Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Thursday, March 25, 2021
A 10 per cent across-the-board pay cut for all government employees receiving over $100,000, would save taxpayers more than $2.5 billion
By Jay Goldberg
Interim Ontario Director
Canadian Taxpayers Federation
While most Ontarians were barely getting by during lockdowns, the bill for Ontario top bureaucrats ballooned in 2020.
There’s still 800,000 Ontarians looking for a job. So, it must be jarring for them to see Ontario’s sunshine list, which discloses the municipal and provincial government employees making more than $100,000 per year, increased by 23 per cent in 2020. Among those high government rollers, 74 made more than $500,000 last year.
So much for being all in this together.
As Ontarians struggled to pay their Hydro bills, six top bureaucrats at Ontario Power Generation raked in more than $800,000. The highest earner was the President and CEO who brought in $1.2 million. The total bill for these six bureaucrats was nearly $6 million.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
While tens of thousands of Ontario’s children were kept home from school for months on end, the number of teachers making more than $100,000 still doubled to over 29,000.
More than a dozen hospital presidents and CEOs received half a million dollars or more.
Surely some of that money could have been used for tax relief or could have been sent to the front lines of the pandemic.
While Ontario’s government sunshine list grew, many workers outside of government lost their jobs, took pay cuts or saw their hours reduced substantially. There’s still nearly 75,000 Ontario businesses at risk of closing their doors for good, according to research from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
For those that suggest that these exorbitant government salaries may be warranted, government employees make more than 10 per cent more than their equivalent private-sector counterparts, according to the Fraser Institute.
Struggling families and businesses need relief and we can’t afford to pay more bureaucrats six-figure salaries while the province is locked down. If Ontario’s municipal and provincial governments implemented a 10 per cent across-the-board pay cut for all government employees receiving over $100,000, taxpayers would save more than $2.5 billion. Not only should Premier Doug Ford reduce government labour costs to relieve some of the burdens facing struggling taxpayers, but he’ll need to tackle this expense to pull the province out of its sea of red ink.
The provincial deficit is about $40 billion, and its debt is fast approaching the $400-billion mark. With labour costs making up half of the government’s pre-COVID-19 budget, Ford has little hope in balancing the books and paying down the debt unless he’s willing to take some air out of his government’s ballooning labour costs.
For unemployed Ontarians who saw the government sunshine list expand in 2020, the news must have felt like a harsh slap in the face.
Even if the government’s finances were in good shape, giving salary increases to government employees in the midst of an economic crisis is tone deaf. And Ontario’s finances are a mess.
It’s not fair to ask the tens of thousands of Ontarians who just lost their job or took a pay cut to pay higher taxes because government employees haven’t shared in the downturn. Governments need to address their labour costs and the first place they should start is at the top of the bureaucrat pyramid.
Jay Goldberg is the Interim Ontario Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Thursday, March 18, 2021
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Eli Lilly's COVID-19 antibody shows it can prevent the disease. But will doctors use it?:
Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab was the first antibody drug the FDA authorized to treat COVID-19. Now, the Indianapolis pharma has data showing the therapy prevents symptomatic infections. The catch? The data are limited to long-term care facilities, where vaccination is now underway—and despite their utility, antibodies are having a tough time catching on.
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
To attract the investment required to develop resources, mitigating the risks of policy uncertainly needs to be a top priority
By Jairo Yunis
and Elmira Aliakbari
The Fraser Institute
The COVID recession has hurt Canada’s natural resources sector, with supply disruptions, commodity price declines and greater uncertainty regarding future demand. Not surprisingly, capital investment in the Canadian mining industry has dropped to its lowest level since 2009.
Of course, business investment should be a key pillar of Canada’s economic recovery, as the governor of the Bank of Canada recently stated in a speech delivered to the Vancouver Board of Trade. Amid these conditions, government policies are critically important in attracting much-needed investment. And according to our recent survey, policy uncertainty continues to hurt several Canadian provinces in the eyes of mining investors.
Every year mining investors are surveyed around the world to determine which jurisdictions are attractive—or unattractive—for investment based on government policies and geological potential. The survey spotlights policies (taxes, duplicative regulations, availability of labour and skills, etc.) that impact investment decisions. The most attractive jurisdictions in the world match their mineral potential with a competitive policy environment and/or overcome a lack of mineral potential with solid policies.
This year, three Canadian provinces—Saskatchewan (ranked 3rd), Quebec (ranked 6th) and Newfoundland & Labrador (ranked 8th)—are in the top 10 most attractive jurisdictions for mining investment.
However, despite the relatively strong performance of these provinces compared to international competitors, several provinces with enormous potential continue to struggle because of poor government policies.
Consider British Columbia. This is a textbook example of how a jurisdiction endowed with abundant mineral resources can become unattractive for investment due to poor policies. Based on pure mineral potential, B.C. ranks 10th out of 77 mining jurisdictions. On mining policy, however, B.C. ranks 41st. When taking into account both mineral potential and policies, B.C. ranks 17th.
Given B.C.’s poor performance in the survey, the province would benefit from resolving its ongoing policy issues. For instance, 78 per cent of survey respondents cited disputed land claims as deterrents to investment in B.C. and 75 per cent cited “protected areas.”
Similarly, Ontario, which was the 7th most attractive jurisdiction for mining investment in 2017, this year ranked 20th. On policy factors alone, the province went from ranking 20th in 2017 to 31st in 2020. Like in B.C., investors view Ontario’s ongoing issues with disputed land claims and protected areas as major policy factors hindering the province’s mining competitiveness.
This trend continues with Quebec, which ranked in the top 10 most attractive jurisdictions worldwide this year. However, the province’s strong performance is largely driven by improved investor perceptions of the province’s mineral potential. When considering government policy factors alone, Quebec ranks 17th, suggesting room for improvement, with investors noting Quebec’s uncertain regulatory regime, disputed land claims and protected areas.
Indeed, uncertainty around disputed land claims and protected areas are among the top two greatest deterrents to investment in every Canadian province included in the survey. If mining investors are uncertain whether they can access land for exploration and production, they’ll be hesitant to invest.
Clearly, governments can’t solely rely on their jurisdiction’s mineral potential to attract investment. In reality, policy uncertainty matters to investors and if provincial governments hope to attract the investment required to develop these resources, mitigating these risks should be their top priority.
Jairo Yunis and Elmira Aliakbari are analysts at the Fraser Institute.
Friday, March 12, 2021
KryptAll Keeps Your Phone Records Private:
Information that can be collected from phone records has become a common form of identity theft. The KryptAll K iPhone employs the highest-level encryption. In addition, KryptAll keeps your calling records private by not generating any calling records. No calling records means no possibility of identity...
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
The lingering financial fallout from the pandemic will cost our students for the rest of their lives
By Jasmine Moulton
Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
The pandemic has been hard on students of all ages. As many parents can attest, their children have missed the social interaction at school and have struggled to focus during online learning. Post-secondary students have missed out on important and exciting life experiences, too.
But even after in-class and on-campus learning has resumed to near normal levels, the lingering financial fallout from the pandemic will cost these students for the rest of their lives.
The provincial and federal governments racked up enormous deficits over the course of the past year that will be tacked on to the hundreds of billions in debt they brought into the pandemic. Ontario’s debt is projected to hit $398 billion by the end of this fiscal year, while the feds’ will surpass $1.1 trillion. The Fraser Institute calculates that each Ontarian’s individual portion of these debts combined now amounts to $58,559.
Imagine how alarming an Ontario birth announcement would be if the sign on the front lawn of new parents read: “It’s a boy, and he’s already nearly $60,000 in debt!”
But the principal amount to be repaid isn’t the only cost of debt. Interest payments on the combined debt of the federal and provincial governments will cost each Ontarian $1,375 this year, according to a report from the Fraser Institute. If parents saved even their child’s portion of that money in a registered education savings plan over 18 years, they’d have a nest egg of $24,750, plus interest, to give their child to help pay for post-secondary education. But because politicians have spent beyond their means, that money goes to our governments’ creditors instead.
Political leadership is needed from provincial and federal governments to address this costly debt burden being unfairly passed on to today’s students, yet sadly the opposite is happening. Politicians love grandstanding about dumping more money into education, even if it’s extremely wasteful.
Consider Ontario’s new French university, the Université de l’Ontario français, set to open its doors to students for the first time in Toronto this fall semester. By the original application deadline of Jan. 15, 2021, UOF had only received 39 applications, 19 of which came from current Ontario students. Data obtained from the Ontario University Application Centre revealed that of those 19 Ontario students, only two listed UOF as their first choice of school. Two!
UOF was jointly funded by provincial and federal taxpayers at $63 million a pop, for a total of $126 million in funding over eight years. That means that if all 39 applicants are accepted and choose to attend UOF this fall, then each student will cost taxpayers over $400,000 this year alone.
While some might like the idea of a French university in Toronto, proponents should first advocate for provincial debt reduction because the $12.5 billion Ontario will spend on interest payments this year could have paid for 99 UOFs (not that there’s enough demand to justify one).
The provincial government also owes taxpayers, current and future, some serious accountability regarding costs in Ontario’s public schools which continue to increase while student performance declines. Ontario Education Minister, Stephen Lecce, should be looking toward innovative models for public education such as charter schools which have succeeded in reducing costs while outperforming other public schools on average in Alberta.
Ontario students have been through a lot this year, but the pandemic will continue to cost them through higher tax bills for the rest of their lives if their parents don’t demand governments get their spending under control now.
Jasmine Moulton is Ontario Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Anil Uzun Will Start a New YouTube Series, “Cooking in New Zealand”:
Anil Uzun will start a new series to discover New Zealand cuisine. The series will be broadcasted on YouTube and the first episode will air on June 10 at 07.00 pm.
Monday, March 8, 2021
Friday, March 5, 2021
Thursday, March 4, 2021
Ba Organics Launches Sustainable Hemp Infused Vitamin Line Called Adaptoids:
Ba Organics has released an innovative line of CBD nutraceuticals called Adaptoids. The wellness tablets are the first of it's kind to deliver accurate doses of hemp-derived cannabinoids and organic whole-fruits aimed at reducing stress and providing daily antioxidant support in one.