Jobs: Scotiabank posts record profits, lays off 1,500 workers

Just two months after reporting record profits of $2.35 billion for its latest quarter, Scotiabank announced it will lay off 1,500 workers, mostly in branches across Canada. Scotiabank, whose TV ads feature the tagline “you’re richer than you think” paid its CEO $11.2 million in 2013, more than 400 times what they pay bank tellers. The bank also recently settled a class action suit representing 5,000 employees who hadn’t been paid overtime.

P3s: Quebec could save up to $4 billion by buying back hospitals

Analysis by a Montreal think-tank has calculated that the Quebec government could save up to $4 billion by buying back two hospitals and health centres it initiated as public-private partnerships (P3s). The McGill University Health Centre received the Gold award for “innovative financing” from the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships in 2010. Just two years later we found out how innovative this financing was when Quebec’s anti-corruption police charged the hospital’s CEO, Arthur Porter, and the former CEO of SNC-Lavalin, Pierre Duhaime, with fraud, corruption and money laundering. L’Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-économiques is urging the Quebec government to follow the lead of France, which saved hundreds of millions by terminating a P3 contract to manage one of its hospitals.

Tax havens: The 1% are even richer than we thought

Recent research shows the super-rich are even richer than we thought, because the true extent of wealth hidden in tax havens hasn’t been accurately captured in data collection. Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics calculates a minimum $7.6 trillion, or eight per cent of the world’s personal financial wealth, is hidden in offshore tax havens. Shares held offshore by the wealthy of Russia and developing countries are even higher. The tax revenue losses to governments around the world amount to over $190 billion. Zucman estimates Canada’s super-rich have at least $300 billion hidden offshore, costing our governments $6 billion annually in lower tax revenues.

Young workers: Bank of Canada Governor tells young people to work for free

The recently appointed Governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz, told reporters and MPs he thought unemployed young people should work for free to gain experience and avoid the longer-term “wage scarring” that comes from being unemployed. Poloz, who is paid over $435,000 a year, was widely criticized, including by some of the estimated 100,000 young Canadians who work for free as unpaid “interns,” and by labour lawyers who pointed out that unpaid internships are illegal in most provinces unless they clearly involve defined formal training.