labour

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Canadians routinely hear about alleged growing divides in Canadian society. But here is one rift that often goes unmentioned: the divide between the pension benefits of public sector employees and everyone else.

Such inequality incurs real costs, where ordinary taxpayers pay ever more for above-market, guaranteed pension benefits that ever fewer in the private sector possess.


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With Labour Day fresh in our memory and Ontario’s unemployment rate having recently increased to 7.6 per cent, the province would do well to follow Indiana and Michigan’s lead and adopt worker choice laws. Doing so would make Ontario a significantly more competitive jurisdiction for business investment and provide a much needed shot in the arm for the province’s struggling manufacturing sector.

In 2012, both Indiana and Michigan enacted worker choice laws and there is a reasonable likelihood that Ohio may soon do the same.


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As labour and capital have become more and more mobile, jurisdictional competitiveness is becoming more important in securing and maintaining economic prosperity. A minimum requirement is to have taxes, regulations, and other important policies competitive with competing jurisdictions. To gain an advantage, jurisdictions need policies that differentiate themselves from competing jurisdictions.

As BC’s recently minted Clark government works through its economic priorities, it would be well advised to consider worker choice laws.


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Prior to 2012, the momentum and even interest in so-called Right-to-Work (RTW) laws, or what are more accurately referred to as Worker Choice laws was non-existent. Very little reform had happened for over a decade despite the positive economic effects of such laws. Things changed in 2012 when Indiana and more shockingly the bedrock of unionism in the U.S., Michigan, decided to implement RTW laws. These tectonic shifts in labour laws south of the border have reinvigorated interest in labour law reform in Canada.

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Terrace city council recently shelved a proposal to implement a living wage policy. Terrace taxpayers should hope it stays shelved.


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With governments collectively racking up almost $46 billion in deficits last year and continuing to struggle with health care costs as the population ages, both governments and citizens are concerned that tax dollars are spent wisely.


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More than three years after the end of the recession and British Columbia’s provincial government continues to struggle with deficits, which as of the last quarterly update will likely exceed $1.5 billion. Relying on revenues to rebound enough to catch up with spending just doesn’t work as BC’s own history aptly demonstrates. Similarly, municipalities across the province continue to struggle to find sufficient resources for infrastructure needs while balancing their books.


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More than three years after the end of the recession and Ontario’s provincial government continues to struggle with deficits, which as of the last quarterly update, will likely reach a staggering $14.8 billion. Relying on revenues to rebound enough to catch up with spending just doesn’t work as Ontario’s own history aptly demonstrates. Similarly, municipalities across the province continue to struggle to find sufficient resources for infrastructure needs while balancing their books.


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More than three years after the end of the recession and Alberta’s provincial government continues to struggle with deficits, which as of the last quarterly update could reach $3 billion. Relying on revenues to rebound enough to catch up with spending just doesn’t work as Alberta’s own history aptly demonstrates. Similarly, municipalities across the province continue to struggle to find sufficient resources for infrastructure needs while balancing their books.


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Around Labour Day, a plethora of news stories focus on the state of unions, and often, their interaction with business. Given the name of the holiday, the attention is understandable.

However, the focus on unions and corporations, especially where governments are involved to set policy and create legislation, often misses two other critical groups: consumers and taxpayers.

It is those two cohorts that are often overlooked and whose interests are damaged when governments assume, on purpose or by accident, that only the interests of organized labour and business matter.