Friday, November 11, 2016

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Anthony Hilton writes that stronger protections for workers tend to increase productivity. And Fiona McQuarrie makes clear that we don't have to settle for an economy where workers face constant fear and insecurity as a result of precarious work:
(J)ob churn and precarious employment incur other costs. High turnover requires employers to continually invest in recruiting, hiring and training. Employees relying on part-time or precarious work suffer stress from struggling to meet living expenses; they are usually unable to make major financial investments such as buying real estate or saving for retirement.

It’s been argued that workers, particularly millennials, want flexibility in jobs and careers – but workers taking part-time or short-term jobs may be doing so because they have no alternative.
Governments cannot dictate the kinds of jobs employers offer, but governments can certainly incentivize employer behaviour that facilitates stable employment. For example, tax benefits or subsidies for employers can be linked not only to the numbers but the types of jobs created.

Strong labour codes and employment standards legislation, and adequate support for the monitoring and enforcement, can discourage employers from using temporary or part-time work arrangements to undercut permanent full-time jobs, or from unduly exploiting precarious workers.

There will always be a need for flexibility. It’s unrealistic to expect job churn and precarious employment to completely disappear. But telling workers to get used to these arrangements is the wrong approach. Governments can make choices that will support stable, reliable jobs. Doing so will improve Canadians’ working lives, build healthy communities and economies and make a better society.
- Pamela Cowan reports on the difficulty many Saskatchewan citizens face trying to put healthy food on the table due to high costs and limited availability. 

- Ian Johnston discusses the new research showing how catastrophic climate change may be developing sooner and more quickly than previously anticipated. And David Roberts writes that Donald Trump's election may end any hope of limiting the damage to 2 degrees Celsius. But if anything, that reality should push the rest of the world to recognize the need for an economic transformation - and Celine Bak points out that decarbonization figures to offer an important competitive advantage in the long run (in addition to creating massive numbers of jobs in the short term).

- Finally, Thomas Walkom points out that Canada could well end up in a better position if Donald Trump pulls the U.S. out of NAFTA - which raises the question of why Justin Trudeau is going out of his way to ensure that tariff-free trade is paired with corporate control over public policy.

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