Inflation, a strong labour market, and record corporate profits have led to higher-than-expected provincial revenues for the 2021–2022 fiscal year, growth which is expected continue for 2022–2023. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has put out a report on this trend with a breakdown for each province. In their 2022 budgets, released this spring, the provinces forecast a combined deficit of $23.5 billion in 2021–22, and $25.1 billion in 2022-23. But the latest fiscal updates show that these deficits have been turned into surpluses. Together, the 10 provinces brought in $2.2 billion more than they spent in 2021–22 and are forecast to bring in $7.1 billion more than they spend in 2022–23. This means provinces have no excuse for failing to pay workers fairly, index provincial benefits to inflation, and properly invest in public education and health care.
A worker-focused approach to inflation
The Canadian Labour Congress teamed up with economist Jim Stanford to put out a thorough report on inflation. The report proposes some key changes to policy makers’ standard approach to inflation and backs up the labour movement’s position that the current approach puts the burden of inflation on workers. Stanford proposes that the Bank of Canada add targeting full employment to its mandate, that the federal government consider increasing taxes on those who have benefited from the pandemic and inflation, and that federal and provincial governments accelerate investments in non-market housing and energy conservation measures. The report is an excellent resource for anyone pushing federal and provincial governments to tackle inflation in a way that benefits workers and our economy in the long term.