• 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…

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

    In a Crisis, You Want Someone at Your Back

    As Canadians celebrated Labour Day, new data indicates that union membership has been growing in Canada (and several other industrial countries) even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage around the world. In this column, originally published in the Toronto Star, Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford argues there is a connection between the current crisis and renewed interest in unions and collective bargaining. Unions are particularly important during tough times, to limit employers’ normal tendencies to try to shift the costs of a downturn onto the backs of their workers. This pandemic has caused a surprising rebound for the unions There won’t be any Labour Day parades this…

  • Commentary,  COVID,  Finance,  Macroeconomics

    The Gap between Stock Markets and Society has Never Been Greater

    It seems counter-intuitive that North American financial markets have been on a tear for several months, in some cases setting all-time record highs – even as the COVID pandemic proves deadlier and longer-lasting than we all hoped for. In this commentary, originally published in the Toronto Star, Jim Stanford considers this “cognitive dissonance” between the exuberance of stock markets and the hardship of the real world. Booming Financial Markets Belie Social Hardship Canadians have confronted an avalanche of depressing news about the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying recession: infections, deaths, job losses, bankruptcies. Amidst the doom and gloom, however, one light shines brightly. Even as fears of a second wave intensify,…

  • Commentary,  COVID,  Future of Work,  Labour Standards

    rabble.ca Podcast with Jim Stanford on Making Work Better After COVID

    The Canadian on-line news site rabble.ca has produced a new podcast from a presentation which Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford recently gave to rabble’s Members’ Council. The presentation draws on the Centre’s recent report, Ten Ways the COVID-19 Pandemic Must Change Work for Good. To hear or download the full podcast, please visit rabble’s podcast page here: Economist Jim Stanford talks about the future of work — during COVID-19 times and beyond.

  • Commentary,  COVID,  Employment & Unemployment

    Encouraging Job Numbers, but a Long Way to Recovery

    Here is analysis from Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford on today’s Statistics Canada Labour Force report: The headline growth in jobs (almost 1 million) was very encouraging, much better than expected. By that measure, we’ve climbed almost halfway back out of the hole we fell into from February through April.  But the next steps of job recovery will be much harder to achieve. The share of remaining unemployed Canadians expecting to go back to their former jobs has fallen substantially (just one-third now). We are experiencing a wave of second-order layoffs as companies permanently downsize because their market isn’t coming back. Recent examples of that (all in the…