KPMG: Reasons to be skeptical of the advice they offer

By Jim Silver

It is curious that the Pallister government would have hired consulting firm KPMG to provide advice on how to manage the Province’s affairs. KPMG’s actions across the world and in Canada—some illegal; many promoting the interests of the exceptionally rich at the expense of the rest of us—suggest that we should be very wary of any advice they might offer. Read More

Income Security to End Poverty in Manitoba

By Andrew Clark

Income security programs in Manitoba and Canada are not keeping pace with the growing problem of poverty. Change is needed to ensure low income and vulnerable people and families do not become entrapped in a lifetime of poverty.
Canada’s Income Assistance (IA) and Manitoba’s Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) programs provide support to 115,000 Manitobans. These programs were started in the 1960s for people whose incomes were insufficient to meet their basic needs. During the 1990s, IA and EIA benefits were cut and have largely been frozen ever since. Make Poverty History Manitoba (MPHM) estimates that benefit levels for all categories of recipients are below the poverty line – as much as 44% and 33% for single individuals and people with disabilities respectively. It is no surprise that over 60,000 Manitobans accessed foodbanks in 2016. Read More

Will SIB’s Deliver Less for More in Manitoba?

By Jesse Hajer

On Wednesday October 18th, the Province of Manitoba announced that it had hired the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing to design a “made-in-Manitoba” Social Impact Bond strategy. Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) are a relatively new type of contract between governments and the private sector to enable the delivery of social services in areas such as health, education, job training, early childhood development, child welfare, housing and crime prevention. SIBs focus on preventing undesirable social outcomes from occurring in the first place and can in theory end up saving the government money, although this has been downplayed more recently by proponents.
Evidence supports the idea that many social services interventions can ‘pay for themselves’. The Washington State Institute for Public Policy, for example, as of May 2017, had analyzed 343 social policy intervention models that were subject to rigorous experimental study, and found that 57 percent saved government more then they cost to deliver, and 76 percent produced a quantifiable benefit to citizens greater than their cost. Read More

Freeze to Squeeze

First published by CBC Manitoba online Saturday Oct. 29

By Jesse Hajer and Zac Saltis

Governments have often turned to investments in higher education to generate hope and opportunity for young people and others seeking better jobs and social mobility.  They may have a more receptive audience now more than ever, with younger generations facing increasingly precarious work prospects. Fulltime jobs are being displaced by the ‘gig economy’ and average real wage growth remains low.  Young men in Canada aged 25-34, for example, effectively saw zero wage growth from 1981 to 2011, and since the 2007/08 financial crisis youth unemployment – which is consistently greater than the average – has climbed even higher, while more youth, discouraged by their prospects, abandon the labour force. Read More

Pensions In Manitoba

By Lynne Fernandez

In a new Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives MB report on Manitoba’s public-sector pensions Pensions in Manitoba: What’s Working, What’s Not, author Hugh Mackenzie dispels many myths about public and private sector pensions. He anchors his analysis in the context of Canada’s retirement income policy and its three main players: Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS); the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP); and, workplace based pension plans. Read More

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: The cost of doing nothing to prevent tragedy

By Marina Puzyreva and John Loxley,

As the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) continues, a new study looks at the problems of reactive government policy on MMIWG in Manitoba.
The complex impacts on family members of MMIWG are examined in Cost of Doing Nothing: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. This study is a preliminary estimate of the cost of doing nothing to prevent many Indigenous women and girls from going missing and being murdered. It gives an insight into the emotional journeys of the families left behind. It also assesses the current financial cost of dealing with this tragedy based on calculations drawn from the literature and estimates of the number of MMIWG in Manitoba. Read More

Prove Yourself! Barriers to accessing ID for low-income Manitobans

By Ellen Smirl

Government-issued identification (ID) is essential to gain access to a wide range of government entitlements, commercial services and financial systems. Lack of ID on the other hand, represents a critical barrier that prevents low-income Manitobans from accessing these services and benefits, and ultimately results in further marginalization and deepening poverty. A new study, Access to Identification for Low-Income Manitobans researches what can be done to address these challenges. Read More

Climate Plan Fails on Carbon Tax Basics

By Mark Hudson

First published in the Winnipeg Free Press Oct. 5, 2017

A draft “Climate and Green Plan Town Hall Toolkit” circulated within the Manitoba government proposes a flat $25 carbon tax. While this is only a discussion document, and not yet policy, it’s a worrying sign of what the much-trumpeted “Made-in-Manitoba” climate policy might look like: a piece of largely-pointless window-dressing. Read More

Amy Goodman fills the house Sept 29th

Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! Stories of Democracy Resistance and Hope presentation at Knox United Church, Friday Sept 29th.

See story in the Manitoban here.

Photos by Leif Norman

Public funding for education in Manitoba

Jon Young and Brian O’Leary

Introduction1
High quality public schooling is an expensive commitment. In Manitoba the operating costs for the 2015-16 school year was $2.24 billion, which translates to an average per pupil operating cost of $12,537 (Manitoba Education and Training, 2017). In May of this year the Minister of Education and Training, Ian Wishart, announced plans to initiate a full-scale, long-term, review of education funding in the province. This short Fastfacts seeks to contribute to the review by suggesting three overarching themes to guide it: the importance of education as a public good; the importance of avoiding any drift towards a two-tiered public school system in the province; and, the importance of spending available resources wisely. 2

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