• 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, 80,000 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…

  • Inequality,  Labour Standards,  PowerShare,  Research,  Trade Unions

    The Surprising Resilience of Trade Unionism in Canada

    Trade unions in Canada and globally have been on the defensive for years. Economic and political cultural changes have tended to undermine the power, visibility, and viability of trade unions and traditional forms of collective bargaining. As a result, union density (the proportion of workers with the protection of a union and a collective agreement) has declined in most countries through the neoliberal era. Canadian unions are not immune to these challenges. However, comparative data compiled by Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford provides surprising evidence that despite these challenges, Canadian unions have exerted a relatively stable influence on wages, income distribution, and labour policies. This helps to explain…

  • Fiscal Policy,  Industry & Sector,  Macroeconomics,  Research

    The Broken Promises of Corporate Tax Cuts

    The pace of business capital spending in Canada has been weak in recent years, for several reasons – including the slowdown in the petroleum industry, the erosion of Canadian manufacturing, and now the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic and recession. This has spurred a resurgence of demands from the business community for lower company tax rates, which advocates claim will accelerate business capital spending. In this analysis, published originally by the Canadian Tax Foundation, Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford agrees that stimulating more capital investment (both private and public) is a vital goal. But there is no evidence from either recent Canadian history or international comparisons that…

  • 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…

  • 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.…

  • Globalization,  Research

    WTO’s Overreach Explains its Growing Irrelevance

    Contrary to the optimistic predictions of free trade theorists (and their seemingly scientific economic models), free trade agreements haven’t been beneficial for all participants in international commerce. Rather, for many reasons (including the emergence of large trade imbalances, deindustrialization, and lasting unemployment), business-friendly trade agreements have produced ‘losers’ as well as ‘winners.’ Moreover, losses have been concentrated in particular industries, regions, and social groups – fostering a backlash that has disrupted trade flows, and thrown into question the future viability of the WTO itself. Ironically, part of the failure of neoliberal trade policy rests with the overreach of those trade agreements (including the WTO), which have gone far beyond simply…

  • Research,  Technology

    Thinking Twice About Technology and the Future of Work

    It is often assumed that changes in the future of work are determined by the inexorable process of technological progress. In this report, originally published by the Public Policy Forum, our Director Jim Stanford challenges that assumption. Technology is not neutral or exogenous: the direction of innovation reflects the interests of those funding it. And how technology is implemented in workplaces has many important implications for the quality, stability, and compensation of work. In short, important choices can be made at each step of the process of technological change, that will reflect the relative emphasis that society places on valuing work and workers. Please read the full report, Thinking Twice…

  • Gig Economy,  Research,  Technology

    Five Contrarian Insights on the Future of Work

    In this comprehensive but readable commentary, our Director Jim Stanford challenges five stereotypical claims that are often advanced in debates over the future of work:   Work is not disappearing; it can’t. Technology is not accelerating. “Gigs” aren’t even new. Technology is often more about relationships than productivity. Skills are not a magic bullet. The commentary was prepared for the My Labour, Our Future conference held in Montreal, Canada to mark the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the International Labour Organization. We thank the organizers and the Atkinson Foundation for permission to repost the paper. Five Contrarian Insights on the Future of Work

  • Macroeconomics,  Research

    Quantitative Easing: What It Is and What It Could Mean

    The Bank of Canada has finally joined other central banks around the world in undertaking an ambitious “quantitative easing” (QE) program to support credit flows and reduce interest rates during the current health emergency and economic crisis. Our Director Jim Stanford has prepared an accessible introduction to QE and how it works. He also makes 4 specific proposals for extending and strengthening the practice. This research was originally published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Making the Most of Quantitative Easing With the COVID-19 recession getting deeper by the day, the Bank of Canada has joined other central banks in quickly reducing its target interest rate to near zero,…

  • Macroeconomics,  Public Sector Work,  Research

    Recovery from Pandemic Will Need an Ambitious Rebuilding Plan

    The unprecedented shutdown of much of the economy to limit spread of the coronavirus is not like an “ordinary” recession – and recovering from it will require powerful leadership from government. Director Jim Stanford compares it to recovering from a war, and argues for an equivalent to the Marshall Plan that helped western Europe rebuild after World War II. This article was originally published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy. A Marshall Plan to Rebuild after Coronavirus Economic policy-makers have been understandably focused on addressing the immediate economic shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic: developing new income supports for the millions who will need them, stabilizing the credit system…