Investing in human capital will pay huge dividends

Investing in human capital will pay huge dividendsHuman capital enables us to develop or make use of all other forms of capital. There are several kinds of capital. Mentioned most often are investments in buildings, machinery, equipment and infrastructure that enable us to be productive, and the financial assets that represent them. Natural capital is now getting more attention – that’s the…

Women still facing barriers to careers in skilled trades

Why is change so slow?

Women still facing barriers to careers in skilled tradesWhy on Earth has Canada not been able to change the number of women entering and progressing in skilled trades careers or associated apprenticeship programs? We’ve been talking about this subject for too long. For many women who trailblazed and pushed their way into skilled trades jobs over the last decades, it must feel exhausting.…

Finding work in a pandemic

Offer to do what needs to be done on a contract basis. Since there’s no long-term commitment, it’s easier for the employer to agree

Finding work in a pandemicSummer ends, September approaches. Schools may be opening or closing or something in between – even though the ads for back-to-school sales have been conspicuously fewer than usual. As the days shorten, our thoughts reluctantly turn from beaches, picnics and holidays to getting back to work. Perhaps you, like so many others, are out of…

Longer bereavement leave needed for employees: study

Outdated Canadian labour laws need to reflect new evidence on how deeply grief affects us, says U of A researcher

Longer bereavement leave needed for employees: studyIt takes months, even years, to recover from the grief of losing a loved one, and Canadian legislation and workplaces need to start recognizing that, says a University of Alberta researcher. While many workplaces offer three days of paid or unpaid bereavement leave, it’s based on an outdated 1967 federal law in the Canada Labour Code…

Is it time to walk away from trade with China?

If China wants to keep trading with the West, it needs to do something about the living standards of its working people

Is it time to walk away from trade with China?The idea that our entire civilization could depend on millions of foreign slaves that we pretend don’t exist is like something out of a dystopian novel. But it’s the world in which we’ve lived for decades. COVID-19 is proving to be the wake-up call we needed. With cheap goods comes cheap labour, and with cheap…

Olivia de Havilland was more than an actress

She played two off-screen roles that took courage and independence. She was, to put it simply, a woman of genuine substance.

Olivia de Havilland was more than an actressOlivia de Havilland died last weekend at the age of 104. She was often described as the last survivor of Hollywood’s golden age. Making theatrical movies from the mid-1930s to the late-1970s and continuing in television until 1988, de Havilland earned five Academy Award nominations and won Best Actress twice. Not bad going by anyone’s…

Unions fail to measure up in a time of economic crisis

By reducing business profits, unionization ultimately makes workers worse off, diminishing employment and wages

Unions fail to measure up in a time of economic crisisA recent story in The Monitor – a magazine published by the left-wing, union-friendly think-tank Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – provides an important lesson in basic economics. The headline triumphantly proclaims: “Gig workers win the right to unionize.” The end result was unfortunate for the workers, however. An editor’s note at the top of…

Investing in green future easier said than done for Alberta

Capitalizing on an educated workforce and taking a hard look at taxation would help the province diversify its post-pandemic economy, according to U of A experts

Investing in green future easier said than done for AlbertaGrowing Alberta’s sustainable energy sector alongside its conventional energy backbone might be a short-term remedy for pulling the province out of its current financial crisis, but University of Alberta economists say it won’t necessarily help the province compete globally. Joseph Doucet, dean of the Alberta School of Business, agrees that investment in a greener future…

Dammit Jim! Where’s the waiter?

The use of robots can make the restaurant sector more robust financially and more secure from a public health perspective

Dammit Jim! Where’s the waiter?Canada’s first server-free restaurant has opened its doors in Toronto. Box’d is a fully-automated restaurant designed for life during a global pandemic. It’s an interesting concept but it makes you wonder what role humans can and should play in the food industry. Being aware of the new risks, we need to boldly move forward to…

How robots could help injured workers recover

Training robots to guide people through tasks could improve return-to-work evaluations and treatment: U of A researchers

How robots could help injured workers recoverTraining robots to guide injured workers through simulated tasks could make return-to-work evaluations and treatment programs more effective and accessible, according to researchers at the University of Alberta. In a review of scientific literature on efforts to use robotics for occupational rehabilitation, the researchers reported that robots with machine learning capabilities have the potential to…

Polytechnic education critical to the front-line workforce

Government needs to be thinking about smart investments to make applied education safe and accessible

Polytechnic education critical to the front-line workforceThe important role of front-line workers has never been more apparent than over the last several weeks. They include nurses and personal support workers, paramedics and other first responders, technology professionals and skilled tradespeople, and those working in advanced manufacturing or supplying us with food. These have been the people with the skills and know-how…

Grocers move away from ‘hero pay’ model for staff

The economics of pay increases in the retail sector are always weak, especially in food retailing, which has low margins

Grocers move away from ‘hero pay’ model for staff‘Hero pay’ is quietly fading away in grocery stores and food distribution centres. That’s quite the reversal from 10 weeks ago. The American-based Kroger supermarket chain, among others, even asked employees to return the extra money they received. It has since backed off. It appears higher salaries in grocery stores were short-lived. It’s not overly…

Human cost high from pandemic-driven joblessness

As government responds to COVID-19, it needs to think about the non-financial consequences of being out of work

Human cost high from pandemic-driven joblessnessGovernment needs to keep the non-monetary aspects of work in mind while supporting those rendered jobless by the COVID-19 pandemic. Concern about COVID-19 has ravaged Canada’s labour market. Staggering unemployment numbers and the number of applicants for federal aid for laid-off workers dominate headlines. The unprecedented effort to make up for lost wages has been admirable and…

Will the economy ever recover?

The economy will bounce back, even if some businesses don’t. But don’t expect a rapid recovery after COVID-19 recedes

Will the economy ever recover?What will happen to the economy once we get through this pandemic? We’re coping day to day with social isolation and, for those of us lucky enough to still have work, the challenges of working from home or being out there in an infected world. First, we want to know when all this will end.…

Ease temporary layoff laws during COVID-19 crisis

Allowing employers to adjust quickly will improve the chances jobs are waiting for returning workers when the crisis subsides

Ease temporary layoff laws during COVID-19 crisisBy Alex Whalen and Niels Veldhuis The Fraser Institute Aside from the enormous health-related challenges due to the COVID-19 virus, employers and workers are feeling major economic pain with job loss, reduced income and revenue. The ability of businesses to adjust quickly will be key to stabilizing the economy and laying the foundation for recovery.…

CEO pay: when they deserve it and when they don’t 

CEO pay has increased over the last decade but the increase is perfectly related to the value of their skills

CEO pay: when they deserve it and when they don’t In debates about inequality, some people – including some economists – claim the salaries and compensation of chief executive officers aren’t linked to performance. Essentially, they don’t really earn their money. This claim, repeated ad nauseam in recent years, is misleading to say the least. As noted in my recent study published by the Fraser…

Federal government tax cuts miss the mark

We need smart tax cuts that improve incentives for workers, entrepreneurs and investors, along with a balanced budget

Federal government tax cuts miss the markBy Jason Clemens, Jake Fuss and Tegan Hill The Fraser Institute Finance Minister Bill Morneau recently confirmed the federal government’s intention to reduce personal income taxes for everyone except “higher-income earners.” With total taxes (federal, provincial and local) consuming 44.7 per cent of the average family’s income in 2019, it’s easy to see why Canadians…

Federal government tax cuts miss the mark

We need smart tax cuts that improve incentives for workers, entrepreneurs and investors, along with a balanced budget

Federal government tax cuts miss the markBy Jason Clemens, Jake Fuss and Tegan Hill The Fraser Institute Finance Minister Bill Morneau recently confirmed the federal government’s intention to reduce personal income taxes for everyone except “higher-income earners.” With total taxes (federal, provincial and local) consuming 44.7 per cent of the average family’s income in 2019, it’s easy to see why Canadians…

Put robots to work so humans can be more productive

While robots replace human workers on the factory floor, better-paid jobs are created to design, build and maintain the robots

Put robots to work so humans can be more productiveThe robots are coming, the robots are coming! They may not be an unstoppable evil army ready to take over the world as in a bad sci-fi movie, but they’re definitely making headway on factory assembly lines and increasingly in other industries. A United Kingdom research firm, Oxford Economics, did a study that covered seven…

Unionizing the gig economy would be a disaster for workers

Unionization would mean fewer jobs and fewer hours of work. The workers might be unsatisfied with their current position, but it’s certainly better than unemployment

Unionizing the gig economy would be a disaster for workersThe push for unionization among some food couriers at Foodora Canada and among hundreds of Uber drivers in Canada will ultimately do more harm than good for workers in the gig economy. The drive for unionization will actually result in increased unemployment and underemployment. Unionization defies the law of demand, a central economic concept. Unionizing…

Combining bad Marxist theory and millennial laziness

Total automation, capitalist or communist, removes the very purpose of human existence

Combining bad Marxist theory and millennial lazinessSince the publication of Fully Automated Luxury Communism in 2018, a manifesto by Aaron Bastani, millennials across Canada and the United States have embraced a new Marxism for the 21st century. This new socialism is based on the concept of a post-scarcity economy that embraces automation, the reduction of working hours and a universal income.…

Implementing online safety training that works

Robert Day talks about the technology that Integrity Advocate has developed to verify that online students complete the training required of them

Implementing online safety training that worksIntegrity Advocate co-founder Robert Day is a licensed investigator and paralegal. Can you tell me what you do? Day: I’m a co-founder of a company called Integrity Advocate, as well as a licensed paralegal and investigator. I co-developed the patented technology that Integrity Advocate is known for, which addresses legality and effectiveness concerns associated with…

Adding international students undermines Canadians and economy

The job market will be flooded with cheap labour and Canadians will be denied spots at university

Adding international students undermines Canadians and economyRecruiting and teaching international students in Canada is big business for private universities, and the federal government has backed a scheme that puts more cash in the pockets of university administrators and wreaks havoc with the Canadian job market. In 2000, some 122,665 people held study permits in Canada. In 2018, that number reached 572,415.…

On Labour Day, celebrate labour, not unions

Unions harm workers more than they help. And they seek a bigger slice of the economic pie, even while shrinking the pie through productivity loss

On Labour Day, celebrate labour, not unionsLabour Day is a day, as its name suggests, to celebrate labour. This is entirely appropriate – labour is a necessary input for the production of goods and services on which our standards of living rely. We make a mistake, however, when the celebration is of labour unions instead of the workers who supply the…

Finding responsible work in a time of climate crisis

What are the new jobs? How do you train for them? Every old-economy business needs to plan for next-economy transitions

Finding responsible work in a time of climate crisisHow does work change in an era of climate crisis? What skills will have value and how do we acquire them? What advice do we give young people entering the job market? How do we retrain those whose skills are no longer in demand? What roles do colleges and universities play in this workplace transition?…

Oil/gas provinces dominate Canadian labour productivity

Oil/gas provinces dominate Canadian labour productivityAlberta had the second highest level of labour productivity in 2018 among the provinces ($78.50 per hour) after Saskatchewan ($79.90) and just ahead of Newfoundland and Labrador ($76.90), according to ATB Financial’s Economics & Research Team. Productivity for Canada as a whole was $59.40 per hour. In its daily economic update, The Owl, ATB said…

The future is not a straight line from the past

The march of technology is inevitable, but the way its proceeds are distributed is a matter of choice. Here are some options

The future is not a straight line from the pastThe RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) has been exploring the future of work. Like many organizations, it begins with the assumption that some 35 to 40 per cent of jobs will be directly impacted by artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing, blockchain, stem cells and other technologies.…

Take this job and … uh, love it?

A truly-bad-job phenomenon is gathering on the horizon, particularly for young people. What do we do about it?

Take this job and … uh, love it?Few jobs are uniformly good. But some are unrelentingly awful and you remember them as you would a bully’s fist. I remember the wretched May of 1981 when, at the untempered age of 20, I sold encyclopedias door-to-door in poor trailer parks that ringed the outskirts of Dartmouth, N.S. I remember the unemployed residents, drunk…
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