Monthly Archives: October 2014

New Details Emerge in Ontario’s Epic Fight with Harper Conservatives Over Pensions

In a speech Wednesday to the Second National Summit on Pension Reform, the Ontario Minister responsible for the propsoed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, Mitzie Hunter, described launching the mandatory workplace retirement plan by 2017 as “an ambitions, sometimes daunting challenge

In a speech Wednesday to the Second National Summit on Pension Reform, the Ontario Minister responsible for the propsoed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, Mitzie Hunter, described launching the mandatory workplace retirement plan by 2017 as “an ambitions, sometimes daunting challenge

More details have emerged regarding Ontario’s new mandatory pension plan,  the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.

In an evening  speech Wednesday to the Second National Summit on Pension Reform, the Ontario Minister responsible for the plan, Mitzie Hunter, described launching the mandatory workplace retirement plan by 2017 as “an ambitions, sometimes daunting challenge,”

The speech shed new light on a fundamental philosophical difference on pensions with the Harper Conservative government and business on one side and the Ontario Liberal government, the NDP, labour and senior’s groups on the other side.

The Federal Conservatives’ view is that Canadians don’t need help to save. In their view, the existing Canada Pension Plan offers a good start and what we need is a bit more individual discipline to take advantage of available tax breaks. If you don’t have a company pension, the Conservatives believe it’s up to you to set something aside in your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). Continue reading

Time to End The Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The temporary foreign worker program is a train wreck and should be scrapped. As long as this program exists, whether it’s tweaked at the margins or not, employers are going to find ways of using temporary foreign workers as pawns to drive down wages and conditions.”

The temporary foreign worker program is a train wreck and should be scrapped. As long as this program exists, whether it’s tweaked at the margins or not, employers are going to find ways of using temporary foreign workers as pawns to drive down wages and conditions.”

Canadians would like to think that we could never be like certain oil-rich Persian Gulf nations who allow employers to import temporary foreign workers, but not their families, pay dirt-poor wages and hold them hostage as indentured labour tethered to their master.

But our Temporary Foreign Worker Program allows precisely that. It allows employers to import cheap foreign labour, without families, mostly for low-end jobs for short periods. The temps are tied to their employer who may mistreat them. That Canadian employers do not exploit foreign workers quite the way certain Middle Eastern countries do is not saying much.

The program, besides undermining Canadian values, has depressed wages in certain regions, adding to the already unacceptable level of inequity between rich and poor. Continue reading

Lack of Economic Opportunity For Young People Not A Question Of Young Vs. Old – It’s A Question Of The 1% Vs. the Rest Of Us

A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), shows that Canada is the worst in the developed world in terms of income inequality.

A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), shows that Canada is the worst in the developed world in terms of income inequality.

A study released by the Conference Board of Canada last week painted a picture of a growing income gap between old and young — a gap the report says that could “trigger a backlash” among young people unwilling to pay taxes when the benefits that those taxes are paying for (CPP, medicare, etc.) largely go to their elders.

The Conference Board report raises an incredibly important issue: the lack of opportunity for young people in today’s economy.

The problem with the report is the particular spin on this tale that it shares with most mainstream media accounts of the lack of economic opportunity for young people — it pits the old against young, while studiously avoiding the real cause of the problem: government policies that have led to a widening gap between the rich and the rest of us of all ages. Continue reading