• Commentary,  COVID,  Macroeconomics

    Best Way to Protect the Economy is to Protect Human Health

    Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be hampered by the false belief among some government leaders that restricting activity and movement will “damage” the economy. In fact, growing international evidence confirms that there is no “trade-off” between protecting health and protecting the economy: in fact, they go together. In this column originally published in the Toronto Star, Jim Stanford explains: Health and the Economy Go Hand in Hand By Jim Stanford With new stay-at-home orders covering many parts of the country, Canadians are settling in for several more weeks (at least) of daunting isolation. Restrictions are being tightened to slow the spread of COVID, until vaccines can turn…

  • Commentary,  Globalization,  Labour Standards,  PowerShare

    Global Manifesto to Democratize Work

    The COVID pandemic has painfully reminded us of the lack of genuine power that most workers have in their working lives. As soon as COVID began to spread, it was immediately obvious that workplaces were very vulnerable to contagion – yet employers and government regulators were very slow to address the threat with adequate and meaningful protective measures. Compelled by economic necessity, and lacking organized voice and bargaining power, workers literally risk their lives to continue performing their duties – often for poverty-level wages, in dangerous conditions. If workers had real say over how their workplaces operate, they could demand and win obvious and important changes to make their jobs…

  • Commentary,  COVID,  Gender and Work,  Industry & Sector

    Quick Progress on National Child Care Would Accelerate Economic Rebound

    The federal government has promised major funding for a national child care and early learning program in Canada. A recent Centre for Future Work report highlighted the substantial economic benefits that would be generated by such a program: including direct and indirect jobs providing early learning and child care (ELCC) services, improved female labour force participation, and stronger learning, employment, and health outcomes for children who participate in high-quality ELCC. In the following commentary, the Centre’s Director Jim Stanford summarizes those economic benefits, and argues it is incumbent on governments – provincial as well as federal – to move quickly ahead to start rolling out this program to boost Canada’s…

  • Commentary,  PowerShare,  Trade Unions

    Maclean’s Annual Chartbook: A Surprising Rebound in Canadian Union Density

    Each December, Maclean’s magazine publishes a compendium of charts, prepared by a range of economists and financial analysts, highlighting the most important trends to watch in the coming year. This year’s Charts to Watch collection featured a contribution from Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford on the recent rebound in the proportion of Canadian workers who belong to a union. The chart draws on previous Centre for Future Work research into the resilience of Canadian trade union membership, which has been more stable than union density in many other industrial countries. A unionization rebound Source: Statistics Canada Table 14-10-0069-01. 2020 first 9 months. Canada’s trade unions have fought for…

  • Commentary,  Inequality

    Enlisting Economics in Pursuit of Social Justice

    The Centre for Future Work’s Director Dr. Jim Stanford was recently profiled in a feature article published in In The Black, the journal of CPA Australia (the professional body for certified accountants in Australia). The profile, by journalist Johanna Leggatt, discusses the history of the Centre, and Stanford’s philosophy of using popular economic knowledge to strengthen movements for social change and workers’ rights. We are pleased to reprint, with kind permission from In the Black, this profile, titled ‘The People’s Economist’. Many thanks to the journal and to Ms. Leggatt for the generous article!

  • Commentary,  COVID,  Fiscal Policy,  Public Sector Work

    The Role of the Public Sector in Rebuilding After COVID-19

    Canadians have understandably turned to government for protection and support during the COVOD-19 pandemic. But the public sector will also need to play a vital role in leading the reconstruction of Canada’s economy once the pandemic has subsided.  This has been emphasized in previous Centre for Future Work research, including our PowerShare report on how work must be improved after COVID, and Jim Stanford’s call for a ‘post-war’ economic rebuilding strategy led by expansive government investment. In this feature interview with Cory Hare for ATA News (the journal of the Alberta Teachers’ Association), Jim Stanford explains why expanded public sector investment, service provision, and hiring will be vital to continued…

  • Commentary,  Gender and Work

    Provinces Should Welcome Federal Child Care Plan With Open Arms

    On the heels of the Centre for Future Work’s new report on the economic benefits of a national early learning and child care program, Director Jim Stanford prepared this commentary (originally published in the Toronto Star) on the fiscal benefits that would flow to provincial governments under the plan. Those provinces with the most underdeveloped child care systems today (namely, Ontario and the prairies) have the most to gain from a new national system: they should embrace the federal proposal enthusiastically. After years of false starts, the federal government seems intent to finally move forward with a national child care program. The Liberals’ recent Throne Speech put it bluntly: “The…

  • Commentary,  COVID,  Fiscal Policy

    The Debt Monsters are Awakening … but Don’t be Afraid

    For the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional voices of fiscal austerity were largely silent – even as governments began to incur very large deficits in response to the pandemic. More recently, however, prominent advocates of balanced-budgets and debt reduction have renewed calls for spending restraint. In this commentary, originally published in the Toronto Star, Jim Stanford explains why current deficits are not so “spooky” – and why focusing on deficit-reduction would make the recession worse. Trick-or-treating has been banned in several cities this Hallowe’en to limit the spread of COVID-19. But a rag-tag swarm of frightening creatures has nevertheless come out to frighten Canadians: with spooky stories…

  • Commentary,  COVID,  Employment & Unemployment,  Macroeconomics

    The Economy After COVID: What Comes Next?

    Some day the COVID-19 pandemic will end – hopefully soon! But we will then be left with an enormous economic challenge: building back jobs and incomes after the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. How can we do that? TVO’s flagship program The Agenda, hosted by Steve Paiken, recently convened a panel of economic experts to consider that question – including Jim Stanford, Director of the Centre for Future Work. Stanford emphasized the need for sustained attention to job-creation, warning it would take years to regain normal employment levels. He also highlighted that any premature focus on reducing deficits and cutting back government spending would prolong the recession, and only…

  • Commentary,  COVID,  Labour Standards,  PowerShare,  Trade Unions

    Amidst COVID, Unions More Relevant Than Ever

    One surprising consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and recession has been a notable increase in the proportion of employed Canadians who belong to a union. This partly reflects an increase in union organizing among workers who feel unsafe or exploited during the pandemic (in long term care homes, other health facilities, hospitality and retail workplaces, and others). It is also due to the fact that workers without a union have fewer job protections – and hence more of them lost their jobs, more immediately, as the pandemic hit. Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford recently joined the Out of Left Field podcast to discuss the opportunities for strengthening trade…