Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson is the Broadbent Institute's Senior Policy Advisor.

In September, 2012 he retired from a long career as Chief Economist and Director of Social and Economic Policy with the Canadian Labour Congress.

In 2011, he was awarded the Sefton Prize by the University of Toronto for his lifetime contributions to industrial relations. Educated at the University of British Columbia and the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he earned a B. Sc. and an M.Sc. in Economics, Andrew is the author of numerous articles and five books, including Work and Labour in Canada: Critical Issues, which is now in its second edition with Canadian Scholars Press.

Posts & Activities by Andrew Jackson

  • Government investment can reverse Canada's business innovation deficit


    There has been a lot of talk during the federal election campaign about how to create more good, “middle-class” jobs. But there has been only limited recognition of the need for a much more active government role if we are to build the more innovative and sustainable economy we need to create such jobs.

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  • Two takes on Stephen Harper


    Globe and Mail journalist John Ibbitson's new book, Stephen Harper, is well-written and certainly worth reading in the run-up to the federal election.

    While there are no major new revelations (most of the insiders and his few personal friends and confidants seem to have kept quiet), it usefully pulls together a lot of contemporary history, especially in the first half of the book which covers the period before Harper became Prime Minister in 2006. This reminds us that Harper was always much more of a right-wing ideologue than a conservative populist like Preston Manning in terms of his agenda and sensibilities, and always supremely self-confident in his own ideas. 

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  • Even Conservatives should embrace a decent minimum wage


    Few Canadian economic debates are as long-standing and as predictable as that over the pros and cons of  raising the minimum wage. Progressives call for a higher wage floor to combat inequality, low pay and poverty. But employers and the political right generally argue that a decent minimum wage comes at the cost of jobs, and harms those it is intended to protect. 

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  • Fraser Institute is wrong on the Canada Pension Plan


    A recent study from the Fraser Institute claims boosting premiums to pay for higher Canada Pension Plan benefits would not work, since individuals would simply save less in RRSPs and other individual savings vehicles. Thus there would be no overall increase in retirement income, and individuals would have less flexible access to their savings because CPP contributions are effectively locked in.

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  • Fiscal Austerity Causing Long Term Economic Damage


    While Canada's short term economic prospects are pretty gloomy, longer term projections are even worse. A major reason is that policy-makers here and in all of the advanced industrial countries have been content to settle for a very slow recovery which undermines our longer-term economic potential.

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  • Good labour relations key to educational achievement


    Recent tensions in relationships between provincial governments and teachers, especially in British Columbia and Ontario, deserve to be understood in a wider context. Good labour relations in education and positive working relationships between provincial governments and teacher unions are a critical ingredient in the relative success of our public education system.

    Canada's education system is generally recognized to deliver good results compared to most other countries. 

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  • Balanced Budget Law is Poor Economics


    The balanced budget legislation introduced as part of the federal budget is based on dubious economic principles that should raise the eyebrows of even fiscally conservative economists.

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  • Fact check: putting the Conservatives' "million net new jobs" into context


    The Conservative Party recently launched the “We're better off with Harper” campaign with the claim that “with over one million net new jobs created in the recovery, Canada's economy is on the right track – thanks to the strong leadership of Stephen Harper and Canada's Conservatives.”

    The number in that claim is carefully chosen, and taken in isolation is factually correct. In the five years of recovery from June 2009 to June 2014, total employment indeed rose by 1,091,400 jobs.

    But if we do the count from June 2008, before the onset of the recession and the big job losses it caused, the increase in employment to date has been a more modest 753,000 jobs. And the national unemployment rate in June 2014 was, at 7.1%, still significantly higher than the average of 6.0% in 2007 and 6.1% in 2008.

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  • Canada's over-hyped jobs recovery


    The Conservative Party recently launched the “We're Better off with Harper” campaign with the claim that “with over one million net new jobs created in the recovery, Canada's economy is on the right track – thanks to the strong leadership of Stephen Harper and Canada's Conservatives.” 

    There have indeed been more than one million jobs created since mid-2009 when the recovery began. But the job market in Canada is still far weaker than was the case before the recession.

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  • Fiscal austerity and lost Canadian jobs


    Bill Scarth is a highly respected mainstream Canadian economist at McMaster University. In a piece just published by the C.D. Howe Institute, a generally conservative think-tank, he argues that the pace of federal deficit reduction should be slowed in order to lower unemployment.

    His key point is that the economy still has a lot of slack which will not be quickly closed just by maintaining interest rates at their currently very low levels. 

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  • The dismal state of Canadian manufacturing


    It is hardly news, but the scale of the manufacturing crisis in Canada continues to astound.

    Between 2002 and 2013, manufacturing employment fell by 557,000 jobs, meaning that one in four (24%) of the jobs that existed in 2002 have disappeared. As a share of all jobs, manufacturing fell from 15.0% to 9.8% over this period.

    There has been no meaningful or sustained recovery from the Great Recession for the manufacturing sector. Total employment in 2013 was no greater than in the recession year of 2009.

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  • Stalled recovery takes shine off Harper's economic record


    Editor's note: after releasing its July jobs report on Aug. 8 showing 200 jobs were created overall, Statistics Canada said on Aug. 12 it had made an unspecified error in the labour force survey. The agency released an amended jobs report on Aug. 15. This has been updated to incorporate Statistics Canada's correction.

    The Harper government boasts of rapid job creation since the recession. But today's revised job numbers demonstrate that the recovery has stalled

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  • Tax credits are not the way to boost innovation


    There is a lot of talk about the need to build a “knowledge-based economy” if we are to retain and create good jobs in a world where production is shifting in a major way to lower wage developing countries.

    To compete, Canada must indeed produce high value-added goods and services commanding a price premium in world markets because they are sophisticated and unique. But, there are few signs of a sustained transition to a more innovative economy in Canada. Indeed, we are moving in the wrong direction.

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  • Progressives and the future of the labour movement

    Labour day is an appropriate time to reflect on the accomplishments of the labour movement -- and the challenges that lie ahead.

    There is increased recognition that strong unions were a key pillar of the period of shared prosperity, which lasted for some 30 years from the 1950s through the 1970s. Unions negotiated wage and benefit increases in line with growing productivity, and these gains gradually spread to non-union workplaces.

    Unions made Canada a much more equal society by raising the wages of formerly low-paid workers; by narrowing pay differences, including between women and men; and by successfully advocating for the expansion of social programs and public services.

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  • Fraser Institute misleads on costs of Canada Pension Plan


    The Fraser Institute has released a new report purporting to show that the real cost of operating the Canada Pension Plan is $2 billion per year, or four times as much as shown in the financial statements of the CPP Investment Board.

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  • Government investment is the best path to growth


    The gloomy view that the global economy faces a prolonged period of slow growth and high unemployment holds increasing sway among mainstream economists.  A new eBook from the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), “Secular Stagnation: Facts, Causes, Cures” edited by Coen Teulings and Richard Baldwin includes interesting contributions from such luminaries as Paul Krugman, former US Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers, and the International Monetary Fund chief economist Olivier Blanchard.

    While the authors look at the issue from diverse perspectives, it is striking that the solutions offered by many are more radical than those commonly discussed in Canada.

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  • A federal minimum wage would benefit both workers and employers


    The Leader of the Opposition, Tom Mulcair, is to be congratulated for his proposal to re-introduce a federal minimum wage.

    Abolished in 1996, the federal minimum wage applied to the approximately 8% of all employees who work in federally regulated industries. It also used to set a national benchmark for provincial minimum wages. Mr. Mulcair's proposal is in line with the 2006 Federal Labour Standards Review that was appointed by the Minister of Labour and led by Harry Arthurs, a distinguished labour law expert who was Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School and, later, President of York University. Professor Arthurs, who recommended that a federal minimum wage be re-introduced, argued that “the government should accept the principle that no Canadian worker should work full-time for a full year and still live in poverty... this is an issue of fundamental decency that no modern prosperous country like Canada can ignore.” 

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  • The Future of Inequality


    Best-selling author Thomas Piketty argues in his book, Capital in the Twenty First Century, that inequality is set to return to the extreme levels of the “Gilded Age” of the late nineteenth century when very large shares of income and wealth were concentrated in the hands of the super rich.  And he is far from alone.

    In a gloomy long-term prognostication, Policy Challenges for the Next Fifty Years, the OECD, the major think-tank of the advanced economies, anticipates that the incomes of those at the top will continue to grow much more rapidly than those at the middle and bottom.

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  • The case for child care


    Leader of the Opposition Thomas Mulcair has launched a new round of debate over the need for a national child care and early learning program. The NDP poposal would help the provinces to finance quality, affordable child care systems, delivered by regulated providers in place of the current patchwork quilt of formal and informal care of varying price and quality.

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  • Public investment can boost growth and reduce public debt


    With the federal budget set to return to balance this fiscal year, we can once again debate how to deal with future surpluses. Priority could be given to paying down the debt, cutting taxes, or re-investing in public services and social programs.

    These options should be judged on how much they contribute to a stronger economy as well as a fairer and more inclusive society.

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