• Inflation,  Macroeconomics,  Research,  Wages

    Wage Growth Picking Up, but Shows Important Differences Across Categories

    There are some signs of a modest acceleration in nominal wage growth in Canada. This is not surprising, given both relatively tight labour markets and the impact of accelerating inflation on the wage demands of Canadian workers. Average hourly wages paid across the labour market grew 3.9% in the 12 months ending in May (latest data). That is an increase from year-over-year growth rates of 2.5% to 3% recorded in late 2021 and early in 2022. Wages are still growing at only about half the pace of consumer prices, which grew 7.7% (according to the Consumer Price Index) over the same period. Since wage growth is weaker than price inflation,…

  • Employment & Unemployment,  Inflation,  Macroeconomics,  Research

    Corporate Power and Post-Pandemic Inflation: A Deeper Dive

    There is abundant research (including from the Centre for Future Work, here here and here) showing that corporate profit margins have expanded significantly in the course of the current acceleration of inflation. It is not solely a process of companies passing along higher input and labour costs to consumers through higher prices. Rather, corporations have used their market power and disruptions in normal supply channels to widen their profit margins.  In Canada, after-tax corporate profits have increased to their highest share of GDP ever, coincident with the sharp rise in consumer prices. Since it’s corporations who literally set those prices, perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising. Labour costs, meanwhile, have lagged…

  • Employment & Unemployment,  Future of Work,  Research,  Technology

    Canadian Workers Need More Technology, Not Less

    There is little evidence that robots and other advanced technologies are displacing workers and causing technological unemployment in Canada. To the contrary, Canada’s adoption of new technology has surprisingly slowed down in recent years. That is the conclusion of a major new report on innovation and automation in Canada’s economy, from the Centre for Future Work. The report, titled Where are the Robots?, reviews nine empirical indicators of Canadian innovation, technology adoption, and robotization. They paint a worrisome picture that Canadian businesses have dramatically reduced their innovation effort since the turn of the century, and are lagging well behind other industrial countries in putting new technology to work in the…

  • COVID,  Income Security,  Labour Standards,  Research

    Income Security and Workers’ Power: Work, Wages, and Basic Income after COVID

    The success of the CERB and complementary policies in helping Canadian households through the COVID pandemic confirmed the effectiveness and feasibility of much stronger income security. The CERB was not designed to be a “basic income”, but its broad coverage, generally adequate benefit level ($500 per week), and effectiveness in preventing mass dislocation during the pandemic has spurred arguments for a permanent form of basic income. Thanks to the CERB, poverty actually fell in Canada despite the pandemic. That confirmed we could achieve permanent reductions in poverty with similar, permanent income supports. Employers, however, complained loudly that the CERB undermined the “incentive to work” among current or prospective staff. Indeed,…

  • Industry & Sector,  Research,  Trade Unions,  Wages

    Solid Wage Gains for Construction Workers Needed to Cement Productivity Gains

    Paycheques for workers in Ontario’s booming construction industry are coming up short despite surging productivity and a sharp rise in building activity, a new report from the Centre for Future Work shows. Relative to consumer prices, the real purchasing power of construction wages has been stagnant in recent years even though real labour productivity in the sector has grown very strongly. Workers are generating more output and revenue for their employers, but not getting their fair share of the value they’re creating. Nominal wages in construction grew at an average rate of 1.9% over the last five years, considerably slower than broader wages in Ontario’s labour market (which grew at…

  • COVID,  Research,  Wages

    10 Paid Sick Days Would Have Little Impact on Business Costs

    A proposed 10-day paid sick leave policy in B.C. will increase overall business costs by just one-fifth of one percent. That’s the finding of new research from the Centre for Future Work. The new report, by Centre Director Jim Stanford, calculates the impact of the proposed policy on sick leave entitlements, absences, replacement staff costs, and bottom-line business expenses. The ultimate impact of paid sick days is estimated at just 0.21% of existing business expenses, and will have no measurable impact on overall competitiveness or profitability. The findings discredit claims by some business lobbyists that 10 days of paid sick leave would cause widespread bankruptcies and job loss. Moreover, these…

  • Economic Literacy,  Research,  Trade Unions

    Ideas Into Motion: Progressive Economics and Social Change Movements

    Our research at the Centre for Future Work is motivated by a deep commitment to improving the jobs, working conditions, and living standards of working people in Canada and around the world. We combine our knowledge of economics, our quantitative and qualitative research, and our connections with trade unionists and social movements to develop arguments and evidence that supports campaigns for decent work, stronger communities, and sustainability. Our Director, Dr. Jim Stanford, was recently asked to contribute his ideas on the links between progressive economics and real-world social change movements for a forthcoming collection: The Handbook of Alternative Theories of Political Economy, edited by Frank Stilwell, Tim Thornton, and David…

  • PowerShare,  Research,  Technology,  Time & Working Hours,  Trade Unions

    Bargaining Tech: Shaping New Technologies to Improve Work, not Devalue It

    The Centre for Future Work has published another major paper in its PowerShare project, dealing with the impact of new technology on the quantity and quality of work in Canada – and strategies for ensuring that new technology produces more benefits for workers. The paper is entitled Bargaining Tech: Strategies for Shaping Technological Change to Benefit Workers, co-authored by Jim Stanford and Kathy Bennett. It provides an overview of the complex, contradictory ways that technological change is affecting jobs in Canada. It also discusses how technology could be better managed and implemented to achieve better, fairer, more inclusive high-tech outcomes. The report reviews recent debates about whether new technology will…

  • Future of Work,  PowerShare,  Research,  Trade Unions

    Strengthening Workers’ Voice in the Future of Work

    The Centre for Future Work has published a major new report on the economic and social benefits of workers’ voice. There is abundant evidence that jobs are better when workers can provide input, express opinions, and influence change in their workplaces. Providing workers with regular, safe channels of “voice” increases their personal motivation and job satisfaction. It benefits their employer, too, through reduced turnover, enhanced productivity, and better information flows. And it contributes to a range of positive economic and social outcomes: from stronger productivity growth, to less inequality, to improved health. Given the dramatic changes occurring in Canadian workplaces (including automation, digital employment platforms, climate change, and pandemics), the…

  • Employment & Unemployment,  Environment & Work,  Future of Work,  Research

    Transition Plan for Workers can Prevent Unemployment as Fossil Fuels are Phased Out

    New research from the Centre for Future Work demonstrates that with prudent long-term planning, the coming phase-out of fossil fuel production and use can be managed without causing unemployment for fossil fuel workers.  Employment Transitions and the Phase-Out of Fossil Fuels, by Jim Stanford (Economist and Director of the Centre for Future Work) shows that fossil fuel industries directly account for 170,000 jobs in Canada – less than 1% of total employment. A 20-year phase-out of fossil fuels implies an annual reduction of fossil fuel employment of around 8,500 jobs annually: the number of jobs typically created by the Canadian economy every ten days. With a clear timetable for phase-out,…