contained in the budget say a lot about the current government’s priorities—budgets always do. But the language they use, independent of the policies themselves, says just as much about what this government really values.

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We don’t need a surplus, we need jobs

April 21st, 2015 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Employment and Labour, Federal Budget

Call me naïve. Going into the 2015 budget lockup I figured the sale of Canada’s GM shares (that could have been used as leverage to keep GM jobs in Canada, but I digress) would go toward a new infrastructure plan for cities. The proportion of people working today is unchanged from the worst point during the recession and job quality indexes are at all time lows. Building things creates jobs and returns benefits to the economy. Obviously, or so I thought, infrastructure spending would make an important appearance in Joe Oliver’s first budget.

And I suppose it will… in 2019.

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Budget 2015: Here’s a cheque, now go create some jobs

April 21st, 2015 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Federal Budget, Gender Equality, Household Debt

Oil prices are down. Economic growth is down. Employment rates are stagnant. Household debt is climbing to record highs. Canadians could use a break. The 2015 federal budget has one for you.

But there’s a catch.

First you have to qualify: you need to be part of a couple; you need to have a child under 18; it would help if one of you in that couple made a whole lot more than the other cheque; it would help if your household income was more than $200,000 a year.

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Three Things You Need To Know, Going Into This Year’s Federal Budget

April 21st, 2015 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Federal Budget

1. Canada’s Response to the Recession Not Best In Show, Economically Speaking

We’ve heard a lot about how Canada fared better than other nations during the global economic crisis. That’s because our economy was firing on all cylinders going into recession in 2007, the year before the crisis hit.

In fact, we entered this recession from a stronger economic position than the beginning of any other major recession since World War II.

But after 5 years of recovery, we are in a weaker position than any of the past three major recessions (1981-82, 1990-91 and 2008-09).

Decline and Rise of Canada's Economy Through 3 Recessions

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The TFSA Shouldn’t Be Scrapped, It Should Be Fixed: Budget 2015

April 20th, 2015 · · Alternative Federal Budget, Federal Budget, Income Inequality, Taxes and Tax Cuts

Today The Globe and Mail Report on Business published 5 economists’ thoughts on what tomorrow’s federal budget could and should do.

I chose to focus on a measure that is virtually guaranteed to be in the budget, because the federal government has promised to do it since the last federal election in April 2011: double the annual contribution limits to the Tax Free Savings Account.

I thought it was bad policy in 2011. It’s even less of an excusable policy direction now. It doesn’t even do what the feds say it does.

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Doubling contribution limit to Tax-Free Savings Accounts exposes true intent of a bad policy

April 16th, 2015 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Federal Budget, Income Inequality, Taxes and Tax Cuts

Last week, federal finance minister Joe Oliver re-affirmed that his government seeks to double the annual contribution limit to Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), from $5,500 to $11,000.

This is a terrible idea.

When the TFSA was first introduced, the claim at the time was that the policy was intended to support modest income people wanting to save for retirement, but for whom the RRSP may not make good economic sense. There was some merit to this argument, although boosting the CPP and Old Age Security (OAS) would have been a far preferable solution.

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We’re paying for $7/day child care, so why is only one province getting it?

April 15th, 2015 · · Child Care, Income Inequality

Many Canadians don’t know that Quebec has the least expensive childcare in the country at $7/day (well actually $7.30 now). Meanwhile in Toronto parents pay $49/day, and in Vancouver it’s $41 a day for toddlers/preschoolers.

It’s no surprise that $7/day childcare is wildly popular in Quebec. It’s far cheaper than the national average, and allows for more parents, and far more women to enter (or re-enter) the workforce. It also creates more spaces in regulated centres.

In Canada, there are a million families with working parents who have young children. However, there are only half a million regulated child care spaces, leaving parents with long wait times and an increased reliance on the unregulated sector.

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Alternative Federal Budget 2015: Delivering the Good

March 19th, 2015 · · Alternative Federal Budget, Economy & Economic Indicators, Federal Budget, Poverty and Income Inequality

The following remarks are excerpted from the 2015 Alternative Federal Budget press conference on March 19, 2015 on Parliament Hill, featuring David Macdonald and Kate McInturff.

David_Holding_AFB_small

This year is the 20th anniversary of the Alternative Federal Budget. Our first was in 1995. Over the years, we’ve proposed policies that have been successfully implemented, like the creation of a Parliamentary Budget Officer. Other ideas, like affordable childcare, we continue to advocate for.

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Bad Math: Why Budget 2014 fails to add up for women

February 21st, 2014 · · Economy & Economic Indicators, Employment and Labour, Federal Budget, Gender Equality

256px-Ampelmadchen_DresdenI like playing monopoly as much as the next girl. But I know the difference between monopoly money and what’s in my wallet. Not so Federal Budget 2014—at least not when it comes to public spending to improve the lives of women.

Status of Women Canada, the federal organization tasked with just this, has always had a laughably small budget. Consider that Status of Women Canada is mandated to promote “equality [and the] full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada” of half the population. All that with an operating budget that amounts to $1.67 per woman and girl in Canada.

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Young Workers Left Behind in Budget 2014

February 11th, 2014 · · Employment and Labour, Federal Budget, Youth

Recessions are always harder on young workers, but we are nearly five years out from the end of the last recession and there is still no recovery in sight for young workers.

The paid internships announced in this budget (some of which is previously announced spending) will only reach a maximum of 2,500 individuals per year, less than 0.5% (half of one percent) of unemployed young workers, and addresses a fraction of the need.

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