The Broadbent Blog

THE HUB FOR CANADA’S LEADING PROGRESSIVE VOICES.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Institute.

Confronting what makes us sick

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I attended the annual meeting of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) as a representative of Canadian Doctors for Medicare last year. The meeting was not at all what I'd expected. 

The CMA, as a professional association representing doctors, has often been seen — fairly or unfairly ­— as working primarily for the interests of the physicians it represents with patients and health equity appearing at times to be an afterthought. This impression was particularly prevalent during the presidencies of Brian Day (2007-8) and Robert Ouellet, (2008-9), both vocal advocates for privatization (and owners of private, for-profit health care facilities) who used their tenure to advocate for greater private payment for essential health services. 

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Sun News: denied but (sadly) not forgotten

Today Sun News Network was refused mandatory carriage by the CRTC. That means that cable networks won't be forced to include Sun with every cable subscription; Sun claims mandatory carriage is essential to their survival.

Wondering what every Canadian cable subscriber might now miss out on? Check out this highlight reel of some of the best moments from Sun broadcasts.

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The deteriorating health of the working poor

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Last year the Metcalf Foundation released a report on working poverty in Toronto. It found that 113,000 people were living in working poverty in the Toronto region in 2005, a 42% increase from 2000. The report's findings indicate that people living in working poverty most commonly work in sales and service occupations; work comparable hours and weeks as the rest of the working population; are over-represented by immigrants; and are only slightly less-educated than the rest of the working age population.

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Open for business, closed for workers: employment standards, the enforcement deficit, and vulnerable workers in Canada

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Daniel Tucker-Simmons recently completed his Raven, Cameron, Ballantyne & Yazbeck Human Rights/Social Justice Internship at the Broadbent Institute. Tucker-Simmons was compensated for his work.

Download the full version of this article (in .PDF format) here.

Legislated employment standards are a cornerstone of a strong, healthy society, as well as a robust, thriving economy.  They ensure that everyone who works earns a minimum wage for their labour, and that nobody is subjected to inhumane working conditions or unduly harsh treatment at the hands of their employer.  It is because of employment standards that workers in Canada have the right to rest periods during and between shifts, to maximum work hours each day and week, to extra pay for working on public holidays, and to a couple of weeks of paid vacation every year.  In short, employment standards are there to shield workers – especially non-union workers – against the natural tendency of the labour market to gravitate towards overwork and underpay.

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Why Canada should welcome labour shortages

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Employer groups such as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business insist that their members need continued access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program since Canada is experiencing an acute labour shortage, including a shortage of low-skilled workers.

That claim is highly dubious, and should be rejected by the federal government, which is now reviewing the program.

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Evidence and decision-making: bend it like Harper

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The Broadbent Institute is pleased to present the second in a series of blog posts by a range of Canadian academics and thought leaders critiquing the record of the Conservative government. Read the first post here

Ideologues don’t like evidence. They know what the problem is and what to do about it.

Perhaps the most egregious example of this under Stephen Harper concerns the evidence about declining crime rates and the government’s insistence on the necessity of introducing harsher sentencing criteria as part of the much-derided Bill C-10 omnibus crime bill. 

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About those 'jobs without people', Minister Kenney

 

 

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Upon being appointed Minister of the newly renamed “Employment and Social Development” (formerly HRSDC), Mr. Kenney tweeted his view on the Canadian labour market:

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.

 

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Plus ça change... why Stephen Harper's cabinet shuffle disappoints

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Here are five important takeaways from today’s Cabinet shuffle. As the old saying goes, 'plus ca change, plus c'est la même chose'.

1. Economic (In)action Plan

Canadians hoping the government would signal willingness to address pressing economic concerns such as growing inequality, rising youth unemployment, a manufacturing crisis, and the rise of precarious work will be disappointed.

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So much for an independent public service

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This screen grab taken from the Canada Revenue Agency website today promotes a post describing how the "Harper Government's Low-Tax Plan Benefits Canadian Families". It is part of a disturbing pattern of behavior.

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University degrees cushion recent grads against unemployment

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Last month, Statistics Canada released the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) data on Education and Labour, the most recent dataset of its kind since the 2006 Census. The data illustrate that, following the Great Recession of 2008-09, recent university graduates aged 25 to 34 had a more difficult time finding employment than was the case in 2006. Nevertheless, a university degree appears to have provided a cushion for young people during a time of rising unemployment. While the unemployment rate for recent university grads increased between 2006 (pre-Recession) and 2011 (a year of partial recovery from the Recession), it did so at a lower rate than did the unemployment rate for 25-34 year-olds without a university degree, the youth unemployment rate (15-24 year-olds), and the overall national unemployment rate.

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