Most Current Research on Social Change in Canada
The Philippine Reporter believes that research matters. Hence, it is publishing information on some of the latest research gems significant to everyone.
These studies are lifted from the SPAR (Social Policy Analysis and Research) Monitor, an inventory of recent social research information relevant to social policy. — Editors
This bulletin is a quick inventory of recent social research information. Its purpose is to promptly disseminate the most current external and internal research relevant to social policy. It is published by City of Toronto’s Social Development, Finance and Aministration Division.
The Canada-USA Price Gap:
Report of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance, February 2013.
Canadian consumers are feeling ripped off. When the Canadian dollar is at parity with the U.S. dollar, Canadian consumers notice that prices here are typically higher than in the United States. When Canadians window-shop, on a visit to the United States or online, they notice price gaps, especially on brand-name goods, from Aspirin to running shoes. Naturally, Canadians wonder why these price gaps exist when the dollar is at parity, and wonder: “Are we being gouged?”
Some of the recommendations:
• Conduct a comprehensive review of Canadian tariffs, keeping in mind the impact on domestic manufacturing, with the objective of reducing the price discrepancies for certain products between Canada and the United States
• Continue to integrate the safety standards between Canada and the United States with the intent to reduce the price discrepancies without compromising the safety needs of the two countries
• Analyse the costs and benefits of increasing the de minimis threshold for low-value shipments in Canada in order to narrow the price discrepancies for certain goods between Canada and the United States
• Study the costs and benefits of reducing the 10% mark-up that Canadian exclusive distributors can add to the U.S. list price of American books imported into Canada, adjusted for the exchange rate
For link to the report:
Managing Healthcare for an Aging Population – Ontario: Does the Demographic Glacier Portend a Fiscal Ice-Age in Ontario?
By Colin Busby and William B.P. Robson, C.D. Howe Institute, January 30, 2013.
The fiscal impact of demographic change – in particular, whether providing publicly funded healthcare to an aging population will financially stress Canadian governments – has prompted years of debate. One camp, developing a theme that the pressures are a glacier rather than an avalanche, has emphasized that aging itself adds no more than 1 percentage point to annual increases in health costs, and argued that it creates no urgency around reforms to treatment or financing
• Publicly funded healthcare in Ontario has risen from 6.3 percent of provincial GDP in 1991 to about 7.8 percent in 2012
• It has risen from 38 percent of the provincial government’s program spending in 1991 to about 44 percent in 2012
• Share of provincial own-source revenue – that is, revenues that Ontario controls rather than funds transferred from Ottawa – has risen from 52 percent to about 56 percent.
For link to the report:
Fairness by Design: A Framework for Tax Reform in Canada,
by Marc Lee and Iglika Ivanova, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, February 2013.
According to the study, ad-hoc tax changes over the last two decades have seriously weakened the redistributive role of Canada’s tax system at a time when market inequalities call for more, not less, redistribution. At a time of rising income inequality and unprecedented concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, restoring fairness should be the primary objective of the Canadian tax system. Instead, the past twenty years of tax cuts have disproportionately lined the pockets of Canada’s wealthy
The study presents a framework for a progressive tax reform strategy that includes:
• Broadening the income tax base to ensure that all forms of income are subject to the same progressive tax rates
• Raising marginal income tax rates on top incomes
• Eliminating tax credits and deductions that disproportionately benefit the richest Canadians
• Introducing a single, streamlined, income-tested transfer for low- and modest-income families, and
• Implementing inheritance and/or wealth taxes to prevent the concentration of wealth across generations and to improve social mobility.
Where Will You Retire? Seniors’ Migration within Canada and Implications for Policy,
by Bruce Newbold and Tyler Meredith, Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP), November 2012.
The migration of seniors within Canada is primarily a local, not a national phenomenon — in general; all communities need to be proactive in considering the implications of an aging population. Recent survey results indicate that as they prepare to retire, many baby boomers are considering relocating to another community or province. This could have important consequences for how communities, businesses and governments address population aging over the next several decades.
• Seniors’ migration might entail important shifts in the population and tax base across jurisdictions
• The migration of seniors may affect the age and income profiles of receiving and sending jurisdictions and increase social and economic disparities across the federation
• Recent patterns among Canadian retirees find only 5.2 percent of all seniors aged 60 and over moved across communities between 2001 and 2006
• Migration between provinces was significantly lower, at 1.2 percent
• Seniors’ migration is not a major phenomenon in Canada, particularly when compared with the migration of younger, working-aged individuals
For link to the study:
“I Am Canadian” Challenging Stereotypes about Young Somali Canadians,
by Rima Berns-McGown, Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP), January 2013.
This study challenges the perceptions that the Somali Canadian community has failed to an unusual degree to integrate into the wider society; that this is the fault of the community itself; and, moreover, that this supposed failure represents a threat to Canadian security because of suggestions that some Somali Canadian youth have been lured to the radical extremism of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab movement in southern Somalia, and because some have become involved in drug trafficking and street violence.
• Many young Somali Canadians encounter significant roadblocks that are not conducive to integration or social cohesion
• These include systematic, institutional racism on the part of schools, police and intelligence agencies, and the media
• Social cohesion would be much better served by addressing the specific challenges Somali Canadians continue to face, rather than stigmatizing the community and contributing to the criminalization of its youth
For link to the study: