Op-Eds

Since the previous recession in 2008-09, the so-called gig economy and platform work have been growing globally and in Canada. The growth is mainly due to technological and economic changes and the desire for greater flexibility by workers and employers. However, the legal employment framework remains outdated. The COVID-19 crisis has a strong potential to exacerbate the trend by shifting more working-age Canadians into temporary or contracted employment, rather than traditional stable and permanent employment. There is still limited consensus on what the gig economy is, how to classify gig workers and, consequently, how to address concerns about protections for gig workers. There are three approaches to defining the...
In the years leading up to the pandemic, Canada’s place on the world stage was fading. We told ourselves we were a special nation – the country that works in a world that does not. And domestically, we were indeed always stable, mostly prosperous and sometimes even cool. But to the rest of the world, what value did Canada bring? We struggled to attract foreign investment, and foreign buyers for our goods. In peacekeeping, we were a shadow of our former selves. In sports, we claimed the podium less often than we hoped. And in science, our victories often proved episodic. In June, when we lost the vote for a Security Council seat at the United Nations, the rebuke was a shock only to Canadians who didn’t fully appreciate that our...
Governments across Canada are still coming to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic, but looking toward recovery all the same. For Alberta, this is a uniquely challenging endeavour. Oil prices remain low, and may stay there for some time. But there are options, and one stands out: making it easier for skilled individuals to move in. Ensuring Alberta is as open as possible to the best talent from across Canada and abroad to exercise their profession, ply their trade or conduct their business can help boost the province’s economy. Not all moves make sense, but there are artificial regulatory barriers currently deterring some potential migrants from helping build Alberta’s economy. Those should be lifted. It may seem strange, at a time of...
The Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was an early and critical element in the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. The government first announced the CERB in late March, promising $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who have lost their incomes as a result of the pandemic. In mid-April, it expanded eligibility to make the CERB available to people earning up to $1,000 per month and to workers whose EI benefits had run out. Widely praised for providing immediate income support and helping contain the coronavirus by reducing pressure on lower-income people to work, the CERB made sense in an emergency. With attention increasingly turning to reopening the economy, however, the CERB is becoming a problem...
My colleagues and I at the C.D. Howe Institute devote much of our daily attention to criticizing poorly conceived and ineptly implemented policy in Canada. As we should. That’s our job. And our governments keep us all too well supplied. On occasion, however, people outside Canada ask us about how Canada ranks as a place to live, work, invest, or locate a business. For me, those questions trigger a happy 180-degree turn. The professional nag steps back and the booster of Canada as one of the world’s most favoured nations takes over. As we welcome 2020 with some thoughts about things we in Canada do well, and should keep doing well, here are three ways we stand out. First on my list — first on so many people’s lists — is Canada’s...