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Leaving Canada for Medical Care 2017


  • In 2016, an estimated 63,459 Canadians received non-emergency medical treatment outside Canada.
  • Physicians in British Columbia reported the highest proportion of patients (in a province) receiving treatment abroad (2.4%). The largest number of patients estimated to have left the country for treatment was from Ontario (26,513).
  • Across Canada, otolaryngologists reported the highest proportion of patients (in a specialty) travelling abroad for treatment (2.1%). The largest number of patients (in a specialty) travelled abroad for general surgeries (9,454).
  • One explanation for patients travelling abroad to receive medical treatment may relate to the long waiting times they are forced endure in Canada’s health care system. In 2016, patients could expect to wait 10.6 weeks for medically necessary treatment after seeing a specialist—almost 4 weeks longer than the time physicians consider to be clinically “reasonable” (7.0 weeks).
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Where Our Students are Educated 2017

This study measures the degree to which Canadians choose between the three principal ways of educating their children: public schools, independent schools, and home schooling for the period from 2000-01 to 2014-15.

Enrolment is affected by a declining school age population. The number of Canadians aged 5 to 17 declined 6.6 percent between 2000 and 2015. Every province except Alberta (growth of 11.6 percent) recorded a decline over this period.

Public schooling

Depending on the province, education in public schools can take a variety of forms including Anglophone public, Francophone public, Anglophone separate, Francophone separate, and charter schools. In 2014-15, New Brunswick had the highest level of enrolment in public schools at 98.5 percent of total enrolment. British Columbia had the lowest enrolment level in public schools at 86.8 percent.

Every province except Alberta (increase of 13.4 percent) recorded a decline in the absolute number of students enrolled in public schools. At 24.8 percent, Newfoundland & Labrador recorded the largest decline over the period.

The highest rate of Anglophone public school enrolment in 2014-15 was in Newfoundland & Labrador (97.9 percent). Not surprisingly, Quebec maintained the lowest level of enrolment in Anglophone public schools at 8.5 percent. The lowest enrolment level outside of Quebec was Ontario at 62.6 percent.

Every province except Alberta (increase of 7.7 percent) experienced a decline in absolute enrolment in Anglophone public schools between 2000-01 and 2014-15. Every province except New Brunswick also experienced a decline in the share of enrolment represented by Anglophone public schools over this period.

Quebec maintains the highest level of enrolment in public Francophone schools at 79.1 percent. New Brunswick follows Quebec in terms of enrolment in public Francophone schools at 28.8 percent.

However, both provinces actually recorded declines in enrolment in Francophone public schools between 2000-01 and 2014-15 of 12.8 percent and 24.6 percent, respectively. The eight remaining provinces all experienced increases in the enrolment levels in Francophone public schools.

Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta also offer separate schools (primarily Roman Catholic) within their respective public school systems. More than one in five students in 2014-15 in each of these provinces was educated in a separate school: 24.9 percent in Alberta, 22.8 percent in Saskatchewan, and 29.4 percent in Ontario.

Enrolment in separate schools in Ontario, both in absolute numbers and as a share of total enrolment, is declining. Alternatively, enrolment in separate schools in both Alberta and Saskatchewan is increasing in both absolute numbers and as a share of total enrolment.

The final category of public schooling is charter schools. Alberta is the only province in Canada that allows this option. Although only a modest number of students enroll in charter schools as a share of total enrolment (1.4 percent), absolute enrolment has increased an impressive 257.0 percent over the period, from 2,558 pupils in 2000-01 to 9,131 in 2014-15.

Independent schools

British Columbia has the highest level of enrolment in independent schools (12.9 percent of total enrolment) in Canada, with Quebec following closely at 12.3 percent of students. New Brunswick maintains the lowest level of enrolment in independent schools (0.8 percent). Indeed, all of the Atlantic Provinces record comparatively low levels of independent school enrolment.

Every province except New Brunswick (decline of 12.7 percent) saw the number of students enrolled in independent schools grow between 2000-01 and 2014-15. However, all provinces saw growth in the share of total enrolment for independent schools. Independent schools in Saskatchewan saw the greatest amount of growth in both the number of students (89.8 percent) and the share of total enrolment (increase of 102.3 percent) as they increased from 1.2 percent of total enrolment in 2000-01 to 2.4 percent of total enrolment in 2014-15.

Home schooling

Finally, the paper measures home schooling, wherein parents are the primary providers of education to their children. In 2014-15, Manitoba recorded the highest proportion of students enrolled in home schooling at 1.5 percent. Seven provinces record home schooling enrolment rates of less than 1 percent, but every province except British Columbia has experienced an increase in both absolute enrolment in home schooling and as share of total enrolment.

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Incentives, Identity, and the Growth of Canada's Indigenous Population

Statistics Canada has reported unprecedented growth in Canada’s Indigenous population (Indian, Métis, and Inuit). Over the 25 years from 1986 to 2011, it grew from 373,265 to 1,400,685, an increase of 275%, while the population of Canada increased by only 32% in the same period of time. Although Canada’s Indigenous peoples have higher birth rates than other Canadian groups, most of this increase resulted from “ethnic mobility”—individuals changing the identity labels they apply to themselves.

By far the greatest growth occurred in the categories of Métis and non-status Indian, which is purely a function of how respondents describe themselves in the census. But the numbers of Registered Indians (a distinct legal status) have also grown much faster than can be accounted for by natural increase. This paper deals with identity issues surrounding Registered Indian status and First Nations membership; a subsequent paper will deal with the Métis.

Ethnic mobility resulting in the growth in the numbers of Registered Indians has been fostered by adoption of equality rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982); court decisions such as Lovelace (1981), McIvor (2009), and Gehl (2017); statutes such as Bill C-31 (1985) and Bill C-3 (2011); and the recognition by order-in-council of landless bands such as the Qalipu Mi’kmak First Nation (2011). The Registered Indian population is now at least 40% larger because of these legal changes than it otherwise would have been.

An important factor in the growth of the status Indian population is the set of positive economic incentives conferred by Registration, including free supplementary health insurance for all Registered Indians and Inuit, and in some circumstances financial assistance for higher education, exemption from taxation on reserve, and special wildlife harvesting rights. Such benefits can be substantial and are particularly attractive now that the former legal disabilities connected to Indian status, such as not being able to vote, have been repealed. The medical insurance plan alone is worth about $1,200 per person per year. Though social disadvantages of Indian status may still exist, the legal and economic benefits are now substantial enough to create incentives to seek Registered status.

First Nations were established as distinct political communities; but political, judicial, and administrative trends are combining to confer Registered status upon many people who have some degree of Indian ancestry but are not really part of First Nation communities. Ethnic mobility resulting in growth of the Registered Indian population means upward pressure on federal and provincial budgets, because population counts affect Indigenous programming. But expense is not the only concern; these changes also raise a fundamental question: is it justifiable to offer special government benefits solely on the basis of ancestry?

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Impact of Proposed NDP-Green Tax Changes on BC Families

Main conclusions

  • An NDP-Green government in British Columbia would result in a marked shift in tax policy in the province. The new government would impose several significant tax increases including a rise in personal income taxes, carbon taxes, and business taxes. These increases would add a further $1.4 billion to the tax burden of British Columbians, assuming that the carbon tax increase was fully implemented.
  • Under the proposed NDP-Green tax changes, the average family’s tax bill would increase by $594, including a $482 increase in fuel and carbon taxes.
  • BC families across the income spectrum can expect to pay more in taxes. Specifically, the increase in total taxes ranges from $144 for an average family in the $20,000 to $50,000 income group to over $1,000 for an average family in the $150,000 to $250,000 income group. The NDP-Green proposed Climate Action Rebate will likely protect those in the lower income group from some or all of the tax increase though details of the rebate are unknown as of this writing.
  • Given the spending initiatives outlined in the NDP-Green Agreement and the billions of dollars of un-costed promises in the NDP election platform, an NDP-Green government would almost certainly institute tax increases beyond those listed above and/or run annual budget deficits (i.e., deferred taxation), neither of which are included in this analysis.
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  • In 2017, the average Canadian family will earn $108,674 in income and pay a total of $47,135 in taxes (43.4%).
  • If the average Canadian family had to pay its total tax bill of $47,135 up front, it would have worked until June 8 to pay the total tax bill imposed on them by all three levels of government (federal, provincial, and local).
  • This means that in 2017, the average Canadian family will celebrate Tax Freedom Day on June 9.
  • Tax Freedom Day in 2017 arrives one day later than in 2016, when it fell on June 8, because the average Canadian family’s total tax bill is expected to increase at a faster rate this year (2.4%) than the growth in income (2.2%).
  • Tax Freedom Day for each province varies according to the extent of the provincially levied tax burden. The earliest provincial Tax Freedom Day falls on May 21 in Alberta, while the latest falls on June 25 in Newfoundland & Labrador.
  • The Balanced Budget Tax Freedom Day for Canada arrives on June 18. Put differently, if governments had to increase taxes to balance their budgets instead of financing expenditures with deficits, Tax Freedom Day would arrive 9 days later.
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  • Alberta’s public finances are deteriorating rapidly, with the provincial government set to run a cumulative budget deficit of $27.6 billion over the three-year period from 2015/16 to 2017/18.
  • Until recently, by far the largest deficits of any province since the turn of the century were those run by Ontario in the years during and following the financial crisis of 2008/09. From 2009/10 to 2011/12, Ontario ran a cumulative budget deficit of $3,864 per person (in 2015 dollars).
  • Alberta’s current string of budget deficits are substantially larger than Ontario’s during that period. Between 2015/16 and 2017/18, Alberta’s cumulative budget deficit will be $6,385 per person ($2015 dollars).
  • When we compare the budget deficits relative to the size of the provincial economies, Alberta’s current deficits are still larger than those run by Ontario during the years following the financial crisis.
  • Alberta entered 2015/16 with no net debt at all. However, due to the size of current budget deficits and the resulting rate of debt accumulation, Alberta’s debt levels are rapidly converging with Ontario’s. In 2014/15, Ontario’s net debt per person was $24,256 larger than Alberta’s. In 2018/19, that gap is expected to have shrunk to $14,597 (both in 2015 dollars). In other words, about 40 percent of the per-capita debt gap between Alberta and highly indebted Ontario will have been wiped out in just five years.
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 Private Cost of Public Queues for Medically Necessary Care 2017


  • One measure of the privately borne cost of wait times is the value of time that is lost while waiting for treatment.
  • Valuing only hours lost during the average work week, the estimated cost of waiting for care in Canada for patients who were in the queue in 2016 was more than $1.7 billion. This works out to an average of about $1,759 for each of the estimated 973,505 Canadians waiting for treatment in 2016.
  • This is a conservative estimate that places no intrinsic value on the time individuals spend waiting in a reduced capacity outside of the work week. Valuing all hours of the week, including evenings and weekends but excluding eight hours of sleep per night, would increase the estimated cost of waiting to $5.2 billion, or about $5,360 per person.
  • This estimate only counts costs that are borne by the individual waiting for treatment. The costs of care provided by family members (the time spent caring for the individual waiting for treatment) and their lost productivity due to difficulty or mental anguish are not valued in this estimate. Moreover, non-monetary medical costs, such as increased risk of mortality or adverse events that result directly from long delays for treatment, are not included in this estimate.
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Report Card on British Columbia’s Secondary Schools 2017

The Report Card on British Columbia’s Secondary Schools collects a variety of relevant, objective indicators of school performance into one easily accessible, public document so that all interested parties—parents, school administrators, teachers, students, and taxpayers—can analyze and compare the performance of individual schools. Parents use the Report Card’s indicator values, ratings, and rankings to compare schools when they choose an education provider for their children. Parents and school administrators use the results to identify areas of academic performance in which improvement can be made.

Where parents can choose among several schools for their children, the Report Card provides a valuable tool for making a decision. Because it makes comparisons easy, the Report Card alerts parents to those nearby schools that appear to have more effective academic programs. Parents can also determine whether schools of interest are improving over time. By first studying the Report Card, parents will be better prepared to ask relevant questions when they interview the principal and teachers at the schools under consideration.

Of course, the choice of a school should not be made solely on the basis of any one source of information. Families choosing a school for their students should seek to confirm the Report Card’s findings by visiting the school and interviewing teachers and school administrators. Parents who already have a child enrolled at the school can provide another point of view. Useful information may also be found on the web sites of the ministry of education, local school boards, and individual schools. In addition, a sound academic program should be complemented by effective programs in areas of school activity not measured by the Report Card. Nevertheless, the Report Card provides a detailed picture of each school that is not easily available elsewhere.

Certainly, the act of publicly rating and ranking schools attracts attention; attention can provide motivation. Schools that perform well or show consistent improvement are applauded. Poorly performing schools generate concern, as do those whose performance is deteriorating. This inevitable attention provides an incentive for all those connected with a school to focus on student results.

However, the Report Card offers more than motivation; it also offers opportunity. The Report Card includes a variety of indicators, each of which reports results for an aspect of school performance that might be improved. School administrators who are dedicated to improvement accept the Report Card as another source of opportunities for improvement.

To improve a school, one must believe that improvement is achievable. This Report Card provides evidence about what can be accomplished. It demonstrates clearly that, even when we take into account students’ characteristics, which some believe dictate the degree of academic success that students will have in school, some schools do better than others. This finding confirms the results of research carried out in other countries. Indeed, it will come as no great surprise to experienced parents and educators that the data consistently suggest that what goes on in the schools makes a difference to academic results and that some schools make more of a difference than others.

Comparative and historical data enable parents and school administrators to gauge their school’s effectiveness more accurately. By comparing a school’s latest results with those of earlier years, they can see if the school is improving. By comparing a school’s results with those of neighbouring schools and of schools with similar student characteristics, they can identify more successful schools and learn from them. Reference to overall provincial results places an individual school’s level of achievement in a broader context.

There is great benefit in identifying schools that are particularly effective. By studying the techniques used in schools where students are successful, less effective schools may find ways to improve. Comparisons are at the heart of improvement: making comparisons among schools is made simpler and more meaningful by the Report Card’s indicators, ratings, and rankings.

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Prime Ministers and Government Spending


  • This bulletin measures the level of per-person program spending undertaken annually by each prime minister, adjusting for inflation, since 1870.  1867 to 1869 were excluded due to a lack of inflation data.
  • Per-person spending spiked during World War I (under Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden) but essentially returned to pre-war levels once the war ended. The same is not true of World War II (William Lyon Mackenzie King). Per-person spending stabilized at a permanently higher level after the end of that war.
  • The highest single year of per-person spending ($8,375) between 1870 and 2017 was in the 2009 recession under Prime Minister Harper.
  • Prime Minister Arthur Meighen (1920 – 1921) recorded the largest average annual decline in per-person spending (-23.1%). That decline, however, is largely explained by the rapid drop in expenditures following World War I.
  • Among post-World War II prime ministers, Louis St. Laurent oversaw the largest annual average increase in per-person spending (7.0%), though this spending was partly influenced by the Korean War.
  • Our current prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has the third-highest average annual per-person spending increases (5.2%). This is almost a full percentage point higher than his father, Pierre E. Trudeau, who recorded average annual increases of 4.5%.
  • Prime Minister Joe Clark holds the record for the largest average annual post-World War II decline in per-person spending (4.8%), though his tenure was less than a year.
  • Both Prime Ministers Brian Mulroney and Jean Chretien recorded average annual per-person spending declines of 0.3%.
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Poor Implementation Undermines Carbon Tax Efficiency in Canada


  • Provinces across Canada have implemented some form of carbon pricing, either through carbon taxes or emission-trading schemes.
  • These taxes are touted as being the most “efficient” way to control greenhouse gas emissions, yet be economically benign.
  • But in the real world, Canada’s carbon taxes fall far short of the textbook ideal that would justify claims of efficiency. They fail on three key requirements.
  • First, to be efficient, carbon taxes must displace regulations, not be added to them. Second, the taxes must be fully rebated in reducing distortionary taxes such as income taxes, and third, the revenues from the tax should not be used to further distort energy markets with subsidies to substitute forms of energy.
  • Canada’s experience with carbon taxes shows that governments have little interest in ideal implementation. Instead, rather than simply addressing greenhouse gas emissions efficiently, they prefer to create revenue streams for pet projects and retain the ability to transfer wealth.
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