• Employment & Unemployment,  Research,  Trade Unions,  Wages

    Alberta’s Disappearing Advantage for Workers

    Alberta once boasted the highest wages in Canada. It was known as a place where working people could find a job, earn decent wages, and build a good life for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, this “Alberta Advantage” has mostly disappeared. Average wages have declined by 10% relative to inflation over the last decade, far more than in any other province. This negative result was not an accident: provincial policies in Alberta have worked to deliberately suppress wages, through measures like a six-year freeze in the minimum wage (now tied for lowest in Canada), restrictions on union organizing and collective bargaining, and very austere wage gains for public sector workers.

  • Commentary,  Trade Unions,  Wages

    Workers Strike Back

    Some observers called 2023 the Year of the Strike, and at times that moniker was fitting. Across a wide range of industries, workers hit the picket lines to support demands for pay increases that kept up with surging inflation. Over the first nine months of 2023 (the latest data at time of writing), Canada lost a total of 2.2 million work days to work stoppages...

  • Employment & Unemployment,  Research,  Wages

    Interrogating the Labour Shortage Hypothesis

    Canada’s Senate is investigating temporary migrant labour programs in Canada, which have expanded rapidly in the last two years, and their impact on labour markets and other issues. The Centre for Future Work’s Jim Stanford was invited to provide testimony on the issue of whether a purported “labour shortage” necessitates increased temporary migration inflows to Canada. Here is an annotated transcript of his testimony.

  • Commentary,  Inflation,  Macroeconomics,  Wages

    At Last, Wages are Growing Faster Than Prices… and That’s Good

    A turning point has recently been reached in the current inflationary upsurge in Canada. Beginning in February, for the first time in two years, the growth in average hourly wages over the previous 12 months finally matched, and slightly exceeded, the corresponding growth in prices. This is a positive development – but doesn’t mean that workers have ‘caught up’ to recent inflation. Because real wages fell so much in 2021 and 2022, wages will need to grow faster than prices for some years to come to repair the damage to workers’ living standards

  • Commentary,  Inflation,  Wages

    Inflation is Coming Down – But Interest Rates Have Nothing To Do With It

    New inflation data indicates a welcome slowing of inflation. Prices increased by an average of 4.3% over the 12 months ending in March. That’s barely half the year-over-year inflation rate just 9 months ago, in June 2022 (when inflation peaked at 8.1%). Despite this encouraging news, however, there are some important and worrying factors lurking in the weeds...

  • Commentary,  Inflation,  Macroeconomics,  Wages

    We Need More Goods, not Less Money

    In this commentary article, originally published in the Toronto Star, Jim Stanford challenges the adage that inflation results from ‘too much money’ in the economy. In fact, the current inflation – sparked by the repercussions from lockdowns and other supply disruptions during the pandemic – clearly indicates the problem is too few goods. That requires a very different approach to managing rising prices.

  • Commentary,  Employment & Unemployment,  Macroeconomics,  Wages

    The False Doctrine of the ‘Labour Shortage’

    A common argument that Canada faces a severe ‘labour shortage’ is being invoked to justify regressive policies in many areas: including higher interest rates, record-high (but exploitive) immigration programs, and pushing back the normal retirement age. In this column, originally published in the Toronto Star, Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford shows that Canada has not ‘run out’ of workers. Forcibly creating a cushion of surplus labour (through policies to compel labour supply or restrict labour demand) will make life easier for corporate HR managers. But they will undermine the life changes of millions. Humans are not Widgets, and we aren’t in ‘Short Supply’ By Jim Stanford Busy people…