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Viewpoint comparing the total tax burden on investment returns in large Canadian cities

When a company seeks a place to invest, it needs to take into account the investment-related tax burden to be sure of choosing the most favourable location. Taxes that are too high in one city will lead companies to turn to other cities, bringing with them the new jobs and economic spillover that accompany their investments. Does the City of Montreal do everything it can to entice investors?

Links of interest

November 24, 2015

24 November 2015

Research Paper describing how the courts might soon make more room for the private sector in the funding and delivery of care, and how this would benefit patients without threatening universality

Canadian patients still have very few options when it comes to health care services. The provision of care that is considered medically required remains largely monopolized by the public sector in each province. The role of private health insurance is limited solely to the coverage of services not insured by the public system. This Research Paper examines the legal challenges aiming to change Canada’s health care policies.

Links of interest

November 19, 2015

19 November 2015

Research Paper explaining the most relevant economic facts and overarching principles that should guide our climate change policy choices

The Paris Conference that opens on November 30, 2015, is drawing plenty of attention to the fight against climate change, an issue that blends political rhetoric, economic logic and climate science. The aim of this Research Paper is to make key climate change concepts easier to understand as well as to put the mechanisms discussed here in a Canadian context and to base public policy choices on the most relevant facts.

Highlights (pdf)

November 12, 2015

12 November 2015

Economic Note distinguishing the varied effects of different “austerity” measures aimed at balancing the budget

The public debate on budget austerity is very far removed from the way this concept is defined and studied in economics. The term “austerity” is most often used to refer to an amalgam of budgetary and tax measures aiming to balance the budget, without differentiating between these measures and their varied effects. This Economic Note provides an overview of the contributions of academic research regarding the effectiveness of different ways of balancing the budget.

October 8, 2015

8 October 2015

Viewpoint describing the effects of the heavier tax burden placed on mutual funds compared to other investment vehicles

With rising life expectancy, saving for retirement is becoming increasingly important. Government programs like RRSPs and TFSAs encourage Canadians to save by allowing them to shelter certain portions of their incomes from taxation. Governments undermine this objective, though, by excessively inflating mutual fund management fees with sales taxes.

October 1, 2015

1 October 2015

Economic Note showing that there is great social mobility in Canada, both from one generation to the next and within individuals’ own lives

The fate of the poorest members of our society is rightly a recurring subject of concern in economic debates. Certain statements commonly heard can, however, give the impression that there are a lot of low-income people in Canada, and that for the majority of them, poverty is a permanent state. This perception is actually contrary to the observed facts. As we shall see, the results of the available research are clear: Social mobility is high in Canada.

September 24, 2015

24 September 2015

Economic Note highlighting the positive effects of pedagogical autonomy and accountability of teachers and school principals on student results

Giving teachers and school principals more control over course content and teaching methods, all while rewarding or penalizing them according to the consequences of their decisions, could improve academic results. When autonomy and accountability are jointly applied, students generally achieve better grades, even when standard of living variances are taken into account.

August 27, 2015

27 August 2015

Economic Note estimating the likely costs in terms of jobs and economic activity of conservation measures to protect the boreal caribou

Since the addition of the boreal caribou to the threatened species list, the Quebec government has made considerable efforts to protect its habitat by limiting forestry companies’ access to the public forest. No one denies the need to have in place conservation measures for protecting biodiversity, as long as they have concrete positive effects and that the associated costs are not out of proportion with the goals. When it comes to the boreal caribou, though, these two criteria are not necessarily respected.

August 20, 2015

20 August 2015

Economic Note explaining the advantages of having a mixed public-private drug insurance system

In the last few months, the issue of drug insurance has returned to the forefront of public debate in Canada. Some of those speaking out on the topic have suggested replacing the current mixed public-private system run by the provinces with a fully public national pharmacare plan to make sure everyone is covered and to reduce costs. But this type of plan risks harming Canadians by limiting their access to drugs.

August 11, 2015

11 August 2015

Viewpoint describing the long history of budgetary deficits that led to the current Greek crisis

In discussions of the crisis in Greece, the issue of the responsibility of the Greeks for having gotten themselves into this situation is often ignored. The purpose of this Viewpoint is to remind readers that the Greek tragedy unfolding before our eyes did not happen overnight. Although surprising in its magnitude, this crisis is the result of a long history of budgetary deficits and of ruinous public spending decisions. Indeed, the Greek government has been living beyond its means for a very long time.

July 14, 2015

14 July 2015

Viewpoint making the case for the dismantlement of supply management for Canada's dairy, poultry, and egg industries

The ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations between 12 Pacific Rim nations, including Canada, are raising concerns among defenders of supply management policies for Canada’s dairy, poultry, and egg industries. The federal government is undoubtedly feeling pressure at the negotiating table to modify the system. But rather than making cosmetic alterations to placate our international trading partners, it could instead seize this opportunity to put a definitive end to Canada's anachronistic supply management policies.

June 17, 2015

17 June 2015

Viewpoint evaluating the timid health care reforms adopted in Quebec over the past decade

Ten years have passed since the Chaoulli decision, handed down by the Supreme Court of Canada in June 2005. The highest court in the land ruled then that when the government is unable to offer access to needed care within a reasonable time frame, the prohibition against purchasing private health insurance is a violation of the right to life and security of patients and runs counter to the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. How have waiting times in Quebec’s public health care system evolved since the Chaoulli decision?

June 4, 2015

4 June 2015

Economic Note providing an overview of the shale gas development debate from the point of view of landowners

The possibility of developing shale gas in the St. Lawrence Lowlands caused quite a stir in Quebec between 2008 and 2012. In this public debate, the projects put forward for developing this resource did not pass the test of social acceptability. The voices of environmentalist groups, well-organized and omnipresent in the media, carried further than those of industry promoters. Between these two poles, there are also those who have natural gas wells on their land.

May 27, 2015

27 May 2015

Research Paper analyzing various aspects of the Canadian telecommunications industry related to competition

The numerous interventions carried out by the federal government to encourage the establishment of a 4th wireless telephony player across the country will hurt consumers by undermining innovation in this industry. This is all the more worrisome given that important technological revolutions are in the works that will require billions of dollars of investments from the country’s telecommunications companies. This is one of the conclusions of the 2015 edition of The State of Competition in Canada’s Telecommunications Industry.

May 7, 2015

7 May 2015

Economic Note explaining the benefits to be gained by entrusting pharmacists with greater responsibilities

While Quebec’s public health care system struggles to respond adequately to the needs of patients, and the cost of the system continues to rise rapidly, expanding the role of pharmacists in offering front-line services is without a doubt a step in the right direction. These increased responsibilities are likely to improve patients’ access to care and lead to savings, which the public system desperately needs.

April 30, 2015

30 April 2015

Viewpoint contrasting the economic costs or benefits of select energy choices for the province of Quebec

Quebec is blessed in terms of the energy resources available on its territory. Most obviously, there is the province’s vast hydroelectric capacity, which produces 96% of its electricity. This month, the government made public a series of reports suggesting that it might soon be ready to move forward and allow oil development in the province. In light of this news, it is worth reconsidering some of Quebec’s energy choices to see which kinds of policies might enrich, rather than impoverish, Quebec taxpayers.

April 23, 2015

23 April 2015

Viewpoint exploring the relationship between the tax burden, dependence on government transfers, and individual disposable income by comparing Canadian provinces

In order to balance public finances, the Quebec government has increased the tax burden of Quebecers considerably in recent years. Now, the purchasing power of Quebecers is lower than that of Canadians in the other provinces. Quebec’s disposable income per capita ranks 9th, ahead of only Prince Edward Island. According to data from the Institut de la statistique du Québec, it seems the province’s tax burden has become so heavy that it has a negative impact on economic growth and on individual disposable income.

April 14, 2015

14 April 2015

Research Paper describing four areas of the health care industry in Canada that are largely private and that work well

The recurring problems with which Canadian patients are faced, such as overcrowded emergency rooms and the inability of seeing a doctor when you need to, regularly occupy the front pages of our daily newspapers. In international rankings, Canada systematically finds itself at the bottom of the pack, among the countries where waiting times for health care are the longest. Yet there exists another health care system, an essentially private one that works well but that does not always get the credit it deserves.

March 31, 2015

31 March 2015

Economic Note explaining the collaborative model of natural resource development that has benefitted, among others, the Cree of Quebec

Northern Quebec overflows with mineral resources whose development could generate substantial economic activity. To derive benefits from these resources successfully, businesses, the government and local communities—many of which consist of Aboriginal populations—must collaborate in order for everyone to have an interest in the economic success of development projects.

March 19, 2015

19 March 2015

Viewpoint aiming to clear up the confusion surrounding the figures discussed in the public debate in the context of current negotiations for the renewal of public sector collective agreements

In the context of the current negotiations for the renewal of public sector collective agreements, the figures discussed in the public debate can be misleading. The widely reported percentage increases demanded by unions and offered by the government do not represent the pay raises of public sector employees in Quebec, but rather increases to the pay grades themselves. This distinction is crucial for properly understanding how salaries will change following the current round of negotiations.

March 12, 2015

12 March 2015

Economic Note analyzing the positive impact of economic freedom on prosperity and on various social indicators such as health, education, life expectancy and life satisfaction

In the years since the financial crisis of 2008, the free market has taken a beating in the marketplace of ideas. Yet the simple fact remains that the more economic freedom a government leaves in the hands of its people, the better off those people are, not only in terms of basic material well-being, but also in terms of social and individual indicators of human wellbeing. This Economic Note provides a brief overview of economic freedom around the globe.

February 12, 2015

12 February 2015

Economic Note explaining how subcontracting certain auxiliary tasks performed by police officers to security agents would allow a reduction in the cost of police services while preserving their quality

Policing costs have been rising for 25 years in Canada, while the number of criminal incidents per officer has fallen. These growing costs can be explained in part by an increase in the number of police officers, which has certainly contributed to a reduction in the crime rate, but also by the fact that those officers perform a growing number of tasks.

January 29, 2015

29 January 2015

MEI in the Media

The Boreal Caribou Recovery Plan Will Cut Forestry Jobs
Op-ed by Michel Kelly-Gagnon, President and CEO of the MEI, published on November 23 in The Huffington Post.

Fight climate change efficiently
Op-ed by Youri Chassin, Economist and Research Director at the MEI, published on November 17 in the National Post.

Many environmental groups propose to considerably reduce forestry activities in Quebec, with the presumed goal of protecting the woodland caribou. As part of our research program on Quebec's forests, the Vice President of the MEI, Jasmin Guénette, went to Baie-Comeau and met with people in the industry to better understand the reality on the ground and see how the caribou and forestry workers coexist.

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Economic Newsflashes

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Les évaluations environnementales stratégiques, dont celle sur l’exploitation des hydrocarbures à l’île d’Anticosti, nous apprenaient la...