• Commentary,  COVID,  Employment & Unemployment,  Macroeconomics,  Public Sector Work

    Reconstruction After COVID-19 Will Require Sustained Government Leadership

    The Centre’s Director Jim Stanford had a feature interview yesterday with Michael Enright on CBC Radio’s public affairs show, Sunday Edition, on how Canada’s economy will rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. A full recording and an abridged transcript is available on the CBC site here. Stanford argued that government investment, income security payments, expanded public services, and direct public sector employment will all be crucial to lift Canada’s economic activity back to its potential, once it is safe to go back to work. “This has actually been a real-time experiment that a national government — particularly one that has its own currency, as we do in Canada — has…

  • Globalization,  Research

    WTO’s Overreach Explains its Growing Irrelevance

    Contrary to the optimistic predictions of free trade theorists (and their seemingly scientific economic models), free trade agreements haven’t been beneficial for all participants in international commerce. Rather, for many reasons (including the emergence of large trade imbalances, deindustrialization, and lasting unemployment), business-friendly trade agreements have produced ‘losers’ as well as ‘winners.’ Moreover, losses have been concentrated in particular industries, regions, and social groups – fostering a backlash that has disrupted trade flows, and thrown into question the future viability of the WTO itself. Ironically, part of the failure of neoliberal trade policy rests with the overreach of those trade agreements (including the WTO), which have gone far beyond simply…

  • Commentary,  Future of Work,  Labour Standards,  Time & Working Hours

    Working From Home Helps, but is No Panacea

    A version of this commentary originally appeared in the Toronto Star. Millions of Canadians have been doggedly working from home through the pandemic. It’s inspired endless memes and laments on social media: Zoom meetings in pyjamas, kids running amok with office papers, super-sized data and electricity bills. To be sure, there are many economic benefits of home work. It maintains at least partial production, while respecting physical distancing and flattening the curve. On one hand, those who can work from home are lucky. They keep earning, but without the risks of infection facing those who must go out to work. But there are also many challenges and risks associated with…

  • Commentary,  Employment & Unemployment,  Macroeconomics

    ‘Official’ Unemployment Just the Tip of the Iceberg

    This commentary was originally published in the Toronto Star. Statistics Canada has just released its monthly labour force report for April. It’s the first monthly release that captures the full extent of the COVID shutdowns; the previous report (which covered one week in mid-March) reflected only the initial stages of pandemic-related closures. By the time Statistics Canada did its April survey (during the week of April 12-18), millions of workers had stopped working. Not surprisingly, the numbers are grim. 2.4 million Canadians were counted as officially unemployed in April. That’s 13.0% of the labour force – bad by any definition. However, that statistic is only the tip of the iceberg.…