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.

Unemployment is higher than you think

6234928908_84121ef679_b.jpgEvery 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

Right-to-work laws are no solution to manufacturing job woes

250015747_d5558a2267_b.jpg

A new study by the Fraser Institute argues that introduction of anti-union “right to work” laws in Canada would boost manufacturing output and jobs. While they are right that these laws, which make dues payments voluntary, severely weaken unions, it is far from evident that unionization comes at the cost of poorer economic performance.

This is because collective bargaining has benefits for employers as well as for workers, and because collective bargaining outcomes reflect economic realities.

Read more

Meet the Broadbent Fellows

meetthefellows-header.png

Though it’s true that political and policy debates can get wild and woolly, here at the Broadbent Institute we believe that always grounding arguments in the best available facts is of paramount importance.

So it’s with considerable pride that today the Institute unveils the Broadbent Fellows — a diverse, multidisciplinary group of distinguished scholars, policy experts, and leaders from Canadian civil society who will inform the Institute’s research and policy agenda.  Fellows will contribute their expertise to further our efforts to impact public debate in support of progressive change and create innovative approaches to making our country a better, more prosperous, place for all Canadians. 

Read more

Social well-being in Canada: how do the provinces measure up?

map-easterncanada.jpg

This post is the executive summary of a full-length report by the same name.

In their book “The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone” Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett argue that social well-being – measured using a range of widely accepted indicators – varies a lot between advanced industrial countries. They show that there is little relationship between the level of GDP per capita within a country and social well-being. However, they find that there is a strong positive relationship between a low level of income inequality and well-being; in other words, they find that societies with a high degree of income equality among its members are generally happier and healthier than more unequal societies.

Read more

G20 leaders must solve the stagnation puzzle

webg20.jpg

When the leaders of the world’s most powerful economies meet at the Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday and Thursday, they face an economic puzzle only half-solved. Co-ordinated monetary and fiscal stimulus by the G20 in 2008 and 2009 narrowly prevented a repeat of the Great Depression. However, almost five years after the onset of the global financial crisis, the world economy remains mired in slow growth and high unemployment. 

Read more

On income inequality, Andrew Coyne misses the mark

coyne_0.jpg

Andrew Coyne marshals an impressive range of statistics to make the case that rising income inequality is not a serious issue. A careful reading of his article shows that this is not the case.

As Coyne himself agrees, top incomes (incomes of the top 20%) rose much faster than those of middle and lower income groups for two of the last three decades. Things got worse over the 1980s and 1990s, and then there was a change, of sorts.

Read more

Indecent proposals: why the Fraser Institute is wrong on immigration

27698233_a24b3c289f_o.jpg

My best guess it that the Fraser Institute expects no one to read the report behind their newest sensationalist press release, in which they claim that the cost of immigrants to Canada is staggeringly high. 

Anyone who looked at the report more closely would find false claims, deliberately misleading arguments, a naive understanding of global migration trends, and evident ignorance of what informs Canada’s immigration priorities.  The report is so poor and illogical that it cannot be taken seriously as contributing to public debates about policy reform in the domain of immigration.

Read more

Labour Day: we can have the kind of Canada we want

603708_10151623537529170_508828614_n.jpg

The last long weekend of summer is upon us. 

On Monday, Canadians from coast to coast will enjoy Labour Day, a last dash of sun (we hope) before the days quickly shorten and the leaves begin to transform. 

Labour Day, of course, is much more than a statutory holiday; welcome time off at the turn of the season. It’s a day set aside to acknowledge the triumphs of worker’s rights and commemorate what has been achieved through the collective efforts of many generations of Canadians. 

Read more

Public safety must trump red tape-cutting

2942951645_da88092189_o.jpg

When it comes to food, drug and consumer-product safety, the storage and transportation of hazardous goods, and the control of pollutants that threaten human health and the environment, Canadians would almost universally agree that governments should regulate business to ensure that public health and safety always comes first. This is particularly true in the aftermath of preventable human tragedies such as that at Lac-Mégantic.

Read more

Race, class and lessons from Detroit

2179116083_f78d6f85e7_o.jpg

Detroit's recent bankruptcy filing led me to re-read a fine award-winning book by Thomas J. Sugrue, “The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit.” The basic argument of the book is that the crisis of that city  – now a mainly black, overwhelmingly poor city, a fraction of its former size and a shadow of its former magnificence  – is deeply rooted in persistent discrimination against blacks at the workplace and in housing.

Read more