• 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. 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, the stock market has been doing…

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • Commentary,  COVID,  Future of Work,  Macroeconomics

    Podcast on the Economics of Capitalism in a Crisis

    Rational RationalReminder is a fascinating podcast series hosted by Benjamin Felix and Cameron Passmore. They work in the financial services sector (in Ottawa), but their series ranges very widely into broader economic, financial, and social issues. Episode #106 features a full hour interview with Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford. The conversation covered many aspects of the COVID-19 economic crisis and how government must respond – including debunking knee-jerk fears about government debt, and rejecting demands for fiscal austerity. It also delved into the nature of economics and how it could become a more realistic and socially embedded discipline. See video of the full conversation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=G1kKktotDGM

  • Commentary,  COVID,  Income Security,  Macroeconomics

    Interview with Evan Solomon about Fiscal Policy, Income Supports, and Other Responses to the Pandemic

    Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford recently appeared on Evan Solomon’s national radio program, Overview, to discuss the continuing evolution of the COVID-19 recession, and its implications for all areas of government policy. Evan and Jim discussed Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s fiscal ‘snapshot,’ the significance (or not) of the federal government’s large deficit, and the feasibility of various proposals for a basic income to help Canadians through the crisis (and to deal with the economic insecurity they already faced, even before the pandemic). Jim proposed far-reaching reforms to Canada’s deeply flawed Employment Insurance system, including a ‘hybrid’ approach that would combine improved access, a basic income threshold (similar to…

  • Commentary,  COVID,  Employment & Unemployment,  Macroeconomics

    Pearson Centre Webinar on Economics After COVID, Featuring Director Jim Stanford

    Canada’s macroeconomy continues to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions on normal work and economic activity. Data confirm we are well into the worst downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the impacts on a wide range of indicators (including employment, incomes, consumer confidence, business investment, and government revenues) have yet to be fully felt. To discuss the economic outlook, and the government policies that will be required to respond to it, Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford recently joined a webinar hosted by the Pearson Centre, a progressive think tank based in Ottawa. He advanced a range of far-reaching measures, including:…

  • Commentary,  COVID,  Future of Work,  Labour Standards

    There are Opportunities as Well as Threats for Workers in the COVID-19 Recession

    The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis poses many obvious threats to workers in all industries: job loss, reduced hours, employer demands for concessions in wages and benefits… and of course the risk of contracting the virus at work. However, the pandemic is also highlighting long-standing weaknesses in Canada’s labour market structures and policies – and opening promising opportunities to win improvements in those structures and policies. Journalist Chelsea Nash, labour beat reporter with the Canadian digital news site rabble.ca, has published an inspiring article discussing those opportunities, and analyzing what unions and equality advocates will need to do to make the most of them. Her article features extensive quotes…

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

    Ten Ways to Improve Work After COVID-19 Pandemic

    Governments, employers, and unions must all work urgently to address several critical weaknesses in Canada’s employment laws and policies to ensure the post-COVID re-opening of the economy can be safe and sustained. That’s the core message of a new research report from the Centre for Future Work. The report is the first publication from the Centre’s new PowerShare research program, undertaken in partnership with the Atkinson Foundation and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The study, by the Centre’s Director Jim Stanford, lists 10 specific ways jobs need to be protected and strengthened in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down large sections of the national economy.…

  • 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…