• 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,  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…

  • COVID,  Employment & Unemployment,  Gender and Work,  Research

    Child Care Expansion Would Boost Economic Recovery, Study Finds

    Implementing a new national child care system would generate several important benefits for Canada’s economy as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession, according to new research from the Centre for Future Work.  A universal national early learning and child care (ELCC) program would create over 200,000 direct jobs in child care centres, 100,000 more jobs in industries which support and supply the ELCC sector, and facilitate increased labour force participation and employment by up to 725,000 Canadian women in prime parenting years. The report, prepared by economist Dr. Jim Stanford (Director of the Centre for Future Work), also projects large increases in Canadian GDP as a result of…

  • 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,…

  • COVID,  Employment & Unemployment,  Future of Work,  Labour Standards,  Research

    Rebuilding Canada’s Economy Must Start with Rebuilding Work

    The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis have shone an unforgiving spotlight on several long-standing fractures in Canada’s labour market. Repairing those structural weaknesses is an essential precondition for re-opening the economy — and keeping it open — once the immediate health emergency passes and we start heading back to work. Failing to address those challenges will amplify the consequences of this crisis for millions of Canadians, as well as our overall social and economic stability. And it will leave us more vulnerable to the next pandemic, or comparable shock of some other sort. Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford was invited to participate in a new project, Rebuild…

  • 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.