What the Biden administration means for Canada

What the Biden administration means for CanadaAs Canadians watched this week’s presidential inauguration and the immediate aftereffects (which include a scuttled Keystone XL pipeline), many wonder what a Biden administration will mean for Canada. And for good reason. A dramatic change in governance in the United States will likely have significant implications for Canada so Canadian policymakers in both the private…

Nova Scotia government unwieldy, costly: study

With escalating spending and a shrinking private sector due to the pandemic, Nova Scotia’s large government is a growing concern

Nova Scotia government unwieldy, costly: studyBy Alex Whalen and Steve Globerman The Fraser Institute The COVID-19 outbreak and economic downturn have produced a dramatic increase in government spending across the country. The federal and provincial governments have rolled out a variety of programs aimed to support businesses and individuals through these tumultuous times, in addition to extra public health-related expenses.…

Alberta sweeps away energy industry roadblocks

Alberta sweeps away energy industry roadblocksBy Jairo Yunis and Steven Globerman The Fraser Institute The Alberta government recently introduced Bill 22 (the Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act), delivering on a campaign promise to streamline regulations across the provincial government. While details aren’t yet clear, the bill proposes a whopping 14 legislative changes across six ministries. Proposed changes include removing residency…

Alberta needs to reform energy regulations

Alberta needs to reform energy regulationsBy Steven Globerman and Jairo Yunis The Fraser Institute The Alberta government recently announced cuts to scores of jobs at the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), including operations staff, headquarter managers and field workers, as part of a major reorganization. The ostensible goal is to make the AER more efficient, effective and resilient by simplifying the…

Rethink restrictions on private health insurance

Rethink restrictions on private health insuranceIn its sole reliance on government providing first-dollar coverage of medically necessary services, Canada’s health-care system is unique among high-income countries with universal health care. It also offers inferior service as a result. Virtually all high-income countries – including Australia, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands – allow residents to use private insurance to pay for…

How to reform Alberta’s energy regulation

Less red tape and shorter decision timelines would improve Alberta’s investment environment and free up AER’s resources

How to reform Alberta’s energy regulationBy Steven Globerman and Jairo Yunis The Fraser Institute In September, Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage announced a formal government review of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and replaced the AER’s board of directors with an interim panel. AER’s mandate is governing structure and operational practices in the industry. Since the announcement, several independent investigations…

Municipalities need to rethink tax model

Property tax rates are much higher for businesses than home owners, which can cause serious problems, particularly when the economy falters

Municipalities need to rethink tax modelBy Josef Filipowicz and Steven Globerman The Fraser Institute When homeowners receive their annual property tax bill from city hall, they’re likely unaware that the shop down the street pays a higher property tax rate – probably much higher. For example, according to a new Fraser Institute study, in the Calgary area, the average commercial…

Local taxes suck the life out of many businesses

Property tax imbalance erodes political accountability, discourages business investment and ultimately hurts employment

Local taxes suck the life out of many businessesBy Josef Filipowicz and Steven Globerman The Fraser Institute In many cities and towns across Canada, residential properties are increasing in value, while some local businesses are struggling to survive. There are different reasons for this development, including factors well beyond our borders. But in most of those municipalities, business property tax rates are higher…

Economic growth should be a key election topic

Prolonged slow economic growth begets social and political turmoil, as the expectations of many for a better standard of living are frustrated

Economic growth should be a key election topicIn this federal election campaign, the parties have proposed numerous taxpayer-funded programs to address various ostensible social problems. But no major party has made economic growth a significant focus of its election campaign. The social problem areas cited include unaffordable education from preschool to post-secondary, a tax system that’s insufficiently progressive and provides too many…

Artificial intelligence will kill jobs – and create them

Automation increases labour productivity and so raises the income levels of workers, who in turn acquire new skills to use and advance automation

Ever since the Industrial Revolution, the automation of tasks once done by humans has raised fears about machines putting humans out of work and creating mass poverty. Happily, history has repeatedly proven the doomsayers wrong. While automation has certainly led to declines in entire industries (and employment in those industries), the relationship between automation and…

Dramatic drop in capital expenditures threatens Canada’s prosperity

Capital investment, particularly in machinery and equipment and intellectual property assets, is the major source of productivity growth and higher standards of living in developed countries.

Dramatic drop in capital expenditures threatens Canada’s prosperityThe federal government’s recent approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is a welcome sign. It shows that the Liberal government recognizes Canada’s deteriorating investment environment, particularly in the upstream oil and gas sector (essentially, exploration and production). Unfortunately, the government has provided less evidence that it acknowledges the competitiveness problem plaguing a much broader…

Canada’s upstream oil and gas sector is in intensive care

The economic damage to the energy industry is due largely to government regulatory and tax policies

Canada’s upstream oil and gas sector is in intensive careBy Steven Globerman and Joel Emes The Fraser Institute Canadian oil and gas companies face major problems, in great part due to government policy. Legal restrictions on the expansion of pipeline capacity have restricted exports of oil, shrinking profit margins. The subsequent price decline for Western Canada Select oil spurred former Alberta premier Rachel Notley…

Federal drug-pricing plan threatens access to new medicines

There’s no escaping the fact that discovering, developing and testing new drugs costs a lot of money

Federal drug-pricing plan threatens access to new medicinesBy Bacchus Barua and Steven Globerman The Fraser Institute It seems quite clear that the current Liberal administration wants the federal government to become the public insurer for prescription drugs, in part to contain drug costs. It’s a wrongheaded plan. In 2017, the government proposed changes to the way it limits drug prices in Canada.…

Despite government subsidies, Canadian innovation wanes

Burdensome regulation, limited competition and unfavourable taxes hold Canadian companies back

Studies show that innovation is the driving force behind long-run increases in incomes in developed countries. But Canada is falling behind. The implementation and adoption of new methods of producing goods and services, along with the introduction and use of new products and new ways of organizing businesses, remain critical to improving living standards. Canada’s…

Canada’s free ride on U.S. drug development may end soon

A shift in U.S. drug pricing could cut pharmaceutical profits, meaning less money for research and development

Canada’s free ride on U.S. drug development may end soonBy Steven Globerman and Bacchus Barua The Fraser Institute In October, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump outlined a plan that, if implemented, would substantially lower the amount the U.S. government will pay drug-makers for certain pharmaceuticals covered by its Medicare plan. Though limited in scope, Trump’s changes are a clear step toward controlling…