Home prices have skyrocketed in places such as Vancouver and Toronto in the past decade. These cities have some of the highest charges and most restrictive rules on construction. The evidence from around the world shows that government policies that limit supply and increase the cost of construction are among the key causes of higher prices. It is time governments take more steps to reduce these costs. Homebuyers in Canadian cities face a multitude of taxes and charges that increase the cost of buying a home. Restrictions on housing supply and extra costs hinder the efficiency of the housing market. Recent research has found a persistent gap between the cost of building new homes and their market price in major Canadian cities...
The sharp escalation of COVID-19 cases this fall has highlighted the problem of governments’ extensive reliance on emergency powers and far-reaching orders that limit activities. Their “acute crisis” approach reflects an undue focus on vaccines as the dominant near-term solution to the pandemic. It neither recognizes nor addresses the uncertain timeline and other major challenges until safe and effective vaccines are available, well distributed, and sufficiently taken up. Despite the very encouraging recent progress on vaccine development, vaccine-centric policies have led to serious weaknesses in government communications and inadequate resources to deal with the current resurgence. It has made the re-imposition of tough restrictions...
As restrictions continue on in-person dining, COVID-19 has made restaurants increasingly dependent on food delivery platforms. Last month, the City of Toronto asked Ontario to temporarily cap the service fees restaurants are charged, which can be as high as 30 per cent of the bill. There is superficial appeal to price caps, but taking economic guidance from Hippocrates – first, do no harm – they amount to quackery. Regulatory interventions need to be carefully dosed according to a precise diagnosis of market failure and the extent of the disease. Instead of introducing new price cap regulations, Premier Doug Ford urged food delivery apps to slash commissions as a way to help out pandemic-stricken restaurants. This moral suasion...