Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson is the Broadbent Institute's Senior Policy Advisor.

In September, 2012 he retired from a long career as Chief Economist and Director of Social and Economic Policy with the Canadian Labour Congress.

In 2011, he was awarded the Sefton Prize by the University of Toronto for his lifetime contributions to industrial relations. Educated at the University of British Columbia and the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he earned a B. Sc. and an M.Sc. in Economics, Andrew is the author of numerous articles and five books, including Work and Labour in Canada: Critical Issues, which is now in its second edition with Canadian Scholars Press.

Posts & Activities by Andrew Jackson

  • Why we need a practical approach in the basic-income debate



    The idea of a basic income guarantee for all Canadians has again moved to the front burner with the House of Commons Finance Committee and the Ontario government supporting further study and experimentation. This could be an important step forward, but incremental reform towards an income tested guarantee for working age Canadians delivered through the tax system will be the best path forward as opposed to more visionary “big bang” solutions.

    The concept of a basic income has won support from both the political right and left. For the former, it promises to simplify complex income security programs and to replace most if not all welfare state programs with a single cash payment which would allow individuals to meet their needs in the market. For the latter, it is a means to free people from dependence upon the job market, a tool for social solidarity amidst a rapidly changing world of work, and a means to abolish poverty.

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  • Happy 80th Birthday Ed Broadbent!

    Sign Ed's Birthday Card

    We will hand deliver Ed's messages to him - help us make his 80th special.

    Ed has been working for a more inclusive, fair and just Canada for more than 50 years. On his 80th Birthday, let’s celebrate his life & accomplishments! 


  • The case for fiscal policy to spur growth


    Developments in the Canadian economy have forced an important re-thinking of the respective roles of monetary and fiscal policy in supporting stable growth and job creation. But mainstream thinking about monetary policy has evolved much further than that on fiscal policy.

    Before the great recession of 2008, fiscal policy had fallen greatly out of favour as a tool for macro economic stabilization. The conventional wisdom was that central banks could adjust short term interest rates to keep the economy growing more less at potential with low inflation, and indeed there was no recession from the early 1990s until the financial crisis of 2008.

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  • Apocalypse Now? Declining dollar, ultralow oil prices and Canada's path forward


    With a plunging Canadian dollar, collapsing oil prices, slumping stock markets and signs that the economy stalled in the last quarter of 2015, it is easy to think that we are on the cusp of economic disaster. But the state of the Canadian economy, while indeed dismal, does not justify alarmist pronouncements that threaten to make things even worse by undermining consumer and business confidence.

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  • Fighting seniors poverty


    The new Liberal government is on track to seriously address the growing problem of poverty in old age. But their election promises need some critical reconsideration. 

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  • So-called "Middle Class" tax cut leaves out most Canadians


    The so-called “middle class” tax cut promised by the newly elected Liberal government in the name of promoting greater fairness seems set to be quickly implemented for the 2016 tax year. Yet the distributional and revenue consequences of this measure are often misunderstood, and the proposed change merits reconsideration.

    Currently there are four federal tax brackets: 15% on taxable incomes of less than $44,701; 22% on further income up to $89,401; 26% on further income up to $138,586; and 29% on income above that amount.  

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  • Liberal government faces tough fiscal choices in implementing progressive agenda


    The briefing books being prepared for Prime Minister-designate Trudeau and his new Cabinet are likely warning of tough fiscal choices ahead. It will be very hard for the incoming government to reconcile a genuinely progressive platform on the social spending side with limited revenues, even given an acceptance of short-term deficits.

    We can expect quick implementation of the new Canada Child Benefit, which will deliver higher benefits to all but the most affluent families with children and will significantly reduce inequality and poverty by being income-tested. This is the approach that has long been called for by Campaign 2000 and the Caledon Institute, building on the child benefit reforms of the Chretien government.

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  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Next Canadian Economy


    Economists have a strong predisposition towards trade liberalization, which is held to increase efficiency and boost productivity through greater specialization in those sectors in which we hold a comparative advantage.

    But the new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is likely to be damaging to our future prosperity by reinforcing our over reliance upon low value-added exports of raw and semi-processed resources, and by further increasing our chronic deficit in the trade of sophisticated manufactured goods and advanced services.

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  • Government investment can reverse Canada's business innovation deficit


    There has been a lot of talk during the federal election campaign about how to create more good, “middle-class” jobs. But there has been only limited recognition of the need for a much more active government role if we are to build the more innovative and sustainable economy we need to create such jobs.

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  • Two takes on Stephen Harper


    Globe and Mail journalist John Ibbitson's new book, Stephen Harper, is well-written and certainly worth reading in the run-up to the federal election.

    While there are no major new revelations (most of the insiders and his few personal friends and confidants seem to have kept quiet), it usefully pulls together a lot of contemporary history, especially in the first half of the book which covers the period before Harper became Prime Minister in 2006. This reminds us that Harper was always much more of a right-wing ideologue than a conservative populist like Preston Manning in terms of his agenda and sensibilities, and always supremely self-confident in his own ideas. 

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  • Even Conservatives should embrace a decent minimum wage


    Few Canadian economic debates are as long-standing and as predictable as that over the pros and cons of  raising the minimum wage. Progressives call for a higher wage floor to combat inequality, low pay and poverty. But employers and the political right generally argue that a decent minimum wage comes at the cost of jobs, and harms those it is intended to protect. 

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  • Fraser Institute is wrong on the Canada Pension Plan


    A recent study from the Fraser Institute claims boosting premiums to pay for higher Canada Pension Plan benefits would not work, since individuals would simply save less in RRSPs and other individual savings vehicles. Thus there would be no overall increase in retirement income, and individuals would have less flexible access to their savings because CPP contributions are effectively locked in.

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  • Fiscal Austerity Causing Long Term Economic Damage


    While Canada's short term economic prospects are pretty gloomy, longer term projections are even worse. A major reason is that policy-makers here and in all of the advanced industrial countries have been content to settle for a very slow recovery which undermines our longer-term economic potential.

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  • Good labour relations key to educational achievement


    Recent tensions in relationships between provincial governments and teachers, especially in British Columbia and Ontario, deserve to be understood in a wider context. Good labour relations in education and positive working relationships between provincial governments and teacher unions are a critical ingredient in the relative success of our public education system.

    Canada's education system is generally recognized to deliver good results compared to most other countries. 

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  • Balanced Budget Law is Poor Economics


    The balanced budget legislation introduced as part of the federal budget is based on dubious economic principles that should raise the eyebrows of even fiscally conservative economists.

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  • Fact check: putting the Conservatives' "million net new jobs" into context


    The Conservative Party recently launched the “We're better off with Harper” campaign with the claim that “with over one million net new jobs created in the recovery, Canada's economy is on the right track – thanks to the strong leadership of Stephen Harper and Canada's Conservatives.”

    The number in that claim is carefully chosen, and taken in isolation is factually correct. In the five years of recovery from June 2009 to June 2014, total employment indeed rose by 1,091,400 jobs.

    But if we do the count from June 2008, before the onset of the recession and the big job losses it caused, the increase in employment to date has been a more modest 753,000 jobs. And the national unemployment rate in June 2014 was, at 7.1%, still significantly higher than the average of 6.0% in 2007 and 6.1% in 2008.

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  • Canada's over-hyped jobs recovery


    The Conservative Party recently launched the “We're Better off with Harper” campaign with the claim that “with over one million net new jobs created in the recovery, Canada's economy is on the right track – thanks to the strong leadership of Stephen Harper and Canada's Conservatives.” 

    There have indeed been more than one million jobs created since mid-2009 when the recovery began. But the job market in Canada is still far weaker than was the case before the recession.

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  • Fiscal austerity and lost Canadian jobs


    Bill Scarth is a highly respected mainstream Canadian economist at McMaster University. In a piece just published by the C.D. Howe Institute, a generally conservative think-tank, he argues that the pace of federal deficit reduction should be slowed in order to lower unemployment.

    His key point is that the economy still has a lot of slack which will not be quickly closed just by maintaining interest rates at their currently very low levels. 

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  • The dismal state of Canadian manufacturing


    It is hardly news, but the scale of the manufacturing crisis in Canada continues to astound.

    Between 2002 and 2013, manufacturing employment fell by 557,000 jobs, meaning that one in four (24%) of the jobs that existed in 2002 have disappeared. As a share of all jobs, manufacturing fell from 15.0% to 9.8% over this period.

    There has been no meaningful or sustained recovery from the Great Recession for the manufacturing sector. Total employment in 2013 was no greater than in the recession year of 2009.

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  • Stalled recovery takes shine off Harper's economic record


    Editor's note: after releasing its July jobs report on Aug. 8 showing 200 jobs were created overall, Statistics Canada said on Aug. 12 it had made an unspecified error in the labour force survey. The agency released an amended jobs report on Aug. 15. This has been updated to incorporate Statistics Canada's correction.

    The Harper government boasts of rapid job creation since the recession. But today's revised job numbers demonstrate that the recovery has stalled

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