Economics

Where does the “inflation rate” come from, anyway?

The recent controversy about Statistics Canada’s plans to collect a range of detailed financial data has, understandably, focused on questions of privacy.  But the role of a country’s national statistical agency has always been to balance the privacy concerns associated with collecting sensitive individual data with the many public goods produced from the statistical analysis […]

Is there a conservative case against the carbon tax? Not really

Conservative politicians across Canada have strongly opposed the Trudeau government’s promise to impose carbon tax since the idea was floated in 2015. Beginning with Premier Wall in Saskatchewan, opposition to the carbon tax is now a central commitment of conservative Premiers Pallister, Moe and Ford, as well as the leader of the official opposition, Andrew […]

When pilot projects go off the rails

Research subjects caught between elected politicians and research ethics boards   Calls for evidence-informed policymaking have grown louder in recent decades. Advocates argue that the systematic use of the best available scientific evidence can help us avoid harm and achieve social policy goals while avoiding the deliberate manipulation of scientific evidence to achieve political ends. […]

Why a Canadian Basic Income is inevitable

In Canadian policy circles, Basic Income has come to mean a stipend paid to families or individuals without the many conditions and rules that govern existing income assistance programs. The amount received is gradually reduced as income from other sources increases. However, Basic Income is not just about welfare reform. A Basic Income is most […]

International researchers shocked at cancelation of Basic Income pilot

Two weeks ago, I participated in a panel in Finland with representatives of Basic Income Experiments from Finland, the Netherlands, India and Scotland. My report on the cancellation of Ontario’s Basic Income pilot project was received with stunned disbelief: on July 31, three months after enrollment was complete and before the first annual follow-up survey […]

Canada Post CEO job comes with significant challenges

Looking for a new job?  Canada Post is looking for a President and Chief Executive Officer. But it’s not a position anyone should consider lightly. The new CEO will face daunting challenges managing Canada Post’s operational, financial and governance deficiencies in this digital age, and will have to do so under close public scrutiny and […]

Trudeau’s belated commitment to election reform

The recent introduction by the Trudeau government of Bill C 76 that is meant to overhaul Canada’s Election Act raises the question: is a belated commitment to improving electoral democracy better than no commitment at all? The answer has to be yes, of course. However, the Liberals have been conspicuously ambivalent and lukewarm on electoral reform […]

Time for an official poverty line

Poverty is hard to measure.  There are many aspects beside living on low income, including having disabilities or costly health problems, not being able to find decent housing, not being able to understand and communicate in an environment with increasing technological and legal complexity and being unable to find nutritious food at reasonable prices. Still, […]

Ontario likely has enough doctors — if we make better use of our other health workers

Does Ontario have enough doctors?  This question may have a surprising answer for some: yes, we may have enough doctors.  How is this possible when many don’t have a doctor or wait days, weeks or even months for a medical appointment? We have more doctors than ever before, but many aren’t located where we need […]

More spending on health care is an expensive way to buy health

It is time to re-think our budgeting   It’s budget season and Canadian provincial governments are continuing the tradition of spending more on health care than any other single portfolio. For example, Alberta spends almost half of its provincial budget on health – an estimated $22 billion this year – which is more than any […]

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