Every year, women around the world celebrate (angrily) the day their average full-time, full-year earnings have caught up to men’s average full-time full-year earnings from the year before.Read more
My grandmother used to tell me that "nothing worth doing ever comes easy."
Well, a national, quality, affordable child care program is unquestionably worth doing. And come easy it won't.Read more
Labour market data in Canada is easily available by sex, age, and region. We spend a great deal of time talking about these factors. More recently, Statistics Canada made labour market data available on CANSIM by landed immigrant status, going back to 2006. This factor is included less often in most labour market analysis, and too few know that it is even available.
But if you want to know how racialized workers or Indigenous workers (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples) are doing in the labour force, you basically have to rely on the census … oh, wait. And on top of eliminating the census, the Harper government shut down the First Nations Statistical Institute.Read more
Columnist Andrew Coyne is a huge fan of the Conservative government's new income splitting proposal. It's in the interest of fairness, you see. Single-earner couples, so his logic goes, aren't getting a fair shake in being taxed more than their dual-earner couple counterparts with the same total income.
By now, however, we are familiar with some of the patently unfair aspects of the Conservative scheme. There's the fact that the tax giveaway stands to exclude single parent families that need the most help. Or that even with the $2,000 cap, benefits from income splitting will accrue disproportionately to wealthy single-earner families.Read more
Canadians like their labour law the way they like their touques – sturdy and designed to protect.
As a result, Canadian lawmakers have a long history of consulting with labour and business before tinkering with existing law. This ensures predictability for employers and workers, and has been a hallmark of the Canadian system. A system that is internationally regarded as effective, fair, and most importantly, stable.
Bill C-525, passed by the Senate on Tuesday, throws that tradition under the bus.Read more
Recessions are always harder on young workers, but we are nearly five years out from the end of the last recession and there is still no recovery in sight for this important demographic.
Between October 2008 and January 2014, there was an increase of 100,000 unemployed young workers (15-29), so that there are now some 540, 000 unemployed. Even more startling, over 350,000 young workers left the labour force entirely over that same period.Read more
The Parliamentary Budget Office has come out with a report suggesting that the Conservatives will likely balance the budget ahead of schedule. But, and it’s a big but, they also found there would be no balanced budget in 2016 if there were no Employment Insurance (EI) surplus.
The Conservatives' use of the EI surplus to pay for a balanced budget deserves closer scrutiny.Read more
Every month, Statistics Canada comes out with the unemployment rate, and every month it gets a lot of attention. But the unemployment rate provides quite limited information about the actual health of the labour market.
The addition of two other pieces of information nearly doubles the unemployment rate: the proportion of the labour market employed part-time but looking for more work, and the proportion that would like a job but aren’t actively looking for work, and so aren’t officially counted as being in the labour market.Read more
Upon being appointed Minister of the newly renamed “Employment and Social Development” (formerly HRSDC), Mr. Kenney tweeted his view on the Canadian labour market:
I will work hard to end the paradox of too many people without jobs in an economy that has too many jobs without people. #shuffle13— Jason Kenney (@kenneyjason) July 15, 2013
Coincidentally, perhaps, the most recent Statistics Canada numbers on job vacancies came out this morning. Compared to a year ago, there were 20,000 fewer job vacancies in Canada this April, and only 1.6% of all jobs were unfilled at the end of the month. Even in booming Alberta the ratio of unfilled jobs to total labour demand fell from 3.5% last April to 2.5% this April.
Brian Lee Crowley’s recent column in the Globe and Mail shows that he's a glass-half-full kinda guy. He says we shouldn't be worried about unemployment because a) it's old-fashioned, b) Boomers had it worse (and now they're getting old) c) we're doing better than the U.S., and d) it's really only young people and immigrants that are unemployed.
This is a relief.
So I shouldn't worry that the Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey indicates that real average hourly wages have risen by only twenty cents between 2009 and 2012 (an annualized growth rate of 0.3%). Or, that at the same time, real median hourly wages have actually fallen, indicating that any wage growth has been limited to a few at the top end.Read more
In the last federal budget (Chapter 3.3), the federal government tried to sell its changes to Employment Insurance by describing how some hypothetical workers would benefit.
Unfortunately, the scenarios they chose were so unrealistic that most workers wouldn't recognize them.
Instead, let's see how the changes that have been made impact real-world working Canadians.Read more
Over the past 20 years, income inequality has been growing faster in Canada than in other similar countries. During this period about one third of all income growth has gone to the top 1%, leaving precious little to be shared among the remaining 99%. We know the inequality problem all too well, but what is the answer to addressing it?
There seem to be three main pillars that provide effective solutions: progressive taxation, a robust safety net, and ensuring fairness in the workplace. This third pillar includes raising the minimum wage in a transparent and predictable manner, improving associated employment standards legislation, and generally making sure labour laws have kept pace with what’s happening in workplaces across the country.Read more
Expertise: Economic Inequality, Labour markets, Political Economy, Unemployment
Angella MacEwen is the Senior Economist at the Canadian Labour Congress. Her primary focus is understanding the impacts of Canadian economic and social policy on workers, especially climate policy and international trade and investment treaties. She regularly represents the CLC at parliamentary committees and in the national media. Angella holds a MA in Economics (Dalhousie) and a BA in International Development Studies (Saint Mary’s). You can find her defending social democratic ideas on twitter @amacewen.