December 2013

Jim Flaherty, pensions, and economic doublespeak

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says the economy is too weak to support a modest, phased-in increase in Canada Pension Plan (CPP) premiums divided between employers and employees.

This is disputed by experts, and also contradicts Conservative messaging in two important ways.

First, in every other context, from the Speech from the Throne, to the recent Economic and Fiscal Update, the Conservatives have bragged about...

The case for wage-led growth

The standard view in economics and in policy circles is that wage increases come at a cost that impacts individual firms negatively. According to this view, wage increases also lead to losses in a firm’s competitiveness in foreign markets. Thus, until the advent of the global financial crisis, mainstream authors paid little attention to the fact that wage growth had lagged behind the sum of productivity growth and inflation, in most countries and for several decades, and that as a result wage shares had fallen....

How many Canadians have "middle-class jobs"?

There is broad agreement across the political spectrum that we need to create more 'good middle-class jobs', especially for young people leaving the educational system, recent immigrants to Canada, and aboriginal persons.

Middle-class jobs can be seen as those which provide decent pay, working conditions, and benefits; a measure of employment security; and, above all,  opportunities to build skills and progress over time in a career. In today's labour market, these kind of jobs generally require a professional or advanced technical qualification acquired through postsecondary...