Highlighting recent economic studies and developments 

Tax fairness
Canadian corporations stash more tax haven cash 

Yacht in wide open water approaching a dollar sign shaped island

Canadian corporations stashed $270 billion in their 10 favourite tax havens in 2015, up $40 billion in one year. This includes $80 billion in Barbados, $50 billion in Luxembourg and $49 billion in the Cayman Islands. While the Panama Papers leak put a spotlight on abuse of tax havens, Panama doesn’t even make the list of Canadian corporations’ 10 most-favoured tax havens. The amount stashed in tax havens was equivalent to 27 per cent of all Canadian corporate direct investment overseas, and also equivalent to the federal government’s total program spending in 2015. We could add at least $2.7 billion to federal revenues if the assets held by Canadian corpo–rations in tax havens were taxed at a rate of just one per cent. 

LGBTTI rights
Trans rights gain big-name support

Transgender people’s right to use public bathrooms consistent with their gender identity is under attack in some US states, but gained a lot of big-name support after North Carolina passed a law forcing people to use public washrooms that conform to the sex on their birth certificate. The move sparked economic boycotts by PayPal, Deutsche Bank, Cirque du Soleil, Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam, as well as by tourists. The federal justice department says the law violates the Civil Rights Act, and the state may be denied federal funds if it is not repealed. In May, the Canadian government finally introduced legislation to protect transgender people, outlawing discrimination based on gender identity or expression. Bill C-16 is an important step for LGBTTI rights after years of hard work by trans rights activists, former NDP MP Bill Siksay and current NDP MP Randall Garrison. 

Workforce trends
Fewer women working or looking for jobs 

Women continued to leave Canada’s labour force last year. The last two years have seen the largest two-year drop on record. This was especially surprising in a year in which the number of unemployed women declined and the male participation rate rose to 70.6 per cent, well above the 61.2 per cent rate for women. Until recently, the percentage of women working in Canada, or looking for work, had risen fairly consistently for decades. This contributed to greater equality and economic independence for women, as well as economic growth. An aging workforce plays some role in this recent decline, but with fewer women 25 to 44 working or looking for work and no increase in the fertility rate for that age group, a lack of affordable child care may be a factor.