Op-Eds

While many have challenged the pace of the Bank of Canada’s interest-rate hikes, their likelihood of success and the extent to which further increases are merited, it has already become clear that, regardless, a recession is imminent. And while it remains to be seen how deep and how long that recession will be, there is no question it will hurt some more than others.

Will governments be there to pick up the pieces and manage the consequences of higher interest rates? If so, how, and in what ways can they help, given their rather precarious fiscal position, with Ottawa carrying $1.1-trillion in debt?

Among the many things that concern us are the distributional impacts of the looming downturn – some groups are going to be…

Two years ago, during a pandemic-induced recession, the unemployment rate was in double-digits and nearly three million workers lost their jobs. Yet for the job market, it seems like ages ago. Canada’s job numbers have bounced back, and with national unemployment rates hovering at all-time lows, we are suddenly confronted (again) with labour and skills shortages.

The inability of employers to find workers with the right skills to fill record-high vacancies is dampening Canada’s economic growth and competitiveness. It also affects health care access and contributes to inflationary pressure, disrupting supply chains and, more broadly, limiting our ability to make headway in raising living standards and in transitioning to a lower…

It all seems so straightforward and evident: why not cover vulnerable “gig” workers, an often-marginalized group in the economy, who were hit so hard by the pandemic, under EI? In June, a parliamentary committee recommended that Employment and Social Development Canada conduct consultations on ways to provide self-employed persons, including those in the gig economy, with access to regular Employment Insurance benefits. ESDC has responded and formal consultations along these lines are forthcoming. They need to include a sober, detailed analysis of the problems involved.

The first item on the agenda ought to be a clear and agreed definition of gig work, which is critical to insuring potential income losses. A recent survey by the…

New Brunswick hospitals are on "red alert," reducing or suspending services to increase capacity for COVID-19 patients as the fourth wave continues. There are 57 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 and 18 in intensive care, at the time of writing – a number that will continue to fluctuate in the days and weeks to come.

New Brunswickers might reasonably ask if the hospital system is truly threatened by fewer than 20 critical cases after 18 months of a global pandemic. Unfortunately, the province-wide red alert shows that it is.

Why and how is this possible? To this, there is no simple answer.

In less than a month, the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 has nearly doubled, and the number in ICU has increased…

All COVID-related economic recovery measures in Canada are set to end soon. Employers who have been having trouble filling vacancies are hoping this will spur a flood of people back into the work force, but unfortunately for business owners, the situation isn’t quite that simple.

In the early days of the pandemic, the federal government introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to ensure that a broad range of Canadians affected by the pandemic stayed afloat. Government supports like this and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (which is scheduled to run until Oct. 23, 2021) sustained many people and businesses.

But the economy is in a different place now. The number of unemployed people was 1.4 million in…