Highlighting recent economic studies and developments

Baby Daycare LunchIMF: Tax the rich, increase public spending

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has regularly forced deep spending and program cuts on countries, now says taxing the rich and increasing public spending on improving health and education for lower income people would reduce inequality and improve economic growth.

The tax systems of “advanced” countries such as Canada have become less progressive, over the last 30 years. This has led to growing inequality, along with slower economic growth. Canada’s tax and transfer system does less to redistribute income than most other advanced countries.

The IMF’s more progressive change of perspective is welcome. But their words need to be backed with action that supports countries introducing progressive policies, instead of austerity and other regressive measures.

Gender equality: progress too slow

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) says progress on gender equality is far too slow. More women are working or looking for work. But they are far more likely to work in lower paid part-time jobs, face discrimination, experience harassment, not advance to management positions, and earn less than men.

Canada has a relatively high share of women in the workforce. But our gender wage gap is worse than the OECD average. The OECD report says pay equity legislation, access to child care, parental leave for fathers, employment equity, reducing violence and harassment against women, and gender-based budgeting all contribute to improving gender equality.

Better ECE is better for the economy

Every dollar spent on expanding early childhood education (ECE) will yield close to six dollars in economic benefits. That’s the finding of a recent Conference Board of Canada study. Short-term benefits of ECE include increased workforce participation. Long-term benefits include improving outcomes for children. By enabling more women to enter the workforce, an expanded ECE program could also lift 23,000 Canadian families out of poverty. Add your voice to CUPE’s Child care for all campaign at cupe.ca/child-care.