Friday, January 06, 2017

Friday Evening Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Colin Busby and Ramya Muthukumaran offer some suggestions as to how to ensure there's an adequate social safety net to support people stuck with precarious work:
Federal and provincial governments, acting in concert or independently, should reduce the uncertainties of a volatile labour market for newcomers and incumbents.

They could start by:

1) Ensuring appropriate access to Employment Insurance benefits for the most vulnerable workers, including part-time and temporary non-seasonal workers, many of whom don’t qualify because of hours-worked eligibility criteria. Instead, weeks-worked entrance requirements and claimant categories that recognize non-standard workers should be strongly considered;

2) Ensuring obstacles to EI access are not hindering access to other critical social programs under the EI umbrella, such as special benefit programs such as maternity/paternity leave and courses for skills upgrading;

3) Doing a better job filling the gaps in health coverage experienced by workers in precarious jobs for services such as prescription drugs, mental health, vision and dental care. Provinces, such as Ontario, should take direct responsibility for this and improve coverage rather than wait for unlikely federal interventions;

4) Protecting the value of expanded CPP benefits for low-income workers by exempting them from punitive, income-tested guaranteed income supplement clawbacks.
- Jack Peat comments on the UK's "Fat Cat Wednesday" as just one more indicator of unsustainable inequality, while Haley Ryan reports on Gary Burrill's rightful recognition that the gap between the rich and the rest of us is a significant moral problem. And Ashifa Kassam writes about Canada's own equivalent to Fat Cat Wednesday which was celebrated (or lamented) a day earlier.

- The Star's editorial board calls for CEOs to pay their fair share through an end in the stock option loophole. But PressProgress exposes why it didn't happen - as the Libs were happy to let Bay Street lobby them to break their promise of a fairer tax system. 

- Julien Gignac discusses the lack of comprehensive information to even document the state of homelessness in Canada.

- Finally, Wayne Young points out how the Libs have made a mess out of straightforward commitments to electoral reform both in Prince Edward Island and on the federal level.

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