Skip to main content

What jobs strategy?

Elections often make the concerns of working people rise a little bit in the sights of the major business parties.  And this election has seen some of that as well.

Notably, the Liberals are now beginning to make some noise about job creation.

That's perhaps a bit better than the Progressive Conservatives, whose job creation strategy is little more than some wishful thinking about tax breaks and the magic of the market.

In the last couple of days, the Liberals have begun to loudly tout their spending on public transit infrastructure, claiming it will create tens thousands of construction jobs.

But are these really new jobs? There was a lot of cash spent (and a lot of media releases from Liberal politicians) on public infrastructure projects during the last four years.  Those constructions jobs came and went as the construction projects were completed.   That's the nature of the construction business.  So this announcement sounds more like the government is really just announcing that normal public infrastructure renewal (and the jobs that come with it) is continuing.

Moreover infrastructure spending is only one, quite small, part of overall government spending.

To get a better understanding of the government's job stimulation policies, one has to look at their overall spending.  Not just in areas that employ construction workers, but also in areas that employ child care workers, nurses, secretaries, housekeepers, librarians, and other socially useful workers who are likely to spend their earnings in Ontario businesses.

What the Liberals don't say is that their funding plan for the next two years is so bad that they will actually reduce spending in many parts of the public sector and overall operating spending will fall behind inflation.

That means government spending will actually fall in value -- never mind create jobs.

That is a recipe for job cuts rather than job creation.  Yet jobs, after health care, is a top concern for Ontarians.  (By the way, the Progressive Conservatives are even weaker on the spending file -- so expect even less from them.)

We have gotten at least one business party to recognize that a job creation strategy is needed --but so far there is no meat on the stick.

There may be more to come, however.  The new emphasis on a jobs strategy from the Liberals is not simply due to the popular pressure during an election. It also reflects a real concern among some ruling business and political circles around the world that the policy of social service cuts and deficit reduction is killing jobs, and also the economic growth they themselves depend upon.

So if the world capitalist economy continues to decline, there may well be more concerted action from governments (of whatever nominal political stripe) to move away from deficit reduction and to focus on economic stimulation and job creation --with increased public spending to pay for it.

The world economy now seems to be teetering on the cliff:  if it does go off the side, fiscal conservatives and deficit hawks may just have to suck it up and go along with a stimulation policy -- just as they (very quickly) did after the 2008 financial collapse.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Health care funding falls, again

Real provincial government health care funding per-person has fallen again this year in Ontario, the third year in a row.  Since 2009 real funding per-person has fallen 2.6% -- $63 per person. 

Across Canada real per person funding is in its fourth consecutive year of increase. Since 2009, real provincial funding across Canada is up $89 -- 3.6%.
In fact the funding gap between Ontario and Canada as a whole has gown consistently for years (as set out below in current dollars).

Ontario funds health care less than any other province -- indeed, the province that funds health care the second least (B.C.) provides $185 more per person per year, 4.7% more.  
Provincial health care spending in the rest of Canada (excluding Ontario) is now  $574 higher per person annually than in Ontario. 

 Ontario has not always provided lower than average health care funding increases-- but that has been the general pattern since 2005.
Private expenditures on health care have exceeded Ontario government increases …

Ontario long-term care staffing falls far short of other provinces

CUPE and others are campaigning for a legislated minimum average of four worked hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day in long-term care (LTC) facilities.  New research indicates that not only is LTC underfunded in Ontario, it is also understaffed compared to the other provinces. 
LTC staffing falls short:  The latest data published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (and based on a mandatory survey undertaken by Statistics Canada) indicates that staffing at long-term care (LTC) facilities falls far short of other provinces. 
Part of this is driven by a low level of provincial funding for LTC.





Ontario has 0.575 health care full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) per bed staffed and in operation.[1]  The rest of Canada reports 0.665 health care FTEs.[2] The rest of Canada has 15.7% more health care staff per bed staffed and in operation than Ontario.[3] 


No other province reports fewer LTC health care staff per resident (or per bed) than Ontario.[4]

Occupancy r…

More spending on new hospitals and new beds? Nope

Hospital funding:  There is something off about the provincial government's Budget claims on hospital capital funding (funding to build and renovate hospital beds and facilities).   

For what it is worth (which is not that much, given the long time frame the government cites), the province claims it will increase hospital capital spending over the next 10 years from $11 billion to $20 billion – or on average to about $2 billion per year.  But, this is just a notional increase from the previous announcement of future hospital capital spending. 

Moreover, even if we did take this as a serious promise and not just a wisp of smoke, the government's own reports shows they have actually funded hospital infrastructure about $3 billion a year over the 2011/12-2015/16 period.

So this “increase” is really a decrease from past actual spending. Even last year's (2016-17) hospital capital funding increase was reported in this Budget at $2.3 billion - i.e. about 15% more than they have ann…