Op-Eds

Job quality and compensation are key determinants of living standards. Workers in non-standard jobs are particularly vulnerable as a growing number find themselves precariously employed. The government can protect this group by offering more equitable access to both employment insurance and job-training programs to better address income and employment insecurity. Traditionally, preferred jobs are stable, well-paid and full-time, with access to benefits. On the other hand, precarious employment often offers low pay and is relatively insecure and unstable. While employment precariousness can be found in many categories, several types of non-traditional employment are more likely to capture its features: temporary positions (including...
We already know that Canada’s population aging will drag down government revenue and blow up social and health spending, but its long-term impact on fiscal sustainability and intergenerational fairness greatly depend on future government policies. While this demographic change substantially shifts the tax burden away from baby boomers and their children − the baby busters or Generation X – to the boomers’ grandchildren, achieving long-term fiscal sustainability can be possible. In my recent study for the C.D. Howe Institute, I estimate average lifetime tax burdens for the current generations by birth cohort, and for an unborn future generation. Lifetime tax burdens are simply the total amount of taxes minus cash benefits and...
The 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples made prominent reference to a 1613 treaty between the Dutch and Mohawk: “Three beads of wampum separating the two purple rows symbolize peace, friendship and respect. The two rows of purple are two vessels travelling down the same river together. One, a birch bark canoe, is for the Indian people, their laws, their customs, and their ways. The other, a ship, is for the white people and their laws, their customs and their ways. We shall each travel the river together, side by side, but in our own boat.” The intent of much Canadian Indigenous policy since 1996 has been to "strengthen the canoe.” Overall, this has been a worthy exercise in the pursuit of reconciliation with those wanting to...
  Since the 2008-09 recession, the unemployment rate has fallen to prerecession levels. Unprecedentedly, the employment rate has also trended downward, raising questions about the health of the labour market. It may seem odd for both of these metrics to go down at the same time, but there are circumstances in which this can happen. An aging population is the main factor explaining the trend. Increases in employment of seniors were not high enough to reverse the decline in overall employment. To reverse the trend, we need policies that encourage greater labour-force participation, particularly among seniors. Labour market indicators such as unemployment and employment rates are useful metrics for assessing the performance of...
Many Canadian employers are facing a tightening labour market due to labour shortages. Imbalances between labour supply and demand exist across population groups and regions. Addressing these disparities through improvements in labour mobility and employment of underrepresented groups would have a positive impact on the Canadian economy. According to Statistics Canada, the number of job vacancies (unadjusted for seasonality) rose by 19.3 per cent to more than 462,000 in the first quarter of 2018 compared with a year earlier. This led to an increase in the job-vacancy rate − the share of unfilled jobs out of all available jobs − from 2.6 per cent to 2.9 per cent, pointing to a need for more workers. On the other hand, Canada’s...