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Resettling Refugees: Canada’s Humanitarian Commitments

April 3, 2015 Comments off

Resettling Refugees: Canada’s Humanitarian Commitments
Source: Library of Parliament

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that almost 960,000 refugees are currently in need of resettlement in a third country. These are refugees who, according to the UNHCR, can neither return to their country of origin nor integrate into their country of first asylum.

Together, the international community has committed to resettle around 80,000 refugees each year. Historically, Canada has resettled approximately 10% of this total; the government’s current goal is to resettle between 8% and 12%. In 2010, the government committed to increase the number of refugees resettled each year from abroad by 20% (2,500 people). For 2015, the government has agreed to accept up to 14,500 resettled refugees, out of a total of 285,000 new immigrants.

Canada admits refugees for resettlement on a humanitarian basis. Resettlement also provides a way for Canada to alleviate the burden for host countries and share the responsibility for displaced persons. In addition to commitments to resettle refugees, Canada has international obligations to those who come to Canada on their own and are found to be in need of protection (refugee claimants or asylum seekers).

This publication provides an overview of Canada’s refugee resettlement programs, explaining who is eligible for resettlement and the different programs in place. Finally, it concludes with some of the operational issues involved in refugee resettlement.

CA — Alternative Federal Budget 2015

April 1, 2015 Comments off

Alternative Federal Budget 2015
Source: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

The Alternative Federal Budget 2015: Delivering the Good demonstrates that the federal government’s continued obsession with austerity and balancing the budget comes at the cost of higher household debt, fewer services, and weakened job growth.

The AFB, now in its 20th year, delivers a plan that would lift 893,000 Canadians out of poverty, reduce income inequality, boost economic growth, reduce carbon emissions, and create or sustain 300,000 jobs a year, bringing Canada’s employment rate back to its pre-recession level.

CA — Employment Insurance Financing

March 30, 2015 Comments off

Employment Insurance Financing
Source: Library of Parliament

Employment Insurance (EI) is one of the largest programs administered by the federal government, with expenditures of $19 billion in 2013–2014, most of it ($15 billion) as benefits paid to workers who are unemployed for a variety of reasons.

The way this program is financed has changed frequently over the years. The following analysis is therefore divided into three parts:

  • a summary of the current situation, with some components dating back to 2009;
  • a brief overview of the changes expected to the program in the coming years; and
  • a review of financing developments prior to 2009 to provide context.

More than 52,000 Canadians left the country for medical care in 2014

March 30, 2015 Comments off

More than 52,000 Canadians left the country for medical care in 2014
Source: Fraser Institute

Large numbers of Canadians continue to venture abroad to seek medical care, according to a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The study, Leaving Canada for Medical Care, 2015, estimates 52,513 Canadians left the country to receive non-emergency medical treatment in 2014, an increase of 26 per cent compared to the previous year.

The study draws upon data from the Fraser Institute’s annual Waiting Your Turn study – a national survey of physicians across Canada in 12 major medical specialties. In the 2014 survey, physicians specializing in internal medicine procedures — such as colonoscopies, gastroscopies and angiographies — reported the highest number of patients leaving Canada for treatment (6,559). Meanwhile, neurosurgeons reported the highest proportion of patients (2.6 per cent) who travelled abroad for medical care.

CA — Are Female Baby Boomers Ready for Retirement?

March 27, 2015 Comments off

Are Female Baby Boomers Ready for Retirement?
Source: University of Waterloo

Due to their life-course socio-economic conditions, many female boomers may suffer large decreases in well-being as they head into retirement. Pension reforms which increase retirement age will disproportionately disadvantage those already in low income. While changes to the CPP will reduce losses from poor or sporadic labour force participation, these changes are too late to help the early boomer women. Likewise, while research suggests that improving retirement outcomes must begin with improved labour market conditions, inequitable conditions persist. Therefore, any current policy change will miss helping the early boomers. Finally, with increasing rates of chronic disease and longer lifespans, policy must aim toward health and wellness promotion, providing a wider range of integrated care options, and clear estimates of added costs so that Canadians can adequately prepare for retirement.

Open Data in the G8

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Open Data in the G8
Source: Center for Data Innovation

In 2013, the leaders of the G8 signed an agreement committing to advance open data in their respective countries. This report assesses the current state of open data efforts in these countries and finds substantial variation in their progress. Moving forward, countries have many opportunities to enhance their open data capabilities, such as by increasing international collaboration, better educating policymakers about the benefits of open data, and working closely with civil society on open data initiatives.

CA — Wage Watch. A comparison of public-sector and private-sector wages

March 24, 2015 Comments off

Wage Watch. A comparison of public-sector and private-sector wages
Source: Canadian Federation of Independent Business

The broad public sector is a major employer in Canada. As a group, it employs 3.6 million Canadians—more than one job in five. Because the large share of these jobs are supported in whole or in part by tax revenues, it is certainly appropriate to question how representative and appropriate public sector salaries are in relation to private sector norms. Latest findings based on the 2011 National Household Survey, which represents earnings from 2010, show a continued and substantial gap in salary compensation in favour of government or public sector employees—even after adjustments for differences in occupation mix, age and education. The gaps grow even wider once employment benefits such as working hours and pensions are taken into account.The impacts on the public purse are significant, adding almost $20 billion to the hard costs of compensating the public sector in 2010.

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