income inequality

Broadbent Institute launches campaign against costly, unfair income splitting plan

OTTAWA—As the Conservative government prepares to introduce a Mad Men-style tax giveaway after the federal budget is balanced, the Broadbent Institute today launched an information campaign against the proposed $3 billion handout for Canada’s wealthiest families.

"It’s absurd that the Conservatives plan to take a $3 billion surplus and spend it on a tax giveaway to high-income families — it’s as though the government is trying to recreate a society straight out of an episode of Mad Men," said Executive Director Rick Smith. "Today we are taking the first...

National recognition keeps fight alive for Nunavut food activist

David Murphy / Nunatsiaq News

Leesee Papatsie doesn’t think of herself as a political citizen — not even an activist.

“I’m just a mom that doesn’t want kids hungry,” Papatsie said.

A year-and-a-half ago, Papatsie created the wildly popular Facebook group to demonstrate the high cost of food in the North, ...

Income splitting a tax gift for the affluent

Click here to visit the Mad Men tax giveaway campaign page.

From deepening income inequality to rising unemployment, Canada faces a wide range of pressing economic challenges that ought to be addressed in next week’s federal budget. Yet little is expected in the way of, for instance, sorely needed measures to address our jobs crisis. Instead, the Conservative government is focused on


Canada needs sound fiscal thinking, not balanced budget laws

In last year’s Speech from the Throne, the Harper government promised to introduce legislation to require “balanced budgets during normal economic times, and concrete time lines for return to balance in the event of an economic crisis.”

This proposed legislation makes little sense in terms of sound economic policy. But it will likely be introduced as part of the federal budget, expected early next month.

As Christopher Ragan argued...

The wealth of Canadians: how much, in the hands of how few?

In the next few weeks (no firm date has yet been set), Statistics Canada will release the results of the 2012 Survey of Financial Security. This survey, which is unfortunately only conducted on an episodic basis, will provide a detailed look at the assets, debts and net wealth of Canadians. It will provide an important complement to the many sources of information we have on incomes and income inequality.

When we consider the economic resources of households, wealth – mainly consisting of...

As job crisis deepens, a do-nothing budget looms large

The job numbers for the end of 2013 could not have been much worse than this. But don't expect the Harper Conservatives to do anything about it in a February federal Budget which will be all about 2015 pre-election politics.

In December, the Canadian economy lost 60,000 full-time jobs, and the national unemployment rate rose sharply from 6.9 per cent to 7.2 per cent. The youth unemployment rate jumped from 13.4 per cent to 14 per cent.


With more seniors working already, do we need to raise the retirement age?

For the first time ever, the percentage of Canadian seniors aged 65 to 69 who are still working rose to more than one in four in the autumn of 2013.

As shown by Statistics Canada, while the life expectancy of Canadians has been steadily rising, the average number of years spent not working has actually been stable since the mid-1990s – due to the fact that more and more seniors continue to work past the traditional age of retirement.

The employment rate for persons aged 65 to 69 rose...

Parliament finally shines a light on the politics of inequality

Apart from scandal, Parliament didn’t produce much in the just completed fall session – a grand total of three bills. But there was one ray of light, a Finance Committee report last week on one of our most serious problems, the growth of income inequality. The Committee was mandated to study the problem and propose solutions, paying particular attention to the federal tax and income support system.

The Committee heard from dozens of academic experts and public interest groups, and I was pleased to present a brief on behalf of the Broadbent Institute. This built on our own major...

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....


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