Sheila Block: Updating and Strengthening Employment Standards and Labour Relations Legislation

responses-block2.pngThis is the second section of a three-part commentary by Sheila Block on our Equality Project report. Read part one and stay tuned over the coming weeks for part three.

The potential for labour market regulation to address income inequality does not end with the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, or the federal government. 

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Christensen, Davison & Levac: Chronic housing needs in the Canadian North: Inequality of opportunity in northern communities

 

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The Canadian North, which includes the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik, Labrador, and Nunatsiavut, is a vast region rich in Indigenous cultures, pristine landscapes and waterways, natural resources, and increasingly diverse communities. It is also a region known for having the highest rates of chronic housing need in Canada. Across the North, where more than half the population is Inuit (including Inuvialuit), First Nations (including Innu), or Métis, there is chronic housing need (lack of affordability, inadequacy, unsuitability, unavailability) and lower rates of home ownership than in the southern provinces. The 2006 census found home ownership in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories to be 22.7 and 52.9 per cent, respectively, compared to 71 per cent in Ontario or 73 per cent in Alberta. In most small, northern communities in Canada, social housing is the main, if not only, option, with very few opportunities for home ownership. Limited opportunities for home ownership are compounded by the high rates of unemployment in many small, northern settlements. 

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Inequality’s a problem for Canada, too

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I don’t know whether it’s smugness or indifference, but we Canadians can be a self-deluding lot. Growing inequality, portrayed recently in The Economist as a global scourge, when viewed from Canada, seems to be a problem only for others.

After all, it was other countries’ banks that crashed in 2008. It’s in southern Europe that tens of thousands are taking to the streets. And it was in France and the United States that recent elections were fought over the fact that those who created the mess, the top 1 per cent, are still getting big bonuses and low tax rates.

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Peter Puxley: Overcoming Inequality in Canada: A Cultural Challenge?

responses-puxley2_0.png "The ideas of economists and political philosophers … are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist." - John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money (1936)

In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension and also a deep desire for respectability.  - J.K.Galbraith, New York Times Magazine (June 1970) 


The policy community praises the ideal of “evidence-based” policy – policy with a solid research base. In the real world, however, we all know that public policies, as implemented, are more often than not only vaguely related to research results and the best available data. 

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