Archive for the ‘Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Category

Too big to fail? Canadian banks are not immune from global crises

July 6, 2012 Comments off

Too big to fail? Canadian banks are not immune from global crises
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

A new report released by CCPA says that Canada is not immune to the banking problems we see abroad, and cautions that like all banks worldwide, Canadian banks are structurally vulnerable to instability.

The report, No More Swimming Naked: The Need for Modesty in Canadian Banking, examines how banks work, why they are inherently prone to instability, and how banking crises spread—even to banks and banking systems that appear to be stable.

According to the report, overconfidence is part of the problem. Complacency tends to encourage risk-taking among banks, while it deters Canadians from asking tough questions about banking. Yet this overconfidence ignores the fact that banking problems are often not apparent until systemic instability is growing.

The report cautions that current regulations have not eliminated these problems, and since governments have no alternative but to support large banks when systemic stability is threatened, this additional security creates a perverse incentive for banks to increase their appetite for risk.

The Big Banks’ Big Secret: Estimating government support for Canadian banks during the financial crisis

June 8, 2012 Comments off

The Big Banks’ Big Secret: Estimating government support for Canadian banks during the financial crisis
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
From press release:

A study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) estimates the previously secret extent of extraordinary support required by Canada’s banks during the financial crisis.

According to the study, by CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald, support for Canadian banks reached $114 billion at its peak—that’s $3,400 for every man, woman, and child in Canada.

“At some point during the crisis, three of Canada’s banks—CIBC, BMO, and Scotiabank—were completely under water, with government support exceeding the market value of the company,” says Macdonald. “Without government supports to fall back on, Canadian banks would have been in serious trouble.”

Between October 2008 and July 2010, Canada’s largest banks relied heavily on financial aid programs provided by the Bank of Canada, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and the U.S. Federal Reserve—all at the same time.

Over the entire aid period, Canada’s banks reported $27 billion in total profits between them and the CEOs of each of the big banks were among the highest paid Canadian CEOs. Between 2008 and 2009, each bank CEO received an average raise in total compensation of 19%.

Canada — New report lifts fog on government job cuts

June 8, 2012 Comments off

New report lifts fog on government job cuts
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Due to the opaque reporting methods used by the federal government to detail its spending and employment projections, getting a clear picture of core public service job losses is unnecessarily complicated. However, CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald has analyzed data from recently released 2012-13 Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPP) as well as the 2012 federal budget to assess the impact of several rounds of spending cuts on federal employment.

The report, Clearing Away the Fog: Government Estimates of Job Losses, finds that the total number of federal core public service job losses over the next three years will be 29,600—far more than the 19,200 estimate that is now commonly cited. The Departments of National Defence, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, and Public Works and Government Services Canada will be particularly hard hit.

The analysis also notes that a significant number of positions at Crown corporations, non-profit agencies, and private sector firms who do business with the government outside of the core public service will also be lost, although it is difficult to determine just how many.

The Three Amigos: How Income Inequality in Mexico is different than Canada and the U.S.

May 31, 2012 Comments off

The Three Amigos: How Income Inequality in Mexico is different than Canada and the U.S.
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

An examination of income inequality in North America reveals that Mexico is the only part of the continent where the middle class has been gaining from growth, according to a new study by internationally respected economist Lars Osberg, Dalhousie University professor and CCPA Research Associate.

Mexico’s middle class has benefited from urbanization, greater female employment, improved education and better social programs. Although similar trends in Canada and the U.S. maintained growth in middle class incomes until the 1970s, Osberg says, they have since run out of steam. Globalization, technological advances, a drop in unionized work, and a deregulated labour market have contributed to stagnant real incomes for most in Canada and the U.S. since the 1980s.

Meanwhile, income growth at the top has accelerated in both Canada and the U.S.

Canada — CCPA releases Alternative Federal Budget 2012

April 2, 2012 Comments off

CCPA releases Alternative Federal Budget 2012
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Today, the CCPA releases the Alternative Federal Budget 2012: A Budget for the Rest of Us. This year’s AFB presents a public investment plan that promotes a better quality of life for all Canadians, not just an elite few. The AFB is designed to:

  • tackle poverty and income inequality by investing in public programs like education, affordable housing, public pensions, universal pharmacare, and national child care;
  • get Canadians working again by creating jobs and lowering the unemployment rate;
  • close tax loopholes for the wealthy, and put an end to the federal government’s failed corporate tax cut experiment;
  • get serious about environmental leadership with a forward-looking green strategy;
  • repair our cities and build sustainable communities with a long-term physical infrastructure program.

Documents available in English and French.

CA — Stranded in suburbia: Planning for aging populations

February 23, 2012 Comments off

Stranded in suburbia: Planning for aging populations
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

One of the most significant demographic changes in modern history is on the verge of occurring. Children born during the baby boom of post World War II are coming around full cycle, and we do not appear to have a well thought out plan to deal with this phenomenon. The first of the baby boom generation will be reaching age 65 within the next decade, doubling the current population of seniors by 2036. How does Manitoba intend to prepare for these dramatic changes? Our provincial health care system will be pushed to the limits, as will our ability to provide the services that will be needed.

The aging baby boomers, largely living in Winnipeg’s suburbs, will likely want to continue to live there. Suburban regions are characterized by low-density development and land use separation; buildings are spread out, and homes are completely segregated from the vast majority of services. This poses significant problems for delivering services, ensuring appropriate housing and providing transportation. Are Manitoba’s policies and strategies for addressing the aging population sufficient?

This report examines these trends, and provides some policy options for the Government of Manitoba to address these issues.

+ Full Report (PDF)

CA — Old Age (In)Security

February 10, 2012 Comments off

Old Age (In)Security
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Old Age Security (OAS) is the basic building block of Canada’s retirement income system. Canadians build on that foundation, saving for their retirement with benefits from the Canada or Quebec Pension Plan, a workplace pension if they’re lucky enough to have one, and private savings.

But now Prime Minster Harper says OAS is unsustainable and will not be able to accommodate the retirement of the baby boom generation over the next 20 years. Subsequently, the government is now considering controversial reforms to pension programs—including raising the age of eligibility for OAS from 65 to 67.

Pension experts don’t agree. Old Age Security: Can We Afford It?, a new CCPA technical paper by Monica Townson, sheds some light on the negative impact of cuts to Canada’s pension programs and also addresses its sustainability, given government claims that OAS costs will be soon be “unaffordable.”

+ Full Report

Canada — Resources on pension reform and Old Age Security

February 8, 2012 Comments off

Resources on pension reform and Old Age Security
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Last week Prime Minister Harper signaled possible cuts to Canada’s pension programs, namely Old Age Security benefits for middle- and lower-income seniors. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has produced several resources on pension reform, including analysis of the possible plan to raise the age for OAS eligibility…”

Canada’s Incomplete, Mediocre Recovery

January 30, 2012 Comments off

Canada’s Incomplete, Mediocre Recovery
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
From press release:

The twin claims by political leaders that the damage done by the recession to the Canadian economy and labour market have been repaired and that Canada survived the recession much better than other countries are both false, says a study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The study, by economist and CCPA Research Associate Jim Stanford, finds that, after adjusting for population growth, neither GDP nor employment growth have yet to recoup the ground lost during the 2008-09 downturn.

“In the labour market, in particular, the pace of employment-creation has lagged far behind the pace of population growth. After adjusting for population growth, less than one-fifth of the damage from the recession has been repaired, and things have gotten worse in the last 18 months, not better,” says Stanford.

“No wonder most Canadians think we’re still in a recession. From the perspective of the labour market, we still are.”

According to the study, real per capita GDP remains 1.4% lower as of the third quarter of 2011 than it was at the beginning of 2008—and several thousands of dollars per person below where it could be today on the basis of pre-recession growth trends.

CA — There’s no contest when it comes to CEO compensation

January 4, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ annual look at CEO compensation looks at 2010 compensation levels for Canada’s highest paid 100 CEOs and finds they pocketed an average of an average $8.38 million in 2010 – a 27% increase over the average $6.6 million they took in 2009.

Even in these turbulent economic times, the average of Canada’s CEO Elite 100 make 189 times more than Canadians earning the average wage.

Full Report (PDF)

CA — Pooled plans won’t solve pension crisis

December 8, 2011 Comments off

Pooled plans won’t solve pension crisis
Source: Candian Centre for Policy Alternatives

A new CCPA report finds that the government’s proposed Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP) program will do nothing to solve Canada’s pension crisis. The report, by Monica Towson, concludes that rather than proposing yet another voluntary savings scheme, the government should instead focus on expanding the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Improving CPP benefits would address the two key issues in the pension system causing concern: the lack of coverage in workplace pension plans; and the fact that individuals are not saving for retirement on their own. An expanded CPP would provide better retirement pensions to virtually all Canadians.

+ Pension Breakdown: How the finance ministers bungled pension reform (PDF)

Canada — Carbon footprints increase with income

November 17, 2011 Comments off

Carbon footprints increase with income
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

A new CCPA report finds household carbon footprints increase with income. In fact, the richest 20% of Canadian households are responsible for almost double the greenhouse gas emissions of those in the lowest-income group. The study, by Marc Lee and Amanda Card, concludes that GHG reduction policies must take inequality into consideration in order to be effective.

+ Full Report

Climate change and the Canadian energy sector

October 28, 2011 Comments off

Climate change and the Canadian energy sector
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

A new CCPA study argues that we need a fundamental rethinking of where Canada is going in its energy policy.

Climate Change and the Canadian Energy Sector: Implications for Labour and Trade Unions, by John Calvert and Marjorie Griffin Cohen, makes the case for a comprehensive strategy that would base its priorities on the urgent need to address global warming. The strategy should include a much stronger government role in shaping Canada’s energy future. It should also include a larger role for industrial policy and a comprehensive training and employment program. Trade unions, as well as environmentalists and civil society have much to contribute. They need to be included in the development of a more environmentally responsible approach to addressing climate change, one that does not rely simply on furthering the individual market-based decisions of the corporate sector.

+ Full Report (PDF)

The impact of rising tuition fees on Ontario families

September 2, 2011 Comments off

The impact of rising tuition fees on Ontario families
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

A new CCPA study finds that over the past two decades, Ontario’s system of financing higher education has become more regressive, exploiting already over-stretched families who want to help their children pursue their educational aspirations.

In 1990, a middle income family in Ontario could earn the equivalent of four years of tuition fees in 87 days; it will take 195 days in 2011. The situation is even more dire for low income families who are looking at the equivalent of two years of income for four years of tuition fees in 2011.

By forcing all but the wealthiest families to play priority roulette, assume still more debt, or make the difficult decision that higher education is too great a financial burden to bear, Ontario is hampering its economic and educational potential, and we are all paying the price.

There are alternatives: the study shows how the government of Ontario can maximize investment benefits and create a highly educated populace not overburdened with debt, and in so doing help ensure that university is affordable to students and their families regardless of income.

+ Full Report

CA — Plugging the Gap: Sustainable Power Options to Complement Wind and Solar

July 13, 2011 Comments off

Plugging the Gap: Sustainable Power Options to Complement Wind and Solar
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

In the debate over sustainable energy options for the future, wind and solar power usually receive the bulk of attention. However, recent technological developments are creating a new assortment of viable sustainable energy options that Saskatchewan is well placed to take advantage of.

CCPA Saskatchewan’s newest report, Plugging the Gap: Sustainable Power Options to Complement Wind and Solar by Mark Bigland-Pritchard investigates the means by which the province could complement wind and solar power with other renewable energy options such as using fuels of biological origin like biomass and biochar, dammed and run-of-the-river hydroelectricity, concentrated solar thermal technology, advanced energy storage and other hybrid systems.

Bigland-Pritchard evaluates the efficacy of these options as they pertain to Saskatchewan, exploring how they could be used in conjunction with other renewable energy choices to provide a stable and secure electrical power base for the future.

+ Full Report (PDF)

Implications of the Canada-EU CETA for municipal governments

June 20, 2011 Comments off

Implications of the Canada-EU CETA for municipal governments
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

In ongoing Canada-EU trade negotiations, the European Commission is seeking full coverage of sub-national (provincial and municipal) procurement. In Canada, as in Europe, many important public services, such as waste, water and public transit, are delivered by local authorities.

The exclusion of local purchasing and services from the procurement restrictions of trade treaties has provided policy flexibility to use such purchasing as a tool for local economic development. It has also reduced the risk of litigation and demands for compensation from foreign investors and service providers when privatisation schemes are halted or reversed.

In this briefing paper, based on his remarks to a Centre for Civic Governance event held in conjunction with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ annual conference, Scott Sinclair explores the implications of the Canada-EU CETA for municipal governments.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Canada — Budget 2011 Redux

June 3, 2011 Comments off

Budget 2011 Redux
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Despite the government’s stay-the-course rhetoric, the upcoming federal budget will lay the foundation for the most aggressive assault on public service delivery in Canadian history. This Alternative Federal Budget report gives Canadians a sense of what to expect from the Harper government’s first majority budget and the long-term impact it could have on Canada as we know it.

+ Full Report (PDF)

Canada — How the financial industry can pay fairer taxes

May 22, 2011 Comments off

How the financial industry can pay fairer taxes
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Canada’s financial sector has been the greatest beneficiary of recent corporate income tax cuts, as well as from preferred tax rates applied to capital gains taxes and stock options. In total, the value of these tax preferences and recent tax cuts now adds up to approximately $11 billion a year for Canada’s financial sector and is projected to reach over $14 billion a year in 2013

A new CCPA study says Canada should join other countries in introducing fairer taxes on the financial sector that could generate over $10 billion a year.

The study recommends establishing a fairer tax system and broadening the base by:

  • Introducing a Financial Activities Tax (FAT) on financial sector profits and remuneration to compensate for the
  • under-taxation of the financial sector.

  • Eliminating tax preferences for stock options and capital gains.
  • Reversing recent corporate tax cuts.
  • Working with other countries to establish global financial transactions taxes

+ Full Report (PDF)

Canada — Silencing Dissent: The Conservative Record

May 18, 2011 Comments off

Silencing Dissent: The Conservative Record
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Over the past five years, exercise of the fundamental freedom of speech in Canada has been curbed and discouraged by a federal government increasingly intolerant of even the mildest criticism or dissent. Particularly affected have been organizations dependent on government funding which advocate for human rights and women’s equality. Their voices have been stifled, some completely silenced, by cuts to their budgets. Also financially throttled have been individuals and groups that speak out for reproductive rights, humanitarian immigration policies, and for changes in Canada’s foreign policy in the Middle East.

The Harper government’s now lengthy record of silencing – or attempting to silence – its critics also includes the removal of heads of government agencies, commissions, and tribunals who insist on making independent decisions. Academics who have spoken against government actions or policies have also been targeted.

This blatant suppression of basic human rights by a government constitutionally responsible for guaranteeing their expression is unprecedented in Canada’s history.

Includes “List of organizations which have been cancelled or defunded, and individuals who have been silenced or removed from their posts” (2006-2011)

Canada — Dental Care — Putting our money where our mouth is

May 16, 2011 Comments off

Putting our money where our mouth is
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

The renegotiations of the federal-provincial-territorial health accord are on the horizon, and everyone is looking for a way to save money and improve health. Sound impossible? Why don’t we put our money where our mouth is?

It’s a strange truth of Canadian public policy: the care of our lips, tongues, and throats is fully covered by public funding, but not our teeth and gums. This toothless approach to health care is a costly oversight for the public purse.

A mounting body of evidence shows a correlation between poor oral health and higher incidence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, and Alzheimer’s. Tooth decay is a preventable by low-cost public health interventions. A coordinated approach to oral health policy could play a major role in improving health and reducing costs over the long run.

Canadians spend about $13 billion a year on our teeth. A public health program that brings dental care to kids in schools across Canada would cost about $550 million – about 4.5% of all dental spending and 0.3% of total health care spending. It would save billions of dollars of health care services down the road. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

Putting Our Money Where Our Mouth Is: The Future of Dental Care in Canada is a timely compendium of facts and policies that help decision makers weigh their options for cost-effective policy that can create lasting change, one healthy smile at a time.

+ Full Document


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 632 other followers