Staff

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


  • Rising right-wing populism and the failure of global economic governance

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    With the global economy mired in slow growth and right-wing, nationalist populism in the ascendant in many of the advanced industrial countries, one might have hoped that the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China would have come up with a real plan to promote a sustainable, shared recovery. 

    If so, one would be very disappointed since the final communique consisted mainly of empty rhetoric and evaded the key issues of competitive fiscal austerity and increasing income inequality. 

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  • Federal tax review must target loopholes for wealthy, boost fiscal capacity

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    Progressive tax reform to promote both greater distributional fairness and increased fiscal capacity to fund social programs and public services should be squarely on the agenda for the 2017 federal budget. Indeed, with faltering growth, the federal Liberals will be hard-pressed to meet their commitments to new investments,while still ensuring a promised decline in the federal debt to GDP ratio, if they do not significantly increase revenues.

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  • Canada's middle-class jobs challenge

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    Good jobs are a central mechanism in the creation of shared prosperity.

    What matters for workers is not just being able to find any job but also security of employment, level of pay, working conditions, and the opportunity to develop talents and capacities. 

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  • Brexit vote underlines need for a reformed globalization model

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    The narrow victory of the leave side in the Brexit referendum demands a profound rethinking of the liberal globalization agenda.

    At one, highly disturbing level, the majority for leave was a clear victory for the nativist, often overtly racist, populist right, and a clear defeat for the economic and political elites who overwhelmingly backed the remain side. As widely noted, this underlines the lack of broad popular support for deep economic and political integration which seems to be increasingly pervasive in both Europe and the United States. 

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  • Yet another unjustified attack on worker rights

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    The newly elected Progressive Conservative government in Manitoba has moved quickly to cement its anti-worker bona fides with the radical right-wing by making it more difficult for non-union workers to join a union, and by opening up bidding on large scale public construction projects to non-union companies. Changes in these areas were announced in the Pallister government’s Speech from the Throne on May 16.

    Under the current system in Manitoba, a union can be automatically certified by the Labour Board if 65% of the workers in a proposed bargaining unit indicate their support by signing membership cards. As in other jurisdictions with a “card check” system, signed membership cards are subject to independent scrutiny.

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  • Energy Transition Can Drive Global Jobs Recovery

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    It is now often said, with reason, that the environment and the economy are not in conflict. But it is even more true to say that seriously addressing the crisis of global climate change could revive a moribund global economy.

    The World Economic Outlook (WEO) released by the International Monetary Fund in April of this year once again forecast very slow growth, and argued that economic stagnation is likely to be self-sustaining. This is due to very low levels of business investment, combined with high levels of household and public debt which constrain household and government spending. 

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  • PBO sheds new light on federal budget with transparency push

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    The Liberal election platform promised to “make the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) truly independent” of the government and to make sure that the office is properly funded. The platform also promised to make government accounting “consistent and clear.”

    It was, then, a bit surprising that the PBO had to make a formal request for information normally provided in the federal budge, and was forced to provide its own estimates for the missing numbers in its report to Parliament on April 6.  The Department of Finance finally released the requested information only on April 8, more than two weeks after the budget was delivered in the House of Commons (on March 22nd.)

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  • Why we need a practical approach in the basic-income debate

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    The idea of a basic income guarantee for all Canadians has again moved to the front burner with the House of Commons Finance Committee and the Ontario government supporting further study and experimentation. This could be an important step forward, but incremental reform towards an income tested guarantee for working age Canadians delivered through the tax system will be the best path forward as opposed to more visionary “big bang” solutions.

    The concept of a basic income has won support from both the political right and left. For the former, it promises to simplify complex income security programs and to replace most if not all welfare state programs with a single cash payment which would allow individuals to meet their needs in the market. For the latter, it is a means to free people from dependence upon the job market, a tool for social solidarity amidst a rapidly changing world of work, and a means to abolish poverty.

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  • Happy 80th Birthday Ed Broadbent!

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    We will hand deliver Ed's messages to him - help us make his 80th special.

    Ed has been working for a more inclusive, fair and just Canada for more than 50 years. On his 80th Birthday, let’s celebrate his life & accomplishments! 

    Endorse

  • The case for fiscal policy to spur growth

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    Developments in the Canadian economy have forced an important re-thinking of the respective roles of monetary and fiscal policy in supporting stable growth and job creation. But mainstream thinking about monetary policy has evolved much further than that on fiscal policy.

    Before the great recession of 2008, fiscal policy had fallen greatly out of favour as a tool for macro economic stabilization. The conventional wisdom was that central banks could adjust short term interest rates to keep the economy growing more less at potential with low inflation, and indeed there was no recession from the early 1990s until the financial crisis of 2008.

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  • Apocalypse Now? Declining dollar, ultralow oil prices and Canada's path forward

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    With a plunging Canadian dollar, collapsing oil prices, slumping stock markets and signs that the economy stalled in the last quarter of 2015, it is easy to think that we are on the cusp of economic disaster. But the state of the Canadian economy, while indeed dismal, does not justify alarmist pronouncements that threaten to make things even worse by undermining consumer and business confidence.

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  • Fighting seniors poverty

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    The new Liberal government is on track to seriously address the growing problem of poverty in old age. But their election promises need some critical reconsideration. 

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  • So-called "Middle Class" tax cut leaves out most Canadians

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    The so-called “middle class” tax cut promised by the newly elected Liberal government in the name of promoting greater fairness seems set to be quickly implemented for the 2016 tax year. Yet the distributional and revenue consequences of this measure are often misunderstood, and the proposed change merits reconsideration.

    Currently there are four federal tax brackets: 15% on taxable incomes of less than $44,701; 22% on further income up to $89,401; 26% on further income up to $138,586; and 29% on income above that amount.  

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  • Liberal government faces tough fiscal choices in implementing progressive agenda

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    The briefing books being prepared for Prime Minister-designate Trudeau and his new Cabinet are likely warning of tough fiscal choices ahead. It will be very hard for the incoming government to reconcile a genuinely progressive platform on the social spending side with limited revenues, even given an acceptance of short-term deficits.

    We can expect quick implementation of the new Canada Child Benefit, which will deliver higher benefits to all but the most affluent families with children and will significantly reduce inequality and poverty by being income-tested. This is the approach that has long been called for by Campaign 2000 and the Caledon Institute, building on the child benefit reforms of the Chretien government.

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  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Next Canadian Economy

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    Economists have a strong predisposition towards trade liberalization, which is held to increase efficiency and boost productivity through greater specialization in those sectors in which we hold a comparative advantage.

    But the new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is likely to be damaging to our future prosperity by reinforcing our over reliance upon low value-added exports of raw and semi-processed resources, and by further increasing our chronic deficit in the trade of sophisticated manufactured goods and advanced services.

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  • Government investment can reverse Canada's business innovation deficit

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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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