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Canada Pension Plan costs triple as investment board spending skyrockets

September 5, 2014 Comments off

Canada Pension Plan costs triple as investment board spending skyrockets
Source: Fraser Institute

The cost of running the Canada Pension Plan has more than tripled, the result of transaction fees and external management fees, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The study, Accounting for the True Cost of the Canada Pension Plan, spotlights the costs of administering the CPP, which includes spending by the CPP Investment Board, a Crown corporation that manages and invests CPP assets, as well as costs incurred by the federal government to run the plan.

Between fiscal years 2006-07 and 2012-13, the total cost of running the CPP jumped to $2 billion from $600 million, despite an investment board report that claimed its operating expenses in 2012-13 were only $490 million.

Why the discrepancy? The CPP Investment Board excludes from its operating budget a) management fees it pays to external consultants, b) transaction fees associated with acquiring assets and c) costs incurred by four federal government departments.

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Canadians rank highly when it comes to public science knowledge, attitudes, and engagement, finds Expert Panel

September 2, 2014 Comments off

Canadians rank highly when it comes to public science knowledge, attitudes, and engagement, finds Expert Panel
Source: Council of Canadian Academies

A new expert panel report, Science Culture: Where Canada Stands, released today by the Council of Canadian Academies, helps to paint the clearest picture of Canada’s science culture and science culture support system in 25 years. The expert panel who conducted the assessment found Canadians excel in public science knowledge, attitudes, and engagement; however they also determined there is room for improvement in some areas, including skills development.

The Expert Panel based their findings from a review of relevant literature, a new public survey of 2,000 Canadians. The report does not provide policy recommendations but rather provides evidence and insights for policy-makers and others looking to strengthen science culture, and for Canadians to better understand what science culture is, and what it means for our country.

Consumer Cash Usage: A Cross-Country Comparison with Payment Diary Survey Data

August 20, 2014 Comments off

Consumer Cash Usage: A Cross-Country Comparison with Payment Diary Survey Data
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

We measure consumers’ use of cash by harmonizing payment diary surveys from seven countries. The seven diary surveys were conducted in 2009 (Canada), 2010 (Australia), 2011 (Austria, France, Germany, and the Netherlands), and 2012 (the United States). Our paper finds cross-country differences — for example, the level of cash use differs across countries. Cash has not disappeared as a payment instrument, especially for low-value transactions. We also find that the use of cash is strongly correlated with transaction size, demographics, and point-of-sale characteristics such as merchant card acceptance and venue.

CA — The burden of premature opioid-related mortality

August 19, 2014 Comments off

The burden of premature opioid-related mortality
Source: Addiction

Background and Aims
The burden of premature mortality due to opioid-related death has not been fully characterized. We calculated temporal trends in the proportion of deaths attributable to opioids and estimated years of potential life lost (YLL) due to opioid-related mortality in Ontario, Canada.

Design
Cross-sectional study.

Setting
Ontario, Canada.

Participants
Individuals who died of opioid-related causes between January 1991 and December 2010.

Measurements
We used the Registered Persons Database and data abstracted from the Office of the Chief Coroner to measure annual rates of opioid-related mortality. The proportion of all deaths related to opioids was determined by age group in each of 1992, 2001 and 2010. The YLL due to opioid-related mortality were estimated, applying the life expectancy estimates for the Ontario population.

Findings
We reviewed 5935 opioid-related deaths in Ontario between 1991 and 2010. The overall rate of opioid-related mortality increased by 242% between 1991 (12.2 per 1 000 000 Ontarians) and 2010 (41.6 per 1 000 000 Ontarians; P < 0.0001). Similarly, the annual YLL due to premature opioid-related death increased threefold, from 7006 years (1.3 years per 1000 population) in 1992 to 21 927 years (3.3 years per 1000 population) in 2010. The proportion of deaths attributable to opioids increased significantly over time within each age group (P < 0.05). By 2010, nearly one of every eight deaths (12.1%) among individuals aged 25–34 years was opioid-related.

Conclusions
Rates of opioid-related deaths are increasing rapidly in Ontario, Canada, and are concentrated among the young, leading to a substantial burden of disease.

Who pays the piper? Rules for lobbying governments in Australia, Canada, UK and USA

August 5, 2014 Comments off

Who pays the piper? Rules for lobbying governments in Australia, Canada, UK and USA
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This publication surveys lobbying codes of conduct and registers introduced by Australian federal and state governments and some overseas governments. Although lobbying is a legitimate practice and part of the democratic process, the 2014 hearings conducted by the New South Wales (NSW) Independent Commission Against Corruption have exposed weaknesses in lobbying rules. Initially Australian governments introduced very similar minimalist codes and registers. Two states, NSW and Queensland, have recently introduced stronger regimes but Australian codes are, in general, far weaker than the strong statutory regimes operating in Canada and the United States.

Overcoming Skills Shortages in Canada

August 4, 2014 Comments off

Overcoming Skills Shortages in Canada
Source: OECD

Skills shortages have developed in certain fields and regions in recent years. Earnings premiums for people in some professions, notably health, engineering and skilled trades have increased. And vacancy rates have risen for skilled trades, with the increase being particularly large in Alberta and Saskatchewan. While reforms have been implemented to strengthen adjustment so as to overcome these shortages, there is still room to go further by improving labour market information, increasing responsiveness of the education and training system to labour market demand, making the immigration system more reactive to current labour market conditions and reducing regulatory barriers to inter-provincial labour mobility. This Working Paper relates to the 2014 OECD Economic Review of Canada (http://www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/economic-survey-canada.htm).

2013 Border Crossing/Entry Data

July 30, 2014 Comments off

2013 Border Crossing/Entry Data
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

The number of commercial truck crossings into the United States from Canada and Mexico was 10.8 million in 2013, 1.1 percent more than in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). That 2013 increase follows increases from 2010 to 2012 after four years of decline from 2005 to 2009, a period that includes the last recession. The truck-crossing numbers are included in the 2013 Border Crossing/Entry Data posted today on the BTS website. The database also includes numbers of incoming trains, buses, containers, personal vehicles, and pedestrians entering the United States through land ports and ferry crossings on the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico border. The database shows that there were 163.3 million person crossings into the U.S. from Mexico in personal vehicles or as pedestrians in 2013, a 4.6 percent increase from 2012. There were an additional 62.8 million person crossings into the U.S. from Canada in personal vehicles or as pedestrians in 2013, a 0.5 percent increase in person crossings from 2012.

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