• Research,  Technology,  Trade Unions

    Shocking Economic Facts Behind the BC Ports Dispute

    The work stoppage at BC ports has sparked predictable rhetoric from employer groups and pro-business commentators and politicians. They claim longshore workers are greedy and resistant to change, and must be forced back to work through legislation, in order to protect the national economy. This argument has it exactly backwards. It is the shipping companies and terminal operators whose greed has disrupted Canada’s economy, including by contributing to the worst inflation in decades. And it is their resistance to change – in particular, opposing more stable and efficient ways to support training, skills, and stability in longshore work – that is the only barrier to a quick settlement. In this…

  • Employment & Unemployment,  Inequality,  Macroeconomics,  Research

    The Failures of ‘Trickle-Down’ Economics in Alberta

    Since its election in 2019, the current provincial government in Alberta has emphasized a classic ‘trickle-down’ economic strategy. It argues that by boosting profits of private business, capital investment will grow, and job-creation, rising incomes, and economic growth will then ‘trickle down’ to the rest of the population.

  • Environment & Work,  Macroeconomics,  Research

    No Correlation Between Inflation and Carbon Pricing

    Canadian conservatives have repeatedly tried to pin the blame for post-pandemic inflation on the present federal government, and even personally on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (with their ‘JustInflation’ label). The latest incarnation of that strategy claims the surge in inflation over the last two years is due to the federal carbon tax – which applies in those provinces (such as Ontario and Alberta) which have refused to participate directly in the Canada-wide carbon pricing system. In this report, originally published in Canadian Dimension magazine, Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford shows there is no empirical correlation or theoretical link between carbon taxes and economy-wide inflation. Top Ten Reasons We…

  • COVID,  Future of Work,  Research,  Trade Unions

    The Future of Working from Home

    The historic expansion of remote and home work during the first stages of the COVID pandemic was both extraordinary and vitally important in helping families, and the economy, through the challenges of that crisis. Some two-thirds of employed Canadians worked totally or mostly from home at some point during the pandemic. Remote work was essential to preserving incomes, maintaining economic activity, and providing essential services at a time when face-to-face encounters were potentially deadly.

  • Macroeconomics,  Research

    Stanford for Agriculture Committee on Food Prices and Profits

    The Centre for Future Work’s Director, Jim Stanford, appeared as an invited expert witness before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food on February 13, as part of the committee’s inquiry into food price inflation. Here is the formal submission Dr. Stanford tabled along with his testimony. The evidence was based on analysis of Statistics Canada industry-wide data on revenues and profits in the broad food retail sector. The data confirms that aggregate profits have doubled since pre-pandemic norms, profit margins (relative to total revenues) have increased by about three-quarters, and that the real quantity of groceries purchased by Canadians has been shrinking in the face of…

  • Employment & Unemployment,  Macroeconomics,  Research,  Wages

    Fifteen Super-Profitable Industries are Driving Canadian Inflation

    A new research paper from the Centre for Future Work sheds new light on the role of surging corporate profits in driving higher Canadian inflation. The report provides details on net income in 15 super-profitable private-sector industries in Canada, based on newly released data from Statistics Canada. It compares the most recent 12-month period to profit levels before the pandemic (in 2019). Combined profits in those 15 sectors grew by 89%, rising by a total of $143 billion. In contrast, profits in the other 37 business sectors tracked by Statistics Canada fell over the same time. The oil and gas industry experienced by far the largest increase in profits: up…

  • Research,  Trade Unions,  Wages

    Sector Bargaining and Broader Based Bargaining

    Labour advocates and researchers around the world have been investigating the possibility of new systems of broader based collective bargaining, as a promising strategy for reversing the decline in collective bargaining coverage which has occurred in many countries. Sectoral, occupational, and other broader-based bargaining systems allow negotiations to occur at more than one workplace or enterprise at a time: across occupations, sectors, or regions. They can allow bargainers to establish common terms across multiple worksites – such as covering all franchises within a large commercial chain. And by establishing terms and conditions that apply evenly across broader sets of businesses, broader based bargaining does not disadvantage any particular company or…

  • Employment & Unemployment,  Inflation,  Macroeconomics,  Research

    Orthodox Cure for Inflation Will Be Worse than the Disease

    Evidence is growing that Canada’s economy, and most other OECD nations, is heading into recession. Dramatic increases in interest rates around the world, motivated by a desire to clamp down inflation that broke out after the COVID pandemic, is undermining investment, job creation, and household spending power. The Centre for Future Work has jointly released a major new report with the Canadian Labour Congress documenting the flaws in the Bank of Canada’s diagnosis of current inflation, and the risks in its one-sided approach to solving the problem. The report, titled A Cure Worse than the Disease? Toward a More Balanced Understanding of Inflation and What to Do About It, was…

  • Inflation,  Macroeconomics,  Research

    Slowing Economy Should Give Bank of Canada Pause … But It Won’t

    New GDP data released last week confirm that higher interest rates and other headwinds have already slowed economic growth in Canada to a crawl. This should give the Bank of Canada pause to reconsider its schedule of aggressive interest rate hikes. That inflation was never attributable to overheated domestic economic conditions. Instead, statistical evidence indicates that current inflation is mostly the result of several unique post-pandemic factors: supply chain disruptions, higher energy prices, and a catch-up of consumer spending from depressed pandemic levels. Moreover, those largely temporary forces are already abating: several key global price indicators have fallen substantially in recent months (including petroleum, food, and shipping costs). By undercutting…

  • 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,…