High dollar hurts non-energy exports

A recent Bank of Canada discussion paper found that exports in half the categories surveyed would benefit from the decline in the value of the Canadian dollar. The paper also listed many of the sectors the Bank of Canada views as being key to Canada's economic recovery.

Post office closures harm rural economy

A recent survey by the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association (CPAA) found that post office closures in rural communities are bad for business.

When post offices close, rural business people and residents are having to travel an average of 13.1 km to get their mail. For businesses relying on mail service, or for those who are uncomfortable driving or who don't own a car, that distance is a significant barrier.

Trade deal with South Korea fails to consider whole economy

One of the arguments for a modern industrial strategy is that it would make it easier to ensure the long-term needs of the whole economy come before short-term considerations. The trade deal that the federal government just signed with South Korea is a good example of why we need a modern industrial strategy.

Grain transportation crisis shows hands-off approach doesn't work

In the first full year since the Canadian Wheat Board lost its monopoly on selling Canadian grain, a grain transportation crisis has developed.

The Toronto Star reported that 50 ships are waiting to load grain in Vancouver, while grain silos on the Prairies are full. Japan is buying wheat from the United States instead of Canada.

Replacement of Canadian workers with temporary foreign workers shows program still not fixed

The news earlier this month that 65 Canadian workers on an Oilsands project had been fired and replaced by temporary foreign workers shows that problems with the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) have still not been fixed.

Companies are only supposed to use the TFWP when there are no qualified Canadian workers. Firing Canadian workers and replacing them with temporary foreign workers is a clear violation of the rules.

Proposed changes to Canada Job Grant not enough

Even with the changes recently proposed by provincial governments, the introduction of the Canada Job Grant will still be a step backwards.

Under the original proposal for the Canada Job Grant, funding would be obtained by cutting $300 million from federal funding for provincial and territorial training programs. A 2013 evaluation found these programs have resulted in over 80 percent of trainees finding work.

Consensus on falling dollar raises question about why it took so long to fall

Economist Jim Stanford questions why it took so long for the over valuing of the Canadian dollar to end, given the consensus that the drop in its value is a good thing.

Norway's success shows the wealth Alberta could have

This month, Norway's oil revenue fund reached the point where every Norwegian is now a millionaire in Norwegian kroner. As an article in the Tyee shows, this is very different from what has happened with Alberta's oil revenue.

Federal inaction on green economy has consequences

A recent article from Blue Green Canada warned that the failure of the federal government to encourage a transition to a green economy will have consequences. One estimate suggested that low carbon goods and services could mean 400,000 jobs. It has also been suggested that when the increasing impact of climate change forces governments to take drastic action there will be much less demand for Canadian oil.

Creating middle class jobs requires improving existing ones

A recent blog post from the Broadbent Institute argues that part of creating middle class jobs must be improving the quality of precarious low income jobs.

A comparison of occupations and wages revealed that less than half of the core work force – those between 25 and 54 – is employed in occupations that could be considered middle class.

Over half of the core work force are in jobs with lower average incomes.