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Found 28 results

  1. Middle-class communities disappearing Big increase in poor neighbourhoods in Toronto and more rich districts, according to U of T study February 08, 2009 Daniel Dale STAFF REPORTER "PRIMO PIZZA," the sign reads. "SINCE 1965." Like the store's walls, it is green and white and red, the colours of the Italian flag, and, on the left, there is a cartoonishly mustachioed man carrying a pepperoni pie above his head. This could be any Italian-owned pizza joint in the city. It was indeed Italian-owned until last year. Then a man named Rocky sold it to a man named Abdul. Abdul Malik, a 43-year-old Indian immigrant, kept its name and its oven and its sauce and its dough. He made just one addition to the top right corner of the sign, easy to miss if you're darting in from the cold, above the shop's phone number. "Halal 100%." "Some people, when they see the sign `halal,' they don't come," said Malik, who also drives a taxi. "We're losing some customers. But we're gaining other types of customers." The neighbourhood known to Statistics Canada as Census Tract 354 is changing. A community of 1950s red-brick bungalows, sturdy front-lawn maple trees and long, narrow driveways, it seems the very embodiment of white middle-class suburban Canadiana. But like the rest of Scarborough, it is decreasingly white. And by University of Toronto Professor David Hulchanski's definition, it is no longer middle-class. Later this year, Hulchanski – associate director for research at the U of T's Cities Centre – and a team of researchers will release an update of their 2007 report The Three Cities within Toronto. Their new analysis of data from the 2006 census confirms a trend they found in the first study: the income gap between Toronto's rich areas and poor areas is growing, while its middle-income neighbourhoods are disappearing. Hulchanski's findings, in aggregate, are dramatic. At the micro-level of this individual neighbourhood, however, the impact of relative economic decline is not unlike Malik's change to the pizza shop's sign. Significant, certainly, but subtle. Between 1995 and 2005, the 5,225-person census district, roughly bordered by Lawrence Ave. E. to the north, Knob Hill Park to the south, Brimley Rd. to the west and McCowan Park to the east, gained 1,020 members of visible minority groups. They now comprise more than 55 per cent of the population, up from about a third in the 1990s. Most of the newcomers came to Canada this decade or last from South Asian countries – predominantly India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Like recent immigrants of all types, many of them struggle to make an adequate living. The area's average individual income in 2006 – $29,929 – was 25 per cent lower than the average for Toronto census districts: $40,074. Hulchanski classifies areas 20 per cent or more below the city-wide average as low-income; according to him, this area has been low-income since at least 2000. Yet ask long-time white residents to classify their neighbourhood and they will inevitably call it middle-class. Ask them to describe recent demographic changes and they will think for a moment, then point down the street to a house an Indian family bought from a British couple, or around the corner to another now owned by Sri Lankans. "When we moved in almost 30 years ago – we moved in '79 – there were more Anglo-Saxon people," said Filomena Polidoro, 53. "Now there are more ethnic people. It's more mixed. And it's nice, still nice. We like it." The old-timers' shrugs about its low-income status reflect a key caveat to the discussion of the disappearance of the city's middle-class census tracts: to fall from "middle-income" to "low-income," in relative terms, a neighbourhood need not get significantly poorer. Since the city's high-income neighbourhoods are getting richer, a middle-class neighbourhood that maintains its income level will be relatively poorer. The influx of South Asians has not made this one destitute; it remains largely populated, said Polidoro, by people who work as teachers, nurses, and factory and construction workers, among other unpretentious jobs. But the new arrivals contributed to a decline of about $1,000 in the neighbourhood's inflation-adjusted average individual income between 2000 and 2005. Two local real estate agents said about 70 per cent of people now inquiring about houses in the neighbourhood are South Asian. Many recent buyers, said Coldwell Banker agent Raffi Boghossian, are large extended families who have pooled limited incomes, sometimes "not much more than minimum wage," to acquire property. Local businesses have adjusted accordingly. At Reliable Parts, an appliance parts shop beside Primo Pizza, employee Warren Lastewka has a polite "the price is the price" speech he delivers when cash-strapped customers reared in haggling-friendly countries ask for unadvertised discounts. The Paperback Exchange, a bookstore in the plaza since the 1970s, now stocks elementary educational books with titles like Basic Learning Skills and Parts of Speech near its sci-fi novels. "I'll get a family of Pakistanis in when the teacher says to them, `Your kid's not going to make it if they can't read English.' From now through to June, that's when they usually get the notice," said Joy Ritchie, 64, the mother of owner Troy Ritchie. "I keep those books on the wall there. And I do very good business on that from now to June." Low-income areas sometimes lack proximity to social services and other essential conveniences. This one is served by Scarborough General Hospital, a Royal Bank, a Shoppers Drug Mart, a library and a Price Chopper. "Everything is convenient for us in this area," said Kaushik Maisuria, 28, an India-born auto garage employee who lives with his two uncles and two young cousins. "We can get whatever we want." Including, increasingly, products and services targeted to them, like Malik's halal pizza or the plaza's JD's Market and Halal Meat, where large bags of basmati rice line the aisles and a butcher works out back. Once a Becker's Milk, the location was a standard convenience store until October, when Jaffer Derwish's Afghanistan-born family converted it into a small grocery. In a tough economy, business is slow, said Derwish, 23. So is demand for local real estate. "The market is sort of dead in the area," Boghossian said. Many prospective buyers, he said, "are people with income that is not certain." "Typical Scarborough," said Royal LePage Signature realtor Joan Manuel. "You're not getting multiple offers. And if you do, you're not getting them over (the listed price)." Those people still making offers, however, are drawn to the neighbourhood's increasing ability to meet distinct South Asian needs. About 800 metres from Brimley Rd. is the large new Jame Abu Bakr Siddique mosque, a gleaming white facility whose minarets loom over another halal pizzeria. Prospective buyers have cited the mosque as a key lure to the area, said Manuel. And other attractions abound. Down the street is the bustling Bombay Bazaar grocery store in a Lawrence Ave. plaza so busy people park their cars in the middle of the parking lot, preventing those lucky enough to find spots from backing out. Nearby are a Hindi video rental store-slash-hair salon and a fish market. It is, for some, a sight to behold. "Where there used to be an old mom-and-pop operation," said Joy Ritchie, a touch of wonderment in her voice, "now they're selling saris." http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/584203 Poor neighbourhoods growing across Toronto RENÉ JOHNSTON/TORONTO STAR Newspapers in South Asian languages serve the city's many new immigrants. Toronto's middle class is disappearing. Since 2001, 15 of the city's middle-income neighbourhoods have vanished, according to a yet-to-be released University of Toronto report. The majority became low-income areas, where individual earnings are 20 to 40 per cent below the city average. Hardest hit are the suburbs. Declines in Scarborough and north Etobicoke have continued. Falling income is also affecting parts of Brampton, Mississauga and Durham. In 1970, 86 per cent of 905 neighbourhoods were middle class. In 2005, that number had tumbled to 61 per cent. From 2000 to 2005, the number of city neighbourhoods with very low earnings – more than 40 per cent below the Toronto-area average – grew by almost 50 per cent. Residents in these neighbourhoods live on welfare-level earnings, says U of T researcher David Hulchanski. The report, due out this year, is an update of the groundbreaking 2007 The Three Cities within Toronto report by Hulchanski and a team of university researchers. It analyzed and mapped Statistics Canada census data from 1971 to 2001, finding that not only were middle-class neighbourhoods disappearing, but Toronto was divided into three distinct geographic areas: City 1, which consistently gained income; City 2, which maintained its income but shrunk in size; and City 3, whose residents saw their earnings fall over the 30-year period. Hulchanski says municipal governments are not to blame. "The people of Toronto did not do this to themselves. This is a national trend. What we're showing on these maps is the way federal and provincial policies, as well as the economy, have played out in Toronto's neighbourhoods." He says policies such as universal health care and social assistance helped build the middle class. Cutbacks, including downloading of social services from the province to cities and a lack of affordable housing and job protection, are leading to its destruction. "You didn't talk about McJobs in the 1970s, or even part-time jobs without benefits. Whoever heard of a job that wasn't full-time without benefits?" he asks. "That would be shocking 25 years ago. Now it's normal." Hulchanski's updated study, with another five years of data from the 2006 census, confirms the decline of the middle class and the continued polarization of rich and poor neighbourhoods. From 2001 to 2006, individual incomes in wealthy areas grew 14 per cent, while residents of low-income neighbourhoods made only modest gains. During the 1970s, Toronto was a predominantly middle-class city, with 341 of its 520 census tracts – neighbourhood areas determined by Statistics Canada so that they have roughly 4,000 residents each – in the middle-income category. Poverty was contained in the city's urban core. Thirty years later, it's a city divided. Richer residents live along the Yonge St. corridor, close to services and transit. Individual incomes average almost $90,000 a year. The proliferating poorer communities are located in Toronto's pre-amalgamation suburbs, the middle-class bastion of the 1950s. In 2006 that area included 40 per cent of the city's census tracts. Sixty-one per cent are immigrants. There is little rapid transit and an average income of $26,900. Sandwiched between the two areas is a shrinking City 2, neighbourhoods with static income where the average income is about $35,700. Hulchanski began his research in 2005 with a $1 million grant (spread over five years) from the Social Science Humanities Research Council of Canada. He teamed with St. Christopher House, an omnibus social service agency in the city's west end, to examine how gentrification was changing the neighbourhood. The data was difficult to analyze. Within the 30-year period, census boundaries had changed and some of the information wasn't available electronically. A U of T data analyst took more than a year to get it into shape. By the time Hulchanski began his work, Toronto and the United Way had completed research showing the city's poverty was highest in 13 priority neighbourhoods. "The trend line was clearly there. Researchers saw it and the city's work with the United Way was going on," says Fiona Chapman, manager of social research and analysis for Toronto. "What David's work has done is absolutely confirmed the concerns. And I think why everybody doffs their cap to David is (that) he's been very good at helping the public understand these concerns." BY THE NUMBERS How the income decline affects the outer suburbs $40,074 Average 2005 individual income, all Toronto census districts 61 Percentage of population comprising immigrants in districts where incomes have declined more than 20 per cent since 1970 34 Percentage of population comprising whites in such districts 19 Number of subway stations within 300 metres of such districts, versus 40 for biggest-gaining districts 54 Percentage of 2005-07 homicides in such districts, versus 12 per cent for biggest-gaining districts Source: University of Toronto Cities Centre U of T analysis of census data shows middle class shrinking, especially in Scarborough, Etobicoke February 08, 2009 Patty Winsa STAFF REPORTER http://www.thestar.com/Article/584204 interactive map: http://www3.thestar.com/static/Flash/map_middleclass.html PDF:http://multimedia.thestar.com/acrobat/51/c7/2cc835a5403d8d76478fae97bba0.pdf
  2. Desjardins financial grows outside Quebec The Gazette Published: 1 hour ago Desjardins Financial Security, the life and health insurance arm of the $152-billion Desjardins Group, said yesterday that business growth outside Quebec was strong in the second quarter. Premium income was up 6.1 per cent from a year earlier in Quebec, where it already has a large market presence, and rose 16.8 per cent in the rest of Canada. Desjardins Financial has been working hard to build market share outside Quebec, especially for group business. Desjardins Financial also sells group and individual retirement savings products, including mutual funds, and growth in this business came mainly from its new guaranteed investment contracts. "We continue to gain ground in an extremely competitive insurance market," chief operating officer Richard Fortier said. Second-quarter net income was $59.3 million vs. $68.4 million a year earlier.
  3. Calgary's homeless population balloons As thousands of migrants have poured into Calgary, housing costs spiralled out of the range for many of those at the lower end of the income spectrum.Dean Bicknell/Canwest News ServiceAs thousands of migrants have poured into Calgary, housing costs spiralled out of the range for many of those at the lower end of the income spectrum. Canwest News Service Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 CALGARY -- Calgary's homeless population has reached more than 4,000 - an increase of 18.2% since 2006, according to this year's homeless count. As of May 14, there were 4,060 homeless people in Calgary. Officials cannot explain it but the rate of homeless families jumped dramatically to 197 from 145 in 2006 -- an increase of 36%. Calgary in many ways has been a victim of its own success. As thousands of migrants poured into the city over the past number of years, housing costs spiralled out of the range for many of those at the lower end of the income spectrum. Alberta does not have any traditional rent controls. The average rent for a two-bedroom unit in Calgary is now $1,100. Many of Calgary's homeless are employed - as many as 60% staying at the downtown Mustard Seed Street Ministry, said operations manager Floyd Perras. Mike Nault, 40, who hails from Winnipeg, said he has been living on Calgary's streets with his girlfriend, Debbie Reid, for eight months. "The stress level of being on the street is just phenomenal," said Mr. Nault, who regularly works temporary construction jobs. Ms. Reid said she drinks up to two dozen beers a day because it is "depressing" being homeless. "You turn to self-medication." Civic and business leaders have come up with a 10-year plan to end homelessness. The province has followed up with tens of millions of dollars more for affordable housing and the creation of a Secretariat for Action on Homelessness. http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=659002
  4. I've been wondering for a bit, how it works for people who win the lotto. Lets say you win like $20 million. Do you get taxed once if you made that in one year, or will they tax you every year?
  5. Toronto's two solitudes: Poor city beside rich city Nov 20, 2008 04:30 AM Comments on this story (3) David Hulchanski "We heard as well about parents whose struggle to hold down two or three jobs leaves them with no time or energy to parent, of youth being humiliated by the obviousness of their poverty, of the impact of precarious and substandard housing on their ability to study and learn and engage with friends, and about the numerous other daily stresses of living on the margins of a prosperous society." – Review of the Roots of Youth Violence, Vol. 1, p. 31. We learned last week that among the roots of youth violence is the lack of good jobs – jobs that support a family, jobs that support an average lifestyle, jobs that support good quality housing. Though we already knew this, as a society we need to stop moving in the opposite direction. It wasn't too long ago that our language did not include terms like "good jobs," "bad jobs" or "the working poor." How could you work and be poor? Many people today are working more than full-time and are poor. They have no choice but to live in the growing number of very poor neighbourhoods. Money buys choice. Many neighbourhoods are becoming poor in the sense that most of the residents are living in poverty, and poor in the sense that housing, public services and transit access are all inferior relative to the rest of the city. The growing polarization between rich and poor is happening in part because of the loss of average, middle-income jobs. There used to be far fewer concentrations of disadvantage in Toronto. In the early 1970s about two-thirds of the City of Toronto's neighbourhoods (66 per cent) were middle-income – within 20 per cent of the average individual in-come of the metropolitan area. By 2005, the middle income group of neighbourhoods had declined to less than one-third (29 per cent). The trend is the same in the communities around the city's boundaries – the 905 area. The number of middle-income neighbourhoods declined by 25 per cent, from 86 per cent to 61 per cent, during the same period. Now 20 per cent of the neighbourhoods in the 905 area have very low average individual incomes, compared to none in 1970. This income polarization – the decline of the middle group with growth in the two extreme poles – is not only a general trend among Toronto's population, but it also is the basis of where we live. The City of Toronto is now divided into increasingly distinct zones. One zone of tremendous wealth and prosperity, about 20 per cent of the city, is located mainly along the Yonge corridor and stretching east and west along Bloor and Danforth. Average household income was $170,000 in 2005, 82 per cent of the population is white, only 4 per cent are recent immigrants (arriving 2001 to 2006), and only 2 per cent are black. Some of these neighbourhoods are more white and had fewer foreign-born residents in 2005 than in 1995. In contrast, there is a huge zone of concentrated disadvantage. It is still located in part in the traditional inner-city neighbourhoods, but now is also in the inner suburbs, the car-oriented areas built during the 1960s and 1970s. This is 40 per cent of the city, about 1.1 million people. Close to one-third of residents live in poverty (are below the low-income cut-off measure used by the federal government). Only 34 per cent are white, 15 per cent are recent immigrants, and 12 per cent are black. Federal and provincial economic policies, while seemingly abstract and high-level, play themselves out on the ground in our neighbourhoods. Paying a growing segment of the population wages that do not support individuals, let along families, at a basic standard of living and a fundamental level of dignity is not sustainable. The now well-documented rise in income inequality, income polarization and ethnocultural and skin colour segregation are city-destroying trends. They are trends produced by commission and omission, by public and private sector decisions. We need to use our regulatory power for the common good to focus on improving the labour market through measures like a living wage and providing people with a voice in working conditions via a fairer path to unionization. One-sided policy-making is not only generating greater disadvantage, it is destroying the city as a great place to live and work. Nothing is trickling down. The city is increasingly segregating itself as the social distance between rich and poor increases. Immigrants are arriving in a very different economy than they did 30 and 40 years ago. A recent Statistics Canada study concludes, for example, "that the wage gap between newly hired employees and other employees has been widening over the past two decades," the "relative importance of temporary jobs has increased substantially among newly hired employees," and that compared with "the early 1980s, fewer male employees are now covered by a registered pension plan." In short, policies have allowed fewer jobs to pay a living wage with good benefits. This did not happen by accident. It is not only possible but essential that we have an economy with good jobs with at least a minimum living wage for all. We need public policies that support the goals of a just and inclusive society, and we have to ensure that the use of political power benefits the common good. These are key goals of the Good Jobs Coalition and form the agenda for Saturday's Good Jobs Summit. They are essential to reversing the city-destroying trends at work in Toronto today. David Hulchanski is a University of Toronto professor and author of the report The Three Cities within Toronto. This is one of a series of essays created for the Good Jobs Summit, which takes place Nov. 22 in Toronto.
  6. jesseps

    What gives?

    (Courtesy of CBC News) Yet if you die from an overpass crushing you, your relatives get fuck all. This country is totally fucked and needs reform. That is my rant for today.
  7. I have an idea...lets keep the status quo. By Nicolas Van Praet Montreal • Forget Newfoundland, derided for decades as the fish-dependent fiscal laughingstock of Canada. Another province is swiftly climbing the ranks of the penniless: Quebec. Quebecers will displace their fellow countrymen as the poorest Canadians if current income and purchasing power trends continue, according to a new study released Tuesday by Montreal’s HEC business school. The stark outlook underscores the urgency for Canada’s second-largest province to fix its structural problems and lends weight to arguments that its untapped natural resources should be developed. Related “Compared to the rest of the country, Quebec has a real revenue problem,” says Martin Coiteux, an economist who wrote the study for the HEC’s Centre for Productivity and Prosperity. Unless the province begins an honest, nothing-off-limits self-examination, “it runs the risk of finding itself last among Canadian provinces with respect to income and standard of living.” It’s the trend lines that should be worrying Quebecers, Mr. Coiteux said. The income gap is widening between Quebec and Canada’s richest provinces while it is shrinking with the poorest. Over a 31-year period from 1978 to 2009, every region of Canada gained on income against Quebec, according to the study. Buoyed by revenues from offshore oil, Newfoundland has bridged the income gap with Quebec to within $3,127 per adult as of 2009. Ontario’s income was $9,853 higher per adult that year while Alberta’s was $17,947 higher. That in itself is problematic for Quebec. But the HEC research also shows that one of the key things that made living in Quebec so attractive, namely the lower cost of living compared with other big provinces, is also rapidly changing. While it remains cheaper to buy consumer goods like food, gasoline and haircuts in Quebec than most other provinces (9% cheaper in Quebec than Alberta in 2009 for Statistics Canada’s standard Consumer Price Index basket of goods, for example), the difference is narrowing. And that makes the purchase power equation even worse for the French-speaking province. What explains this income nightmare? Mr. Coiteux summed it up thus: “Proportionately, fewer Quebecers work [than other Canadians]. They work fewer hours on average. And they earn an hourly pay that’s lower than that of most other Canadians.” The relative poverty of Quebec means that its residents pay less in federal income tax and receive more transfers than those living in richer provinces, which reduces the income gap with Ontario, Alberta and B.C. But that situation also represents “a form of dependency,” Mr. Coiteux noted. Provincial wealth in Canada is increasingly split along the lines of those who have natural resource wealth and those who do not. In addition to a bounty of hydroelectric power and aluminum production, Quebec also has known shale natural gas and oil deposits on its territory. The Liberal government of Jean Charest has signalled it is eager to tap its forestry and mining wealth, most notably with its plan to develop a vast portion of its northern territory twice the size of Texas. It has put oil and gas commercialization on the back burner in the face of public opposition and a continuing ocean boundary spat with Newfoundland. But even the northern development plan isn’t generating unanimity. Quebecers have proven to be tremendously shy in using their resources to generate wealth, says Youri Chassin, economist at the Montreal Economic Institute, a conservative think-tank. “We are kind of afraid of the consequences. And it might be good to have public debate about this. But [in that debate], we have to take into account that we are getting poorer.”
  8. It's looking like New York will follow fast on the heels of Illinois in deciding not to add a luxury tax for jewelry over $20,000. The American Watch Association sent an e-mail to members on Monday saying that while the New York State Legislature has agreed to tax increases to deal with a budget deficit, the luxury tax proposal is not part of it. The luxury tax would have also applied to aircraft costing more than $500,000, yachts over $200,000, cars that cost more than $60,000 and furs over $20,000. But don't go spending yet, high earners in New York will be feeling an increased pinch. Income taxes were raised one percentage point to 7.85 percent for couples with income over $300,000 and couples with more than $500,000 in income will pay 8.97 percent. The three-year tax increase is expected to add $4 billion to the state coffers this year.
  9. Welcome to the province of tax tax tax. Now we're poorer and can't keep up with the cost of living. So much for le modele Quebecois. We need to make some adjustments to improve our collective wealth http://montrealgazette.com/business/local-business/quebecers-high-taxes-take-toll-on-buying-power "Despite a slight increase in disposable income, Quebecers have not been keeping up with cost-of-living increases, giving residents of la belle province the second lowest buying power of any province in the country, according to l’Institut de la statistique du Québec. Only Prince Edward Island has less buying power. According to the latest figures, disposable income in Quebec increased 0.9 per cent in 2013. At the same time, the consumer price index grew by 1.2 per cent. Therefore, real disposable income per resident declined by 1.2 per cent— the first time this figure has gone down since 1996. The reasons for the reduction in buying power are taxes and contributions to social programs, the institute says. With an average disposable income of $26,774, Quebec ranked second to last in 2013. Disposable income in P.E.I. was $26,439 per resident. The Canadian average is $30,746."
  10. Downtown lacks affordable housing: group Jan RavensbergenThe Gazette Wednesday, May 21, 2008 MONTREAL - Lower-income Montrealers - anybody with annual family revenue of $55,000 or less - are getting the squeeze during the city's downtown condo-construction boom, a study released Wednesday concludes. No social or community housing was built in the downtown Ville Marie borough during 2006, a round-table group on downtown housing said. Construction of that type of affordable housing completely dried up, plunging to zero from 11 per cent of residential construction across the borough during 2005. For the two years, an overall total of 184 such housing units were built in Ville Marie. Among the overall total of 3,186 units, that boils down to roughly one affordable unit for every 17 built. The report was produced by the Department of urban and tourism studies at l'Université de Montréal, with the participation of the Comité logement Centre-Sud, which represents tenants. "We need a counterweight to the speculative effect brought to the downtown by such projects as the Quartier des spectacles, the new (French-language) super-hospital and the expansion of the universities," said Éric Michaud, coordinator of the tenants' group. The Quebec, municipal and federal governments have to put in major financing to ensure that construction of affordable housing can resume in Ville Marie, Michaud said. However, he added, the 121-page study wasn't designed to produce a cost estimate, and didn't. Across Montreal as a whole in 2006, there was a slight decline in the production of what is considered affordable housing as a proportion of overall residential construction - to 12.3 per cent in 2006 from 13.8 per cent in 2005. As a 10-year objective from 2004, the city's urban plan foresees construction of between 60,000 and 75,000 new housing units. Of those, 30 per cent, or 18,000 to 22,500 units, would be considered affordable, units occupied by households with annual income of $55,000 or less. Half of these would be government-financed housing for low- or very-low-income tenants, with annual revenue of $35,000 or less. "Downtown, there is a long way to go," Michaud said. About 58 per cent of households in Ville Marie report annual income of $35,000 or less, according to the study. Across all of Montreal's 19 boroughs, the proportion is a significantly less 47 per cent. [email protected] © The Gazette 2008 http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=e349d22d-d262-45e3-bcef-537dbd1cc360
  11. Canada falls behind in basic worker benefits: McGill study Doesn't measure up to other countries on sick leave, vacation time and breastfeeding breaks MIKE KING, The Gazette Published: 6 hours ago mike king the gazette Canada is perennially a top-10 finisher in United Nations rankings as one of the best countries in the world to live in. But a new McGill University study indicates that Canada lags behind many other countries on some basic worker benefits. The school's Institute for Health and Social Policy conducted recently an international survey that is the first research of its type to measure Canadian laws and practices vs. those of 180 other countries in such areas as maternity leave, annual paid vacations, sick leave and breaks for breastfeeding mothers. The Work Equity Canada (WECan) index, conducted by the institute's Jody Heymann, Martine Chaussard and Megan Gerecke, found Canada scores well for having policies that guarantee paid leave to care for dependents with serious illnesses. But Canada fared worse in other areas. The 78-page report notes: - In nearly 90 other countries, workers are guaranteed three weeks or more of paid leave a year, while most Canadian workers with a year's tenure are guaranteed only two. In Ontario, Prince Edward Island and the Yukon, even workers with long service are guaranteed just two weeks of vacation. - At least 156 countries provide leave for sick workers, 81 of them offering full wage replacement. Canada guarantees just more than half as much, 55 per cent of insurable income, with most provinces and territories not guaranteeing job protection during leaves of more than 12 days. - More than 100 countries officially provide new mothers in the formal workforce with complete wage replacement during maternity leave. Most women in Canada are only guaranteed 55 per cent of their insurable income during maternity leave. Quebec is the exception, with women receiving 70 to 75 per cent of their insured income. - Since breastfeeding has been proven to dramatically reduce illness and death among infants and toddlers, 114 countries have laws guaranteeing women the right to a break to breastfeed at work. Not a single province guarantees the same benefit. On leave for dependents with serious illnesses, Canada is one of 39 countries with such leaves with pay and among them one of only 16 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development members making the guarantee. Institute director Heymann notes there's a wide variation in laws and practices from province to province, especially when it comes to helping parents handle pregnancy and childbirth. "Quebec offers parents more choice, higher wage replacement rates and five weeks paternity leave for men's exclusive use," Heymann said. "In addition, Quebec allows self-employed workers to opt out into parental benefits," she added. "No such provisions exist for self-employed workers in the rest of Canada" - a group that makes up 15 per cent of the employed workforce. René Roy, secretary-general of the Quebec Federation of Labour, said he's studying the McGill report and isn't ready yet to comment on it. To view the full report, visit http://www.mcgill.ca/ihsp [email protected]
  12. Article intéressant... IMF debunks myth: Taxing rich not bad for economy OTTAWA -- A new paper by researchers at the International Monetary Fund appears to debunk a tenet of conservative economic ideology -- that taxing the rich to give to the poor is bad for the economy. The paper by IMF researchers Jonathan Ostry, Andrew Berg and Charalambos Tsangarides will be applauded by politicians and economists who regard high levels of income inequality as not only a moral stain on society but also economically unsound. Labelled as the first study to incorporate recently compiled figures comparing pre- and post-tax data from a large number of countries, the authors say there is convincing evidence that lower net inequality is good economics, boosting growth and leading to longer-lasting periods of expansion. In the most controversial finding, the study concludes that redistributing wealth, largely through taxation, does not significantly impact growth unless the intervention is extreme. In fact, because redistributing wealth through taxation has the positive impact of reducing inequality, the overall affect on the economy is to boost growth, the researchers conclude. "We find that higher inequality seems to lower growth. Redistribution, in contrast, has a tiny and statistically insignificant (slightly negative) effect," the paper states. "This implies that, rather than a trade-off, the average result across the sample is a win-win situation, in which redistribution has an overall pro-growth effect." While the paper is heavy on the economics, there is no mistaking the political implications in the findings. In Canada, the Liberal party led by Justin Trudeau is set to make supporting the middle class a key plank in the upcoming election and the NDP has also stressed the importance of tackling income inequality. Stephen Harper's Conservatives have boasted that tax cuts, particularly deep reductions in corporate taxation, are at least partly responsible for why the Canadian economy outperformed other G7 countries both during and after the 2008-09 recession. In the Commons on Tuesday, Employment Minister Jason Kenney said the many tax cuts his government has introduced since 2006, including a two-percentage-point trim of the GST, has helped most Canadians. Speaking on a Statistics Canada report showing net median family wealth had increased by 44.5 per cent since 2005, he added: "It is no coincidence because, with the more than 160 tax cuts by this government, Canadian families, on average, have seen their after-tax disposable income increase by 10 per cent across all income categories. We are continuing to lead the world on economic growth and opportunity for working families." The authors concede that their conclusions tend to contradict some well-accepted orthodoxy, which holds that taxation is a job killer. But they say that many previous studies failed to make a distinction between pre-tax inequality and post-tax inequality, hence often compared apples to oranges, among other shortcomings. The data they looked at showed almost no negative impact from redistribution policies and that economies where incomes are more equally distributed tend to grow faster and have growth cycles that last longer. Meanwhile, they say the data is not crystal clear that even large redistributions have a direct negative impact, although "from history and first principles ... after some point redistribution will be destructive of growth." Still, they also stop short of saying their conclusions definitively settle the issue, acknowledging that it is a complex area of economic theory with many variables at play and a scarcity of hard data. Instead, they urge more rigorous study and say their findings "highlight the urgency of this agenda." The Washington-based institution released the study Wednesday morning but, perhaps due to the controversial nature of the conclusions, calls it a "staff discussion note" that does "not necessarily" represent the IMF views or policy. It was authorized for distribution by Olivier Blanchard, the IMF's chief economist. Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/imf-debunks-myth-taxing-rich-not-bad-for-economy-1.1704643#ixzz2uRo5ElZH
  13. The food court king He's conquered the malls — now Stanley Ma is ready to take on the Street. By Joanna Pachner It's 12:45 p.m. on a weekday in May at the Place Vertu food court, and the only counter with a lineup is Thai Express. The 1970s–era shopping centre in Montreal's Saint–Laurent suburb has seen better days but, in at least one way, it's cutting–edge: unbeknownst to the diners, this food court serves as a laboratory for MTY Food Group, where it develops and perfects its new fast–food concepts. The company, whose office is located kitty–corner to the mall, currently has eight banners here, and the landlord allows it to test new formats when a location opens up. MTY's most recent introductions—Tandori, Kim Chi Korean Delight and Vie&Nam—were all fine–tuned at Place Vertu. With 21 different dining options, the food court, like those in most other large malls, resembles an international food bazaar, a huge change from what peckish shoppers would have found a few decades ago. "When I started 30 years ago, you'd have Chinese, Italian, a burger place and maybe one more, and that'd be it," says Stanley Ma, MTY's founder and chief executive. "Now you walk in and say, 'Wow! I have $20. What am I going to have today?'" No one has been more responsible for this transformation than Ma. The Hong Kong immigrant has developed, licensed or acquired 26 brands of quick–service fare—from Mexican to Japanese, from doughnut to health nut—and he's busy expanding his smorgasbord. Already the most diversified food franchisor in the country, MTY has quickened its pace of growth in the past three years, during which it almost doubled its number of outlets. Last year's surprising acquisition of Country Style Food Services Holdings, Ontario's second–largest coffee chain, boosted MTY's store count by nearly 50%, and the most recent addition—Quebec hot–dogs–and–fries specialist Groupe Valentine, a deal that closed earlier this month—has brought the total to more than 1,700 restaurants that ring in about US$400 million in annual sales. The company bought three chains in 2009 alone, and launched four internally developed banners within the past two years. It's not just the growth that's impressing industry observers but the company's consistently strong performance. MTY's most recent quarterly results widely beat market expectations. "It's an extremely well–run business," says Leon Aghazarian, a consumer products analyst with Industrial Alliance Securities in Montreal. "Stanley is very experienced. The strength lies there." Yet while Ma has made no secret of his acquisitive hunger, he's a growth–focused entrepreneur with a deeply conservative streak. He eschews debt. He only buys profitable players with clear synergies for MTY. And he's wary of easy money. When restaurant franchisors converted en masse to income trusts a decade ago, he resisted calls to follow suit. Now, with trusts set to lose their preferential tax treatment next year, the sector is scrambling for alternatives and "I look like a genius," says Ma with a chortle. More important, his rivals' predicament positions MTY, long an industry consolidator, to take advantage of those who'd rather sell than face the cost of another conversion. A middle–aged man with a formal manner occasionally lightened by corny jokes, Ma isn't rushing into any hasty unions. Known as a very private individual who says no to suitors much more than he says yes, he seems to prefer to fly under the market's radar. Few people outside the industry have heard of him or his company, and investor interest remains muted despite the rapid proliferation of MTY banners. A teenage immigrant from Hong Kong (his English remains heavily accented and he doesn't speak French), Ma opened his first venue, a Chinese and Polynesian restaurant, in 1979, at the age of 29. Within a few years, however, he switched to fast–food franchising—then a novel business model in Canada—seeing an opportunity in supplying immigrants like himself with a chance to run their own operations. Food courts presented ideal locations for new brands with little name recognition, since consumers tend to choose where they take their trays based on gustatory whim rather than brand loyalty. As such, there is little need for marketing beyond mouth–watering menu boards and frequently changing specials. And, as Ma added new banners to his original Chinese chain Tiki Ming, he was able to leverage his landlord relationships. "He would typically own the lease, so if one brand didn't work out, he could put in another," says Brian Pow, vice–president of research at Acumen Capital Finance Partners in Calgary and a longtime MTY watcher. Ma's dominance of shopping malls and cinemas bestowed on him the moniker "king of food courts." Ma's early ambition was to be able to drive from Montreal to Quebec City and stop every hour at one of his outlets. While most Canadian restaurant companies have either a single brand (like A&W or Pizza Pizza) or a handful they oversee as a master franchisee (Priszm Income Fund, for example, is the Canadian parent to KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut), MTY's multiplying offerings allowed it to match the cuisine to each location and demographic. Ma has tended to look for master franchisees with strong financial know–how and expansionist ambitions. MTY simply collects royalties, with little need for capital investment, says Aghazarian. "The business is a cash cow. There is almost no risk associated with it." This low–risk philosophy is how MTY ended up in the Middle East, of all places. In the mid–2000s, the company was approached by a restaurant operator serving the Arab Emirates who was looking to franchise three of its banners. The relationship has since grown to encompass seven brands and several nearby countries, but MTY is protected: it doesn't sign the leases and has no liability exposure. "Even if it flops, it won't damage MTY's image here," says Aghazarian. Nevertheless, the region is on track to account for 5% of MTY's stores by year–end. So when, in April of 2009, MTY bought Country Style, observers found the deal uncharacteristically rife with pitfalls—an also–ran brand in a highly competitive market. It was also an unusually large acquisition for MTY. Still, the chain had been sprucing up its stores since it emerged from bankruptcy protection seven years earlier, adopting a format similar to market leader Tim Hortons. For MTY, which ran Yogen Früz and Cultures banners in Ontario but was largely clustered in Quebec, Country Style represented a quick surge within Canada's biggest province. Ma also saw co–branding opportunities, and within months of purchase, he started teaming more than a dozen Country Styles with his TCBY yogurt chain. Other pairings will follow. He points out that in a 3,000–square–foot store, Country Style can do $600,000 per year in revenue and, say, Thai Express another $750,000, thus raking in $1.3 million from a single venue. The approach fits MTY's operating philosophy: "The returns are good, the investment small," says Ma. Ma's long been interested in the coffee sector. "Coffee is a good business," he says, tenting his fingers thoughtfully. "The profit margins are very good, and it will help MTY's other brands because of the buying power of the coffee bean." MTY had looked at Country Style several years earlier but walked away. Ma won't specify the reasons—"I don't want to hurt the feelings of other people we dealt with," he says in his typically courtly manner—but it came down to sticker shock. By 2009, Country Style's revamp was further along and MTY had greater financial means, says Ma. "I also felt comfortable with the Country Style management." (Rick Martens, who has run the chain since it emerged from bankruptcy protection, remains at the helm.) Since the takeover, MTY's operating expertise has proven useful. Observers say that Ma has trimmed slack in distribution and at the head office. Ma simply observes: "If you're a hockey player and become a coach, you know it makes sense to do it this way because you know what it's like." Acumen's Pow, however, questions whether the Country Style game plan has played out as smoothly as Ma claims. "It's been a big challenge for Country Style to cater to a different audience with a different product mix," he says. "And Stanley's idea that he could bring in other brands, I don't think it's been as successful as he'd hoped. [The transition] has been longer and slower than expected." Ma has grown accustomed by now to strategic second–guessing. The pressure was at its height back in the early 2000s, when numerous financiers were banging the drum for him to convert to a royalty trust, in which cash distributions are set as a percentage of top–line revenue. "When we trade over $2, they say, 'You're ready [to convert],'" recalls Ma. "When we trade over $5, they say, 'I guarantee, Stanley, if you convert, you'll go to $8.' Then they say, 'Stanley, if you don't go to income trust, don't come to see me anymore.'" Ma clearly relishes having been proven right, though he had no inkling about Ottawa's tax treatment flip–flop. His motivation was simply to use his cash to grow the company without taking on debt. When he was first urged to make MTY a trust, he had fewer than 200 stores. "I thought they were pushing MTY to run too fast," he says. One of MTY's strengths is its willingness and ability to respond to consumers' changing tastes. Of the 26 brands MTY controls today, 10 were developed in–house to exploit new trends. The past few years have been all about Asian food, says Ma—Korean, Indian, Vietnamese. Thai Express became MTY's most successful brand after Ma bought the small chain in 2004 and merged it with his nascent Pad Thai. Meanwhile, pizza and Italian food more broadly are in decline. But for all that ethnic variety, the single best–selling fast–food item remains french fries. And that happens to be the strong suit of Groupe Valentine, a 95–store, family–run chain based in small–town Saint–Hyacinthe east of Montreal. Valentine mainly serves rural and suburban markets—areas where MTY has little presence and wants more. And though MTY has a competing banner in the 20–store Franx Supreme, Franx has been a performance laggard. According to MTY spokesman Jean–Francois Dubé, Franx will likely be merged with Valentine, and then under the Valentine name will venture into Ontario, where Franx has one location and Valentine has none. Ma is eager to keep growing his Ontario business where, thanks to the Country Style purchase, MTY now has 41% of its stores—more than in Quebec. He gained a foothold out west, meanwhile, with the 2008 purchase of Canadian rights to American banner Taco Time. However, he has no plan to head across the border, despite another chorus of investment bankers pushing him on. "I believe the States is a dangerous place for retailers," says Ma. "It's a different animal, has different rules, mentality." Canada still has lots of room for MTY, he argues. Instead, he wants to reach 2,000 locations before he considers an American expansion. Besides, Ma may get tasty opportunities amid the income trust shakeout. Ottawa's move to phase out trusts depressed many restaurant operators' shares, as investors assumed no other structure would be as lucrative and the roughly half–a–million cost of conversion to a corporation would cut into profits. Most food franchisors, like MTY, rely on royalty fees paid by franchisees and so lack assets they can depreciate to offset taxes. "These structures are not viable post–tax," wrote Turan Quettawala, a Scotia Capital analyst, in a 2009 report. Nevertheless, some—including Pizza Pizza, Boston Pizza and A&W—have opted to remain trusts for now. Prime Restaurant Royalty Income Fund (owner of East Side Mario's and Casey's, among others) and Imvescor Restaurant Group Inc. (Pizza Delight, Baton Rouge), meanwhile, have chosen to convert to corporations. So far, there haven't been many deals. Private equity, which prefers operating control, has shown little interest. Will MTY make a move? "There's definite potential for them to move in on one of the pizza guys," says Aghazarian, and Priszm is rumoured to be looking for a buyer. Ma says he's holding numerous talks—mainly with those pesky investment bankers looking to arrange a marriage from which they can profit. But he adds, "We're not going to do a deal just to be in the newspaper for 24 hours." Meanwhile, MTY has some challenges of its own to address. Most notably, its same–store sales have been dwindling by 1% to 2% for several quarters, though the rate of decline has slowed and the fast–food market is improving. "If they're only acquisition–driven, that's dangerous," says Aghazarian. Acumen's Pow is more concerned with Ma's poor job of exploiting public markets. In May, MTY moved from the TSX Venture Exchange to the main board, but "[stanley] doesn't really market his stock," says Pow. "There are days I ask why he hasn't gone private. Since he went public, he did only one [equity] raise." It merits noting that Acumen was one of the investment firms that nudged MTY toward income trusts a few years ago. Today, Pow credits Ma with managing to finance his business while resisting the pressures of the market's expectations. But, he says, "Stanley has to ask himself, What's the succession plan? The more control is in the marketplace, the better you'll do in a takeout." Ma shows little interest in being taken out. His three kids all work in the business, and his ambitions keep growing—at his own conservative pace. He long ago achieved his initial goal of an MTY restaurant every hour along the Monteal–Quebec route. His next target—2,000 stores—isn't far away; by this summer, the company opened more new locations than it had projected for all of 2010. Ma's current focus lies in an area he worried little about when he started: building brand equity. While 80% of MTY's stores were once in food courts, today only about 30% are, due largely to the acquisition of Country Style, Taco Time and a few other banners that all had a heavy street presence. There, promotion matters for building destination traffic, so MTY is shifting marketing dollars from menu upgrades to billboard and bus advertising. The king of food courts, accustomed to the low–investment and low–risk climate of indoor counters, realizes that to grow to 3,000 restaurants and beyond, he needs to expand outside. "We're gaining confidence that, yes, we can handle the street, that brand power is there now," says Ma. "Customers know what to expect from Thai Express, like they know what to expect from McDonald's." The reclusive immigrant is ready for some spotlight. "I want [my brands] to be like the big boys, recognition–wise," says Ma. "Hopefully, one day someone travels to Dubai and says, 'Oh, Thai Express! I know it.'" http://www.canadianbusiness.com/managing/strategy/article.jsp?content=20101011_10022_10022&page=1
  14. Peladeau shakes up Sun Media management The Canadian Press November 7, 2008 at 11:09 AM EST MONTREAL — Quebecor Inc. chief executive Pierre Karl Peladeau has shaken up the leadership of the company's media holdings while reporting a third-quarter profit of $45.6-million, reversing a loss of $35.2-million a year earlier. Mr. Peladeau noted “disappointing results in publishing and at Sun Media,” and personally took leadership of Sun Media Corp. and the Canoe online operation. Michael Sifton, president of Sun Media, “will be leaving the company as his position will now be undertaken by Mr. Peladeau,” Quebecor said in a release shortly after reporting its latest results. Mr. Sifton had taken the job in September 2007 after Quebecor's takeover of his Osprey Media newspaper group of small Ontario newspapers. Quebecor Inc. “The speed with which business models are required to change, combined with an uncertain economic context and more difficult advertising conditions, calls for a clearly defined strategic and operational vision,” Mr. Peladeau said in a release. “To ensure that our efforts and resources are better co-ordinated, I will now take charge the leadership of both our newspaper segment and our Web portal.” The integration of Sun Media and Canoe under one leader “will help to maximize growth opportunities and synergies, and accelerate the migration of information and contents generated by the various publications to cross-platform supports,” Quebecor stated. Added Mr. Peladeau: “Michael has played an important role, in particular by ensuring the smooth integration of two major publishers, and by preparing Sun Media Corporation's expansion in Internet and new digital technology. As such, he has contributed to the development of our vision for the future.” In a separate statement, Mr. Sifton said: “I am happy to have been given the opportunity to integrate Osprey Media in Sun Media organization. I leave behind talented people and a strong team that will no doubt successfully take on the challenges that our changing environment is bringing.” In its financial report, Quebecor said revenue increased by $73.5-million or 8.8 per cent to $908.1-million in the third quarter, with the improvement driven by the media and telecommunications group's Videotron cable subsidiary, Quebec's largest cable TV operator. Quebecor said its net income was worth 70 cents per share, compared with a year-ago loss of 55 cents per share. Income from continuing operations adjusted for one-time items edged up by $300,000 to $42.4-million, or 65 cents per share. Cable-segment operating income grew 17 per cent to $28.7-million, and Quebecor confirmed plans to spend between $800-million and $1-billion over four years to build out a wireless network. This includes $554.6-million for operating licences. “In a challenging business environment, Quebecor posted strong third-quarter 2008 results, driven by its cable segment, which continued logging substantial customer growth for all services,” Mr. Peladeau stated. He noted that Quebecor has already arranged the funding for the 17 mobile-phone network licences, and “in these times of tight credit markets, it is important to mention that future investment in this project does not rely on access to capital markets; it will be funded through cash flow generation and available credit facilities.” In early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, Quebecor shares fell 90 cents to $19.75, a drop of 4.4 per cent. Quebecor Inc., with 52,000 employees is a major newspaper publisher, cable TV operator, television broadcaster and commercial printer. It also has operations in magazine and book publishing. The holding company holds a 54.7 per cent stake of Quebecor Media Inc., which owns Videotron Ltd., the largest cable operator in Quebec and a major provider of Internet and telecom services, and Sun Media, a major newspaper chain with tabloid dailies across the country and other assets. Other Quebecor Media holdings include TVA Group Inc., the largest French language TV network in Quebec, a number of specialty channels, the English language station Sun TV, and Canoe Inc., operator of a network of English- and French language Internet properties.
  15. Rich Canadians have bigger carbon footprint Size matters. Study links national income, consumption JOHN MORRISSY, Canwest News Service Published: 8 hours ago When it comes to ecological footprints, wealthy Canadians are a confirmed size 12, creating a global warming impact 66 per cent greater than the average household, according to a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The study is the first to link national income and consumption patterns with global warming, and it showed that the richest 10 per cent of Canadians create an environmental footprint that's 2.5 times the size of those created by the lowest 10 per cent on an income scale. "When we look at where the environmental impact of human activity comes from, we see that size really does matter," said Hugh Mackenzie, a research associate for the Ottawa-based think-tank and co-author of the study. "Higher-income Canadians create a much bigger footprint than poorer Canadians." The study revealed a gradual progression of environmental impact going up the income scale, but a marked jump with the richest 10 per cent. In fact, the highest 10 per cent has an environmental impact that's one third larger than the next lower 10 per cent, Mackenzie said. The differences stem largely from the homes wealthy people own and the way they get around, Mackenzie said. The top 10 per cent own homes that are larger, cost more to build and to heat, and they are more likely to own more than one vehicle and travel more frequently by air, Mackenzie said. The impact of food consumption, on the other hand, hardly varies from one income group to another. The study measures environmental impact in terms of the amount of hectares it would take to sustain a certain level of consumption. When it comes to the wealthiest Canadians, their environmental footprint requires 12.4 hectares per capita, compared with the average Canadian's 7.5-hectare footprint. Globally, the average Canadian's footprint is still several times the average of those in poorer nations. What the study highlights, Mackenzie said, is the need for policy-makers to realize how activities related to global warming concentrate themselves in the upper income groups. Failing to recognize that could lead to policies that penalize lower-income Canadians yet fail to achieve their objectives, he said. "All Canadians share responsibility for global warming," said co-author Rick Smith. "But wealthier Canadians are leaving behind a disproportionately larger footprint - and should be expected to make a disproportionate contribution to its reduction." http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/business/story.html?id=57768cfb-8144-4ae2-b235-3a045d045065
  16. Flat tax would make today's tax-filing ordeal simpler and more fair NIELS VELDHUISThe Gazette Wednesday, April 30, 2008 Today is the tax-filing deadline. As we hunkered down over our computers and waded through piles of receipts and pages of complicated forms this month, many of us rightly questioned the complexity of Canada's tax system. The total costs associated with paying personal income taxes and the cost of tax software and accounting services amount to upward of $3.9 billion a year. It need not be this way. If Canada adopted a flat tax, taxpayers could complete and file their taxes in about five minutes on a postcard-size tax form. A recent study, A Flat Tax for Canada, by tax expert and University of Stanford Professor Alvin Rabushka, proposes just that: a 15-per-cent flat tax and postcard-size tax returns for both individuals and businesses. The 15-per- cent flat tax would collect the same amount of revenue as the federal government currently collects but do so in a manner that is much less damaging and distorting. The flat tax would simplify Canada's tax code through the elimination of nearly all deductions, exemptions and credits that complicate the current tax system. For individuals, only a few basic calculations would be needed to determine the amount of tax owing or refund due. Simply add up one's income from wages, salaries, and retirement benefits; subtract the basic personal exemption (the amount of income individuals can earn tax free); and multiply the remainder by 15 per cent. Gone are the numerous and interlinked tax forms of the present personal-income-tax system; gone are the myriad of tax credits and deductions; and gone is the complicated and time-consuming paperwork. Individuals would no longer need to report income derived from such sources as dividends, capital gains, or interest, as these types of income would be taxed at their source - the business level. This means businesses would pay tax on all the income they generate except the income earned by workers. For approximately 85 per cent of Canadian taxpayers, filling out a postcard tax return would be all that is required to pay their income taxes. The self-employed and a few others would need to fill out an equally simple business tax form. For businesses, all income from the sale of goods and services would be subject to the flat tax. Deductions would be limited to the cost of materials, wages and salaries, and capital investments (buildings, equipment and land). Other income would be taxed at the same rate as individual income. Not only would a flat tax dramatically simplify the tax system, it would also have a significant impact on the Canadian economy. First, a flat tax would replace the existing four federal income-tax rates with one low rate thereby eliminating the barrier that discourages Canadians from saving, investing or working harder to earn more money. Research clearly shows that tax rates that increase as individuals earn more money through hard work act as a disincentive for such work. A flat tax would also have a significant impact on investment in Canada. Since businesses are permitted to deduct the full value of capital investments (buildings, equipment and land) in the year of purchase, the tax burden on investments would be significantly reduced and would increase the amount of investment undertaken by businesses. International evidence clearly shows that Canada would benefit greatly from a flat tax. In fact, more than 20 jurisdictions around the world, most notably Hong Kong and more recently a number of former Soviet republics, have implemented flat taxes. Hong Kong built itself into an economic giant using the flat tax as its fiscal anchor. Similarly, Slovakia, which adopted a flat tax in 2004, has since become Europe's fastest growing economy and a beacon for foreign investment. At this time of year most Canadians become frustrated at just how unwieldy, complicated, and littered with exemptions for special interests our tax code has become. Replacing Canada's personal and business income-tax system with a flat tax will save money, make everyone's taxes easier to calculate, and strengthen the Canadian economy. A few key strokes on a calculator, a minute or two to fill out a postcard return, and voilà, off to Ottawa, with love. Niels Veldhuis is director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=1bf2b616-0b3e-456d-9a44-5d51eeeb04b0
  17. We Win We Win!! #1! It can never be said enough, apparently: Quebecers continue to pay some of the highest taxes in North America, according to a new study released today by Canadian public-policy think-tank the Fraser Institute. The study, Quebec’s Tax Competitiveness: A Barrier to Prosperity, compares Quebec’s personal, corporate, and payroll tax rates to other Canadian provinces and American states in 2014, and examines the effect on Quebec’s economic performance over the past 10 years. “Across the income scale, Quebecers pay more in taxes than virtually anyone else in Canada and the United States,” said Sean Speer, study co-author and associate director of the Fraser Institute’s Centre for Fiscal Studies. For example, Quebecers making $50,000 a year pay 16.37 per cent in provincial income taxes, the highest rate among all Canadian provinces and U.S. states, while Quebecers making $150,000 pay 20.97 per cent, the second highest rate for that income category. Quebec also has a higher corporate tax rate (11.9 per cent) than Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. Quebec’s lack of tax competitiveness, particularly for individuals, has contributed to a relatively poor economic performance over the past decade, the study says. When taxes are high, individuals save less money, fewer new businesses spring up, and established businesses hire less people and curb their investments, the study says. “There’s no doubt taxes play a vital role in society, but to improve Quebec’s economic prospects and competitiveness in North America, Quebecers and the Quebec businesses need a lighter tax burden,” Speer said. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  18. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=7055599&page=1 Video clip from 20/20 at link as well.
  19. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Montreal+severely+unaffordable/4167729/story.html#ixzz1CBr3AL86
  20. L'idée n'est pas de répartir le débat ici, juste de mettre en ligne ce qui s'écrit sur le Québec à l'étranger. Free lunches, please Protests against tuition fee increases could help an unpopular government May 5th 2012 | OTTAWA | from the print edition Sure beats studying IN THE past year students protesting over the cost of university education in business-friendly Chile have captured the world’s attention. In recent months their counterparts in statist Quebec have taken up the cause. Since February about a third of the province’s 450,000 university students have boycotted classes to oppose the tuition-fee increases planned by Jean Charest, the province’s Liberal premier. Some have blocked roads and vandalised government buildings. On April 25th and 26th around 115 people were arrested, following evening protests that turned into window-smashing in central Montreal. Quebeckers have long seen cheap university education as a birthright. The decision by the centrist Liberals to double fees in 1990 was one reason why they lost control of the province. Their successor was the separatist Parti Québécois (PQ), which responded to a student strike in 1996 by freezing tuition fees for 11 years. But Mr Charest is now in a fiscal squeeze. He has promised to cut a C$3.8 billion ($3.8 billion) deficit to C$1.5 billion this year. Quebec spends 4.6% of its budget on universities, mainly because its fees are the lowest among Canadian provinces. In humanities and social sciences, which have the highest share of striking students, Quebec charges C$2,845 and C$2,629 a year, a bit over half the average in all other provinces. To help close the gap, Mr Charest proposed raising annual fees by a total of C$1,625 over the next five years. When the protests began the government vowed not to negotiate. It soon backtracked, proposing making student loans easier to get, linking repayment to income after graduation, stretching the fee increase over seven years and offering an additional C$39m in bursaries. But the student groups insist on an absolute tuition freeze. Their hard line may help Mr Charest at a tough time. He would love to call an election before an inquiry into corruption in Quebec’s construction industry, which may leave his party squirming, begins in June. But his government is unpopular: an April poll found that 73% of Quebeckers are unhappy with its performance. The opposition PQ has allied itself with the protesters, even putting the students’ red-square logo on its website. That may prove unwise: a recent online poll found that 79% of Quebeckers oppose raising income taxes to pay for universities. If the Liberals can tie the PQ to the movement’s intransigence, Mr Charest might yet risk an early vote and hope to eke out a win. http://www.economist.com/node/21554254
  21. 10. Port Richey, Florida: $59,900 9. Holiday, Florida: $59,900 8. Youngstown, Ohio: $57,550 7. Dearborn Heights, Michigan: $55,000 6. Whiting, New Jersey: $52,450 5. Warren, Michigan: $49,900 4. Redford, Michigan: $40,000 3. Gary, Indiana: $39,900 2. Flint, Michigan: $31,950 1. Detroit, Michigan: $21,000 Cities Where Homes Cost Less Than a Car July 20, 2012 by 247wallst Source: Flickr - Marshall Astor For many Americans, homeownership is the epitome of living the American dream. Yet, in towns with high tumbling home prices and double-digit vacancy rates, median-priced homes now cost the equivalent of new American cars — except, as investments go, they’re slightly more risky. Read: Cities Where Homes Cost Less Than a Car Call it the dark side of the American dream – but if you can only afford to buy just one, which would you choose? In hard-hit cities, why own a home when you can rent one without the risk of foreclosure if your job falls through? Or, for about the same money, you can sport new wheels, facing only the risk of repossession — a lesser credit report complication than a foreclosure. While a car is unlikely to increase in value, its depreciation is both more manageable and predictable than a home. “Buying a home in most places is risky,” says Jed Kolko, chief economist and head of analytics at real estate site Trulia. These high risks in towns such as Detroit, Michigan or Youngstown, Ohio have helped depress housing prices. And until the labor market improves there’s no real chance of a strong recovery in housing. “Towns with a history of job losses probably won’t see big price gains, especially if they have high vacancy rates, because it means buyers have a lot of homes to choose from,” says Kolko. This quandary is especially meaningful to residents of Motor City, who have experienced deepening levels of housing hell in recent years. Much has been written about Detroit’s high misery index, and the challenges of thriving in a city with high unemployment, high crime rates, and city services under severe budgetary constraints. And yet, for those willing to take a long view of the city, Detroit also offers amazing bargains to residents dedicated to living in that community. Despite its problems, even in Detroit, it’s not unusual for multiple buyers to vie for an appealing home in a nice neighborhood. The city has one of the highest rental vacancy rates in America and boasts a four-month supply of homes on the market, according to a recent report in the Detroit Free Press. A buyer’s market is typically six or more months’ supply. Many residents of depressed cities in Michigan, Florida, Indiana and Ohio have been slammed by job losses and tumbling housing prices, too, and recovery is coming slowly if at all. Yet, on the positive side, these towns also offer a low cost of living by American standards that make for attractive buy-side opportunities for those willing to take a long view of homeownership. 24/7 Wall St. asked Trulia, a leading provider of real estate listings and market data, to identify and rank cities by the median prices of homes sold last year. Trulia limited the list to markets with an adequate supply of non-foreclosure, single-family homes, which ruled out markets that may have unusual spikes in median sales prices. To provide further context of how economic data can impact local housing market conditions we also gathered median-income data as well as Q1 2012 vacancy rates from the U.S. Census Bureau, unemployment numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and June 2012 foreclosure figures from RealtyTrac. With home prices at 30-year lows and mortgages available at record low rates, some residents in troubled cities will be tempted to take the plunge and buy a home. Yet, amid this fledgling recovery there’s still the allure of plunking down a small deposit and buying a car that can take you to a city that offers a healthier housing market and stronger long-term job prospects. These are the cities where homes cost less than a car. 10. Port Richey, Fla. >Median listing price: $59,900 >Comparably priced car: Cadillac CTS-V ($71,000) >Housing price change (year over year): -0.1% >Median household income: $31,016 >Unemployment rate: 8.6% Port Richey was clearly devastated by foreclosures, job losses and builders who overestimated demand for new homes. That’s evident in its whopping 24.7% vacant housing rate, which is more than twice the national average. Housing prices in the area have fallen 48% from their peak, according to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) data. Also Read: The Fastest Growing Cities in America 9. Holiday, Fla. >Median listing price: $59,900 >Comparably priced car: Tesla Model S ($69,900 with 85 kwh battery) >Housing price change (year over year): -0.1% >Median household income: $37,240 >Unemployment: 8.6% Holiday’s 22.2% vacant housing rate, nearly twice the national average, is a hole so big that it will take years for housing demand to match supply. The 8.6% unemployment rate, though unexceptional for America, may further stunt a local recovery. Like neighboring Port Richey, housing prices have also plummeted 48% from their peak, according to the FHFA. 8. Youngstown, Ohio >Median listing price: $57,550 >Comparably priced car: Chevy Suburban ($68,900) >Housing price change (year over year): n/a >Median household income: $25,002 >Unemployment: 7.4% Just as the age of a tree is revealed by rings in its trunk, the age of a town’s housing stock, coupled by new construction rates, speaks volumes about the sturdiness of a city. In the U.S., only 14.4% of homes were built before 1940; in Youngstown, it’s more than 40%. New home construction is at a standstill. Nearly 19% of homes stand vacant, which places further downward pressure on a local recovery. 7. Dearborn Heights, Mich. >Median listing price: $55,000 >Comparably priced car: Cadillac Escalade ($64,800) >Housing price change (year over year): 5.2% >Median household income: $48,905 >Unemployment: 9.9% The city of Dearborn Heights is home to many workers in the auto industry, so it is far from immune to housing and other economic issues plaguing many Michigan cities. Home prices in the city have fallen by a fairly drastic 55.2% since their peak, according to FHFA data. Yet Dearborn Heights would appear to have a little more upside than some of its neighboring cities if only because Ford is preserving it, and because the number of residents earning more than $100,000 annually remains in line with national averages, unlike any of the other cities on this list. 6. Whiting, N.J. >Median listing price: $52,450 >Comparably priced car: Chevy Corvette Grand Sport ($64,650) >Housing price change (year over year): n/a >Median household income: $37,397 >Unemployment: 11.9% Whiting, an unincorporated area in Ocean County, is home to many retirement communities. The aging of the Baby Boomer population may help lead Whiting out of its funk. Unemployment isn’t especially high. In fact, unlike many other towns on this list, the vacant housing unit rate of 7.8% is below the national average of 11.8%. 5. Warren, Mich. > Median listing price: $49,900 >Comparably priced car: Lincoln Navigator ($59,900) >Housing price change (year over year): 6.5% >Median household income: $46,247 >Unemployment: 9.9% Chief among several promising housing trends for Warren is a surprisingly low homeowner vacancy rate, which suggests that the town has seen fewer foreclosures than many other cities in Michigan. Still, sales prices have dropped 35% over the past five years in Warren, says Trulia, which suggests that quite a few homeowners are underwater and perhaps holding onto their properties until things turn around. Also Read: Countries Where People Work Least 4. Redford, Mich. > Median listing price: $40,000 >Comparably priced car: Ford F-450 ($55,000) >Housing price change (year over year): 5.2% >Median household income: $52,573 >Unemployment: 9.9% Redford is not a large city, but it suffers from problems such as 1-in-159 homes in foreclosure, the worst rate among cities on this list. It also has aging homes, most of which were built just after World War II and may be expensive to maintain. Like Warren, prices have dropped by 38.5% from their peak according to FHFA data. On the bright side, at $52,573 the average annual income in Redford is higher than in many of its neighboring cities on this list. 3. Gary, Ind. > Median listing price: $39,900 >Comparably priced car: Ford Expedition ($39,900) >Housing price change (year over year): – 7.5% >Median household income: $27,367 >Unemployment: 8.5% In Gary, as in most other troubled housing markets, employment or rather the lack of opportunities holds the key to its housing recovery. The current high unemployment rate is not a blip unfortunately — Gary has 3% fewer jobs than it did a decade ago, according to Trulia. Much of the local population lives at some of the nation’s lowest income levels as 46.5% earn under $25,000 annually according to Census economic data. Such data suggest that local businesses may have trouble leading the city of recession. 2. Flint, Mich. > Median listing price: $31,950 >Comparably priced car: Chrysler 300 ($31,950) >Housing price change (year over year): n/a >Median household income: $28,835 >Unemployment: 8.9% According to Trulia’s Kolko, both Flint and Detroit experienced significant housing-price declines, not because of overbuilding as in Florida but because of “long-term job decline coupled with declining populations.” Worse, Flint suffers from a significant amount of poverty with about 44% of the population earning under $25,000 a year according to Census economic data. Also Read: The Most Dangerous Cities in America 1. Detroit, Mich. >Median listing price: $21,000 >Comparably priced car: Chevy Malibu ($21,000) >Housing price change (year over year): 5.2% >Median household income: $29,447 >Unemployment: 9.9% Detroit’s leaders are committed to reducing spending and creating a more livable and prosperous city for families and businesses of all sizes. The local automotive economy is improving, especially as Chrysler stages a comeback from its near-death experience. Some may interpret a year-over-year housing price increase as a positive sign for Detroit’s future. But unkind economists might call it a dead-cat bounce. Unemployment is not merely high, population is decreasing, and in 2010, one-in-five homes were vacant. Long term, that’s a lot of downward pressure on housing prices. Rusty Weston http://247wallst.com/2012/07/20/cities-where-homes-cost-less-than-a-car/3/
  22. 'Continue to lag significantly behind non-blacks on every success indicator' http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Invisible+barriers+hurt+black+Montrealers/2699666/story.html BY MARIAN SCOTT, THE GAZETTEMARCH 19, 2010 MONTREAL – Black Montrealers face "invisible barriers" to employment, education and home ownership that make them twice as likely to be poor and unemployed as the rest of the population, according to a major demographic study by McGill University. "Blacks continue to lag significantly behind non-blacks on every indicator of success," said the report by the Montreal Consortium on Human Rights Advocacy Training, led by social work professor Jim Torczyner. The comprehensive study, which examined employment, housing, youth, justice, immigration and education among the city's 173,000-member black community, is a follow-up to one in 1998. It shows that poverty and inequality continue to haunt black Montrealers, whose average annual income is $22,701, compared with $34,196 for the population as a whole. Unemployment among black Montrealers is more than twice as high: 13.4 per cent vs. 6.6 per cent. In Montreal - home to one in five black Canadians - the black population surged by 38 per cent from 1996 to 2006. One in two black Montrealers is under age 25. With the city's black community expected to rise by more than double, to 381,000 from 173,000, in the next 20 years, according to a recent Statistics Canada study, Torczyner called for a coordinated strategy to combat pervasive social and economic ills. "I think that study and this study provide a wakeup call, that we need to bring together the best minds in the black community, in government, in business, in labour unions to work together and find a solution," Torczyner said. "It's just a matter of the political will to move it forward and that will is necessary because it won't go away. It hasn't gotten better in 10 years." Almost half of black children in Montreal live in poverty and almost one-quarter of black females age 15 or over are single parents. Among black women age 45 to 64, more than one in three are single parents - that's 3 1/2 times the rate among non-black women. One-quarter of Montreal blacks age 25 to 44 are university graduates, compared with one-third of non-blacks in that age group. But even with an equivalent or better education than their non-black counterparts, blacks earn dramatically less, the report said. Only 30 per cent of blacks with a master's degree or doctorate earn $45,000 or more a year, compared with 54 per cent of non-blacks with graduate degrees. Only 23 per cent of blacks with a bachelor's degree earned $45,000 or more, compared with 42 per cent of non-blacks. Almost seven of 10 blacks in Montreal have an annual income of less than $25,000. Only one-third of blacks own their own homes, compared to two-thirds of non-blacks. Frances Waithe, a community worker with the Desta Black Youth Network in Little Burgundy, called the study saddening and worrisome. "I'm concerned because 50 per cent of the black community consists of youth under 25," she said. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  23. Un article intéressant sur portfolio.com que j'ai trouvé sur skyscraperpage.com. Selon cet article et selon les revenus personnels disponible (API), Montréal serait, avec Riverside, les deux seuls villes capables de faire vivre une nouvelle équipe de Baseball... Et Montréal se classerait 3ème en Amérique du Nord pour attirer une franchise de la NFL ... Extrait de l'article Just two markets currently outside of MLB have income bases sufficiently large to join its ranks: Riverside-San Bernardino, California, and Montreal. And the latter is tainted because it lost a baseball franchise, the Expos, to Washington five years ago (the Expos were renamed the Nationals). La charte pour tous les sports http://www.portfolio.com/resources/SportsChart.pdf L'article: http://www.portfolio.com/industry-news/sports/2009/12/04/how-cities-rank-for-potential-sports-expansion/index1.html