Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Subscribe to Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives feed
Updated: 8 hours 42 min ago

Charting a path to $15/hour for all BC workers

Thu, 2017-11-23 06:18

In our submission to the BC Fair Wages Commission, the CCPA-BC highlighted the urgency for British Columbia to adopt a $15 minimum wage by March 2019. Read the submission.

BC’s current minimum wage is a poverty-level wage. Low-wage workers need a significant boost to their income and they have been waiting a long time. Over 400,000 British Columbians—22 per cent of all paid employees in the province—work for less than $15 per hour and they would significantly benefit from a $15 minimum wage. 

Inadequate minimum wages are clearly a significant part of the poverty story in BC. The poverty rate in BC is currently the highest in Canada and our 2016 report Working Poverty in Metro Vancouver shows that BC leads the country in the rate of working poverty. When people think about poverty, they often think it is primarily a story of low welfare rates. But only about 4 per cent of British Columbians rely on social assistance at any given time. In contrast, about half the poor in BC are either the working poor or the children of the working poor. 

Our recommendation for the path to a $15 minimum wage is to front-load the minimum wage increase and implement it in three steps over 12 months as follows: 

  • $13 in March 2018
  • $14 in Sept 2018
  • $15 in March 2019 

This would represent a similar timeline of minimum wage increases as the BC government implemented in 2011 and will put BC on schedule to match Alberta and Ontario by March 2019.

The submission also offers recommendations for after the $15 minimum wage has been implemented and refutes arguments from those opposed to increasing the minimum wage. 

Categories: News for progressives

CCPA-BC joins community, First Nation, environmental groups in call for public inquiry into fracking

Mon, 2017-11-06 02:14

Today the CCPA's BC Office joined with 16 other community, First Nation and environmental organizations to call for a full public inquiry into fracking in Britsh Columbia.

The call on the new BC government is to broaden a promise first made by the NDP during the lead-up to the spring provincial election, and comes on the heels of new revelations about the fracking process, including:

  • Escalating water usage by fracking companies.
  • Poor or misleading consultations with First Nations.
  • Widespread industry non-compliance with relevant provincial water laws through the construction of dozens of unlicensed dams.
  • Record-setting induced earthquakes at BC fracking operations.

Check out the full details and list of organizations calling for a public inquiry, read an oped by the CCPA-BC's Ben Parfitt, or add your voice to the call.

Categories: News for progressives

Income gap persists for racialized people, recent immigrants, Indigenous people in Canada

Fri, 2017-10-27 23:18

In the Toronto Star, CCPA-Ontario senior economist Sheila Block digs into the latest Census release to reveal the persistent income gap between racialized people, recent immigrants, Indigenous people, and the rest of Canada.

Categories: News for progressives

CCPA in Europe for CETA speaking tour

Tue, 2017-10-17 20:53

On September 21, Canada and the European Union announced that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a controversial NAFTA-plus free trade deal initiated by the Harper government and signed by Prime Minister Trudeau in 2016, was now provisionally in force. In Europe, however, more than 20 countries have yet to officially ratify the deal, and progressive voices are urging their governments to demand radical changes to CETA or reject it outright.

From October 15 to November 1, the CCPA's Stuart Trew (Monitor editor and trade researcher) will be part of a CETA speaking tour in Europe, travelling to Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, Berlin, Ljubljana and Vienna with the message that, far from being a "progressive" agreement, CETA is antithetical to the idea of sustainable development.

October 16 - Paris :
October 18 - Dublin :
October 23 - Berlin :

Categories: News for progressives

Twelve year study of an inner-city neighbourhood

Fri, 2017-10-13 01:39

What does twelve years of community organizing look like for a North End Winnipeg neighbourhood?  Jessica Leigh survey's those years with the Dufferin community from a community development lens.  Read full report.

Categories: News for progressives

Losing your ID - even harder to recover when you have limited resources!

Tue, 2017-10-10 23:35

Ellen Smirl researched the barriers experienced by low-income Manitobans when faced with trying to replace lost, stolen, or never aquired idenfication forms. Read full report here.


Categories: News for progressives

CCPA recommendations for a better North American trade model

Sat, 2017-10-07 00:57

The all-party House of Commons trade committee is consulting Canadians on their priorities for bilateral and trilateral North American trade in light of the current renegotiation of NAFTA. In the CCPA’s submission to this process, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew, and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood argue for a different kind of trading relationship that is inclusive, transformative, and forward-looking—focused on today’s real challenges, including climate change, the changing nature of work, stagnant welfare gains, and unacceptable levels of inequality in all three North American countries. The CCPA submission largely repeats advice given to Global Affairs Canada during the department’s consultation on the NAFTA renegotiations, but is updated to take into account some of the proposals put forward by Canada and the U.S. during the first three rounds of talks.

Categories: News for progressives

Ontario’s fair wage policy needs to be refreshed

Thu, 2017-09-28 23:47

The Ontario government is consulting on ways to modernize the province’s fair wage policy, which sets standards for wages and working conditions for government contract workers such as building cleaners, security guards, building trades and construction workers. The fair wage policy hasn’t been updated since 1995, but the labour market has changed dramatically since then. CCPA-Ontario Senior Economist Sheila Block weighs in with this submission to the Ontario government.

Categories: News for progressives

Help us build a better Ontario

Fri, 2017-09-15 04:04

If you live in Ontario, you may have recently been selected to receive our 2017 grassroots poll on vital issues affecting the province. Your answers to these and other essential questions will help us decide what issues to focus on as we head towards the June 2018 election in Ontario.

For decades, the CCPA has been hard at work in Ontario and across the country to ensure a more just and sustainable society. Each year our work reaches millions of people through thousands of media stories on critical issues. These are issues that affect your life personally, and range from jobs and the economy to health care and housing. We deliver well-documented research that can help set government priorities and improve public policy decisions.

We’re working hard to build a decent, more equitable Ontario—but we can’t do it without you.

Your opinions and your support can help make a difference in the upcoming election. Your response will help the CCPA focus our work, ensuring the issues most important to you will be prominent going into the June 2018 provincial election.

If you haven’t been selected to participate in our grassroots poll, please consider supporting our work by making a donation today. You’ll help us provide ambitious, creative solutions to social, environmental, and economic problems. And you’ll help us present well-reasoned, progressive positions to both politicians and the public. Click here to donate.

Categories: News for progressives

Does the Site C dam make economic sense for BC?

Fri, 2017-09-01 00:52

Today CCPC-BC senior economist Marc Lee submitted an analysis to the BC Utilities Commission in response to their consultation on the economics of the Site C dam. You can read it here.

In short, the submission discussses how the economic case for Site C assumes that industrial demand for electricity—in particular for natural gas extraction and processing—will grow significantly. However, as Marc noted when Petronas decided to stand down on its Pacific Northwest project, liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects are based on some pretty abysmal economics, and most are unlikely to materialize.

BC Hydro has consistently overestimated future electricity demand—and, as my submission shows, they substantially ramped up their projections while decisions about the Site C dam were being made.

Even in the absence of Site C, BC Hydro will have an electricity surplus until at least the early 2030s. This surplus could be extended much further in time if more aggressive conservation measures are taken and if fossil fuel sectors (and their electricity demand) are steadily wound down in a manner consistent with climate action.

As things stand, based on fee schedules published by the government, the Site C dam’s power would be sold at a loss after the project is completed. That means higher debt for BC Hydro—and higher rates for all BC Hydro customers.

This is particularly problematic for BC’s low-income households, which spend a greater share of their income on energy and are the most constrained in terms of changing their behaviour. Our 2011 report on energy poverty found that between 17 and 18% of British Columbians are estimated to live in energy poverty—and since Hydro rate increases have outpaced increases in provincial income, disability assistance rates, welfare rates, and the minimum wage, that share of energy-poor British Columbians has likely increased. 

Rather than move ahead with Site C, BC should undertake a more fulsome process of evaluation of future supply and demand—which must include conservation, alternative supply options and BC Hydro’s role in facilitating greenhouse gas emission reductions. It should also expand the scope of its inquiry to consider Site C’s “significant adverse environmental effects” (as acknowledged by the Government of Canada), as well as the implications for First Nations in northeastern BC.

It’s crucial that Site C is evaluated transparently, accurately, and in consideration of BC’s climate action planning and our need for climate justice.

Categories: News for progressives


Brian Robinson Public Relations
104 Hiawatha Road
Toronto M4L 2X8
(in Cambodia)

Contact 2.0

Skype: bbbrobin
Brian on Facebook
Follow Brian on Twitter