Government

Low math scores are an unsolved problem

If you’re like us, when you studied math in school, you were constantly thinking ‘wow, this is hard.’ Unfortunately, for kids today, it seems that learning math has gotten even harder.  

Driving the news: Canadian math scores continued a long fall from grace, per the latest results from the OECD’s standardized math test. Between 2003 and 2022, overall scores declined by 35 points, with only 12% of students categorized as “high math achievers.”

Digital tax spat

Move over, dairy tariff quotas… there’s a new Canada-U.S. trade disagreement in town. 

What happened: The feds introduced legislation that would introduce the Digital Services Tax (DST), which would levy a 3% tax on tech companies with annual revenues of over ~$1.1 billion and Canadian digital services revenues of $20 million (i.e. Amazon, Google).

Alberta flexes its sovereignty

In this week’s episode of Alberta vs. Feds, Danielle Smith makes what could be her most controversial announcement yet… 

What happened: Smith is invoking the Alberta Sovereignty Act to push back against federal clean electricity rules. The act is not yet final, but the idea is that it allows the province to refuse to follow federal laws that are deemed as a violation of Alberta’s jurisdictional rights.

Canada’s momentous spy trial comes to a close

Canada’s historic spy trial wasn’t quite as exciting as a James Bond movie — it featured zero cool cars or giant lasers — but it was an important test for the judicial system. 

What happened: Cameron Ortis, the former director general of the RCMP’s intelligence unit, was found guilty on all six charges related to leaking state secrets brought against him. 

Cleantech, open banking get help from the feds

Housing and the cost-of-living crisis got the most attention in the government’s fall economic statement yesterday, but it also had some (eagerly awaited) support for parts of the tech sector.

What happened: The government is putting big bucks into making carbon capture and other environmental tech more economically viable. 

Québec just bowled a turkey, ‘cause it’s got three straight strikes

A coalition of ~420,000 Québec public sector employees from four different unions, dubbed the Front Commun, are on the second leg of a three-day strike.

What happened: The strikers are a ragtag assemblage of fed-up public workers, including orderlies, hospital technicians, and the majority of high school and elementary teachers.  This strike is the first of three public worker strikes set to hit Québec this week alone. 

Pressure mounts to overhaul carbon tax

As Canadians struggle with the rising cost of living, pressure is mounting on the federal government to carve up its flagship climate policy like a Thanksgiving turkey.

What happened: The premiers of Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick signed an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau calling for the federal government to drop the federal carbon tax from all forms of home heating. 

The government gets to cutting

We’ve all had to give up some luxuries amidst rising inflation — it’s been sooo long since we’ve bought a fancy jar of fig jam — and the government is no exception. 

Driving the news: Treasury Board President Anita Anand dropped her detailed breakdown of $500 million in spending cuts across 68 federal departments and agencies. It’s the first baby step in a broader campaign to cut spending by $15.4 billion over the next five years.

Ontario’s new foreign worker rules

We’ve all come across job postings with ludicrous experience requirements (10 years for an entry-level position???), and no one knows that pain more than foreign-trained workers. 

What happened: Ontario will propose legislation that would ban employers in the province from requiring Canadian work experience in job listings. The law aims to remove barriers that foreign-trained newcomers face when entering fields that they’re qualified to work in. 

Alberta plans to upend its healthcare system

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith announced yesterday that the province is planning to radically restructure its healthcare system. 

What happened: The plan is to split Alberta Health Services (AHS), the province’s central health authority, into four bodies focused on specific areas: Acute care, continuing care, mental health and addictions services, and primary care.