Business, Economics, Job Market

Ontario’s job losses and the raise in minimum wage

Yes, Ontario did lose 51,000 jobs in January 2018.  The minimum wage in Ontario also rose to $14/hr in January 2018.

I keep hearing in the news that these job losses can be attributed to the rise in the minimum wage.

It does look that way if you just look at the 51,000 figure. The 51,000 job lost were all part-time jobs.

But once you dig into the numbers, it becomes very difficult to conclusively say that the job losses were caused by the rise in minimum wage.

First of all, you cannot make a good analysis based on just one month of data.

Let’s look into January 2018 numbers anyway.

On a percentage basis, part-time jobs lost were:

Ontario                       -4.3%
Quebec                        -3.9%
Saskatchewan          -4.8%
New Brunswick        -4.1%

As you can see, Ontario’s part-time job losses on a percentage basis were not that bad when compared to Quebec, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.  Saskatchewan actually lost more part-time jobs on a percentage basis than Ontario.

The percentage is calculated by dividing the number of job losses by the total number of part-time workers.

If you look at the different sectors of the economy where the job losses occurred, you  will notice an interesting fact.

You would have expected job losses in the Accommodation and Food Services sector where 60% of the workers earned $14 or less. However, there were 2,200 more jobs created in this sector in Ontario.

Also it is important to note that 44,000 jobs were lost in industries that have small numbers of low-wage workers.

The 44,000 drop in service sector employment included:

professional, scientific and technical services (-13,300)
public administration (-5,600)
educational services (-8,100)
health care and social assistance (-9,700).

Sources:

Bloomberg. Blame Ontario minimum wage hike for job plunge. Or not.

Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives. Ontario January job numbers: Keep calm and carry on.

Statistics Canada. Labor force characteristics by province.

Standard
Economics, Politics, TPP

Mr Trudeau, please don’t ratify the TPP!

On February 4, 2016, Canada signed the TPP. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade agreement among twelve countries. The twelve countries are Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, Peru, Chile, Mexico.

Signing the TPP is not legally binding. It still has to be passed into law by our Parliament, and the government has promised to hold more public consultations and a full Parliamentary debate on the TPP before deciding if we ratify it and lock ourselves in.

We must tell our government to not ratify the deal.

The deal was negotiated in secrecy. The only way the public found out about the deal was through Wikileaks.

There was a study done by Tufts University which shows that Canada will lose 58,000 jobs.1 The same study shows that there will be an additional $5 billion worth of economic activity over a ten year period. If you subtract the proposed $2.87 billion subsidy to the dairy industry, that is a net gain of $ 2.13 billion. This translates to an average gain of $213 million for the Canadian economy on an annual basis.

There is an estimated $7 billion to be recovered from tax havens. If the Canadian government just recovers 3% of taxes that are not being paid because of tax havens, that amount could be used to create green jobs and be equivalent to the $213 million gain from the TPP.

Money can be recovered from tax havens. According to figures from the Canada Revenue Agency acquired by Senator Percy E. Downe through access to information laws, a 2005 investment of $30 million in the CRA yielded a fiscal impact of $2.5 billion up to 2009.2

Investing in green jobs is a great idea. According to United Nations study of the renewable energy sector in Germany, twice as many jobs are created in solar and wind than in the oil and natural gas sector with same amount of investment.3 In 2014, direct employment in the clean energy sector in Canada – which encompasses hydro power, as well as wind, solar and biomass – was 23,700 people. That compares with 22,340 directly employed in the oilsands.4

The TPP will hurt access for millions of people to affordable medicines. The TPP will give pharmaceutical companies longer monopolies over brand name drugs. Companies will be able to charge higher prices for longer periods of time. It will make it much harder for generic companies to produce cheaper drugs that are vital to people’s health. Doctors Without Borders depend on affordable generic medicines to treat life threatening diseases. Doctors Without Borders opposes the TPP in its current form.

The TPP will constrain government’s abilities to regulate their financial institutions and allow financial firms to challenge financial stability measures. Governments will not be able to impose regulations on risky financial products such as derivatives or hedge funds or ban risky new financial products and services if other TPP countries permit them.5 Remember the 2008 financial crisis. It could happen again if banks and financial firms continue to derive profits from risky financial products.

There is a misconception that Canada escaped the ravages of the 2008 financial crisis because we have a good financial regulatory system. I admit I was under this erroneous impression until I read a report issued by the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives. According to the report, Canadian banks received the following financial support during the financial crisis:6

  • CIBC received $21 billion (150% of value of company)
  • BMO received $17 billion (118% of value of company)
  • Scotiabank received $25 billion (100% of value of company)
  • TD received $26 billion (69% of value of company)

If Canada ratifies the TPP, it will add greater risk to a financial system which is already on shaky grounds.

I have only discussed some of the serious concerns with the TPP. There are many more aspects of this deal that are very bad for Canada. To find out more about these other problems, read the factsheet published by the Council of Canadians.

Sign Doctors Without Borders petition or sign leadnow.ca petition to reject the TPP. Share these links with your friends. Let your MP know that you are opposed to the TPP being ratified.

Footnotes:

  1. TPP’s economic impact will be fewer jobs, greater inequality, new study says. Huffington Post Canada.
  2. Senator wants new Canada Revenue Agency head to rein in overseas tax cheats. Postmedia News.
  3. Global Green Growth Volume 1. United Nations Industrial Development Organization. p. 154
  4. Clean energy provides more jobs than oilsands, report says. CBC News.
  5. Why Canada must reject the TPP. Green Party of Canada.
  6. The big banks’ big secret. Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives.
Standard