682 Works

The Canadian unemployment rate – with and without Alberta’s Boom

Ronald D. Kneebone
Over the past two decades there has occurred a shift in economic power from central Canada to other parts of the country. Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador have both claimed a noticeably larger share of Canada’s GDP since 1995 but easily the largest shift of economic output has been to Alberta. This adjustment in the Canadian economy is most easily observed in the large migration between provinces of Canadians seeking employment. Data from Statistics Canada’s...

The Middle Power and the Middle Kingdom: Securing Canada’s Place in the New China-U.S. Economic and Strategic World Order

Wendy Dobson
Although the United States is finally showing signs of some slow economic recovery, in global terms North America is in relative decline as large emerging-market economies, particularly China, show much more promise for growth. But Canada, having relied on a north-south pattern of diplomacy and trade with the United States, is not well positioned to become part of this new economic world order. China is paying attention. It has not escaped notice among the Chinese...

Prioritizing Defence Industry Capabilities: Lessons for Canada from Australia

J. Craig Stone
A number of Canadian acquisition announcements over the past few years have generated significant debate about a variety of issues like whether or not Canada should have a separate procurement agency, whether or not industrial and regional benefits are appropriate and whether or not Canadian companies should be given preference over international companies. In discussions about improving our procurement process Australia is often used as an example because the nations are generally considered to be...

Bending the Medicare Cost Curve in 12 Months or Less: How Preventative Health Care can Yield Significant Near-Term Savings for Acute Care in Alberta

Daniel J. Dutton, J.C. Herbert Emery, Thomas Mullie & Jennifer D. Zwicker
Over the course of more than 30 years, a series of Canadian government commissions and health policy researchers have repeatedly identified the importance of “bending the cost curve” to sustain publicly funded health care, and the potential to do so through upstream investment in health promotion and disease prevention. So far, however, the level of public investment in prevention represents only a slight portion of total public health care expenditure, largely consisting of traditional public...

Report of the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario: Taking Stock Two Years Later

Munir A. Sheikh
In early 2011, the Government of Ontario struck the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance to review the social assistance programs and make recommendations for improving them. The programs were characterized by unsustainable growth in caseloads and program expenditures and poor outcomes for program participants. Imagine the challenges: program costs running far ahead of revenue growth; an incredibly complex system with over 800 rules, 240 benefit rates, 50 children’s benefit rates, and 30 plus...

Who Are the Homeless? Numbers, Trends and Characteristics of Those Without Homes in Calgary

Ronald D. Kneebone, Meaghan Bell, Nicole Jackson & Ali Jadidzadeh
In 2008, Calgary was the first city in Canada to institute a 10-year plan to end homelessness. The plan was introduced in part due to the steady and rapid growth in homelessness in the city since 1992. Since 2008 growth in the number of homeless people has stopped despite a rapidly growing city. The number of people enumerated as homeless by point-in-time counts has fallen from 304 persons per 100,000 population to 256 persons per...

All the Workers We Need: Debunking Canada’s Labour-Shortage Fallacy

Kevin McQuillan
When the Royal Bank of Canada was recently caught up in a maelstrom of bad publicity over its use of temporary foreign workers, it led politicians and pundits to scrutinize and question the growing use by Canadian firms of imported, short-term labour. The Royal Bank was accused of misusing a system designed to help employers who could not find Canadian workers by using it, instead, to find cheaper foreign labourers to replace higher-cost Canadians. But...

Repairing Canada’s Mining-Tax System to Be Less Distorting and Complex

Duanjie Chen & Jack M. Mintz
The province of Ontario ended its most recent fiscal year with a $12 billion deficit and the Fraser Institute has calculated that the province is in worse financial shape than even the fiscally appalling state of California. One would think that a province so financially debilitated would want to avoid giving unnecessary and wasteful tax breaks to resource companies. Yet, a review of the mining-tax regimes across the country finds that Ontario’s system — specifically...

Trends, Peaks, and Troughs: National and Regional Employment Cycles in Canada

Ronald D. Kneebone & Margarita Gres
When the 2008 global recession hit Canada and national unemployment rates began to rise, the federal government soon found itself under pressure to do something to help. That something ended up being the Economic Action Plan, a multi-billion-dollar spending initiative spread across the country. But, in at least one part of the country, no help was really needed at all. In New Brunswick, the recession had barely any impact on the state of the job...

Food for Thought: Neuronal Metabolism and Cognitive Aging

Jonathon Lee
Demystifying brain aging

The Disability Tax Credit: Why it Fails and How to Fix It

Wayne Simpson & Harvey Stevens
When the government establishes a social program whose primary purpose is to help provide support to low-income people with disabilities, its success should be measured on how well it achieves that purpose. Unfortunately, there are reasons to seriously question the usefulness of Canada’s disability tax credit since it is helping so very few of the people it is intended to support. In fact, the credit is helping only a small number of Canadians with disability...

Municipal Revenue Generation and Development in the Calgary and Edmonton Metropolitan Regions

Brian W. Conger, Bev Dahlby & Melville McMillan
Municipal reliance on property taxes and the competing priorities of municipalities—in terms of where they plan and approve land development within their boundaries—in order to capture new property taxes, has led to political conflict between adjacent municipalities.1 Nowhere in Alberta is this more evident than in the Edmonton and Calgary metropolitan regions, where sustained high-levels of growth has led to the expansion of the core-cities, rapid residential development rates in peripheral urban centres and the...

80,000 Inactive Oil Wells: A Blessing or a Curse?

Lucija Muehlenbachs
For a century, oil and gas wells have been Alberta’s economic pride. That there could be a hidden cost in maintaining these wells past their productive life is difficult to imagine, much less accept. The financial burden of abandoning a well officially is no doubt why Alberta producers delay doing so as long as possible. Turning a blind eye, they routinely keep non-producing wells in a state of “inactive” suspension and refuse to rule out...

Where in the World are Canadian Oil and Gas Companies? An Introduction to the Project

Niloo Hojjati, Kai Horsfield & Shantel Jordison
In April 2013, The School of Public Policy formally launched the Extractive Resource Governance Program, a platform to harness Canadian and international research and technical expertise to assist resource-rich jurisdictions in establishing sustainable and mutually beneficial policies for governance of the extractive sector. The program delivers applied policy research, technical assistance and executive training programs to countries with emerging or established extractive resources, working in collaboration with governments, regulatory bodies, academia, civil society, and industry....

The Incidence of the Corporate Income Tax on Wages: Evidence from Canadian Provinces

Kenneth J. McKenzie & Ergete Ferede
Corporate income tax (CIT) incidence is an important and contentious issue in tax policy discussions. Much of the focus in the recent literature and in policy discussions concerns the allocation of the burden of the CIT between owners of capital and labour. Since income from capital tends to be concentrated with wealthier individuals, if the burden of the CIT falls largely on capital it increases the tax system’s progressivity. On the other hand, if the...

America First: The Global Trump at Six Months

Colin Robertson
For Donald Trump ‘America First’ means ‘America First.’ Canada and likeminded nations will have to get used to it. Canada will have to actively engage with Congress, the states and the private and public interests that drive the American agenda. We will also have to put more effort and contribute more to the rules-based order of which we have been a beneficiary. Traditional statecraft is based on predictability and stability, both hallmarks of U.S. post-war...

Tax-Assisted Approaches for Helping Canadians Meet Out-of-Pocket Health-Care Costs

J.C. Herbert Emery
Canadians are not saving for the inevitable costs of drugs and long-term care which they will have to pay for out of pocket in their old age, and these costs could potentially be financially devastating for them. Later in life, when out-of-pocket health-care costs mount, those who previously enjoyed the security of a workplace insurance plan to cover such expenses will face a grim financial reality. Many aspects of care for older Canadians aren’t covered...

Infrastructure, Attitude and Weather: Today’s Threats to Supply Chain Security

Stephen Blank
The global economy can be viewed today as a myriad of border-crossing supply chain networks of production, supply, distribution and marketing systems. Given the enormous value embodied in these systems, and an environment increasingly characterized by uncertainty and vulnerability, it is not surprising that concern about supply chain security has intensified. Concern takes many forms. For example, how supply chains might be used as vehicles for criminal activity (smuggling, trafficking of narcotics and importing counterfeit...

Who is Getting a Carbon-Tax Rebate?

Jennifer Winter & Sarah Dobson
With its 2016 budget, the Government of Alberta laid out the basic details of the carbon tax rebate. The rebate is constructed to increase based on household size, and will decrease with income after a pre-set cutoff. The government has stated six in 10 households will be eligible for a full rebate, with an additional six per cent receiving a partial rebate. This paper examines the income distribution of Albertans, to determine how the rebate...

Do Insiders Comply with Disclosure Rules? Evidence from Canada, 1996-2011

Lindsay M. Tedds
The disclosure of information on the granting of stock options as part of senior managers’ compensation packages can be a cumbersome and patchy process in terms of both regulatory compliance and public accessibility. Closing the gaps to make the reporting and accessing of data less unwieldy and more timely, efficient and accurate, should be a priority for securities regulators Firms are required to disclose the issuing of stock options to their highestlevel executives in their...

Alberta’s New Royalty Regime is a Step Towards Competitiveness: A 2016 Update

Daria Crisan & Jack M. Mintz
Alberta’s new royalty regime has made the province a more rewarding place for anyone looking to invest in conventional non-renewable resources. After Alberta’s NDP government commissioned a review of the royalty regime to ensure the province was receiving its “fair share,” it ended up determining that revenue-neutral changes were warranted to the royalty system for conventional oil, with oilsands largely left untouched. However, the few changes that were made have had a substantial impact on...

2015 Tax-Competitiveness Report: Canada is Losing its Attractiveness

Philip Bazel & Jack M. Mintz
It can be easy for Canadians who appreciate the qualities of their country to overestimate the power that it also has to lure investment in a world where so many other destinations are competing for capital. Canadians can take pride in our political stability and our highly educated workforce, and we do have good communication and transportation infrastructure, but a great number of other countries offer those things, too, at roughly the same level. Meanwhile,...

The Impact of Converting Federal Non-Refundable Tax Credits Into Refundable Credits

Wayne Simpson & Harvey Stevens
With economic inequality on the rise in Canada, the federal government needs to consider innovative solutions. One possibility for improving the tax-transfer system involves refundable tax credits (RTCs). Making all tax credits refundable wouldn’t require Ottawa to introduce new tax measures; the Canadian tax system already contains a mix of RTCs and NRTCs, so the government could simply continue its practice of designing tax credit programs to be refundable. Using Statistics Canada’s Social Policy Simulation...

Taxing Feedlots in Alberta: Lethbridge County's Tax on Confined Feeding Operations

Bev Dahlby, Melville McMillan & Mukesh Khanal
Lethbridge County introduced a new business tax on confined feeding operations (CFO), notably feedlots, in 2016. It was expected to bring in $2.5 million for county road maintenance in 2017. However, the tax could have a detrimental impact on feedlot owners and is not the fairest way to amass revenue for road repairs. Four criteria can be used to evaluate a particular form of taxation. They are fairness, efficient resource allocation, compliance and administration costs,...

Social Policy Trends – The Trade-Off Between Employment and Social Assistance Caseloads, Alberta, 2005-2017

THE TRADE-OFF BETWEEN EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL ASSISTANCE CASELOADS, ALBERTA, 2005-2017 As employment falls, social assistance caseloads typically rise. Caseloads have recently increased considerably more than in the past, which may suggest a new trend Social assistance is part of a social safety net that “catches” individuals who have lost their jobs. In this issue of Social Policy Trends we plot monthly data on the number of employed persons per 100 adults aged 15-64 years, versus...

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