COVID-19 has fundamentally changed lives across Canada. This change may be most pronounced in Canada’s major cities. Many of the things that make life in our cities so vibrant—great restaurants, entertainment, or going to the office to learn from great colleagues—have vanished. Post-pandemic, as more Canadians work from home, transit operators will face the challenge of bringing us back together to enjoy urban life while facing a gloomy financial outlook. There are many benefits of urban living, such as tapping a large job and employee market, having access to a wide range of services and infrastructure, and learning from others face-to-face. Public transit is the essential component that enables the benefits of people coming together....
The massive increase in government spending in Canada and around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by a siren song in the form of a new economic theory: “Modern Monetary Theory,” or MMT for short. But as we begin to emerge from the acute phase of the pandemic we need to turn a deaf ear to that song. Now that inflation concerns are beginning to stir it is hard to imagine governments raising taxes or cutting spending anytime soon to keep inflation in check — yet that’s how MMT advocates would control inflation, with what traditionally have been regarded as fiscal policies rather than the customary monetary tools of interest rates and liquidity measures. As I point out with my co-author, Farah Omran, in a...
Every day, more and more Canadians are getting vaccinated, and every day, there is more and more hope that normal daily life and activities might resume soon. To enable international travel and accelerate the return of such activities at home, many countries are considering or have implemented “immunity passports” of some kind to people who pose a lower risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 infection. In Israel, where more than half of the population is fully vaccinated, “green pass” holders are either fully inoculated or have presumed immunity after recovering from infection. Iceland was the first country in Europe to issue “immunity passports” to those who have recovered from infection or been fully vaccinated to...