Canada shifts debt-reduction burden to provinces -budget officer
26, 2013, 2013 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) — Retailer’s sustainability programs show growth in the second quarter of 2013 Staples Canada, leader in office supplies and Canada’s largest online retailer, today announced its sustainability achievements for the second quarter of 2013, showing progress over a range of recycling and energy efficiency programs. The retailer continues to focus on its long-term commitment to growing the business in a sustainable manner, and reducing its impact on the environment. “Our environmental programs were developed with our customers in mind,” said Pete Gibel, vice president of merchandising at Staples Canada and Chair of the Staples Canada Environmental Committee. “We know that our customers share our commitment to the environment, and we continue to make a difference with their help. We make it easy for them to recycle everything from batteries to electronics. At the same time, we at Staples, continue to challenge ourselves as environmental program leaders.” Customer Participation Helps Make an Impact Through expanded program awareness, and customer participation, Staples Canada’s sustainability programs show growth year over year: Over 23,880 kg of Batteries Diverted from Landfills Staples Canada partners with Call2Recycle to collect and recycle batteries (re-chargeable and alkaline). The program helped Staples Canada and its customers divert over 23,880 kg of batteries from landfills in the second quarter of 2013, an increase of 120.3% over Q2 2012. During the first quarter of 2013, Staples Canada helped divert 23,860 kg of batteries putting the retailer on-track to exceed its goal of collecting 60,000 kg this year. 790,000 Ink and Toner Cartridges Collected Staples Canada gives customers the option to drop off used ink and toner cartages at every store in Canada. In the second quarter of 2013, 790,000 ink and toner cartridges were collected: an increase of 200,000 units over Q2 2012. With a target to collect 5 million ink cartridges by Earth Day 2014, the retailer continues to encourage Canadians to drop off used ink and toner cartridges at any Staples Canada location. Schools across the country can assist in the program by signing up for a free ink cartridge bin, with Staples collecting the cartridges free of charge.
And it is clearly staying that way, regardless of small year-to-year fluctuations. Does income inequality matter? Theres a growing consensus among scientists from many disciplines that it does: in complex, surprising and economically important ways. Numerous studies document a powerful relationship between income inequality and varied dimensions of social pathology. Indicators as diverse as happiness, mental illness, infant mortality, childrens educational performance, teenage pregnancy, homicide, imprisonment, social trust and social mobility all get worse as the income gaps within society deepen. The reigning economic orthodoxy assumes the distribution of income reflects market forces and productivity, but history confirms distribution is actually shaped by the power institutions of society. In Canada, three core institutions have been especially important: corporate power redistributes income upward, while labour unions and governments redistribute income downward. Previous research by one of us revealed the historical relationship between corporate power and the distribution of personal income. It turns out that relative size of the largest firms in Canada strongly affects the distribution of personal income: the inexorable corporate concentration in recent decades has clearly produced greater inequality. This study, A Shrinking Universe, also documented the downward redistribution of income resulting from organized labour. Union density grew steadily from 16 per cent in 1940 to 37 per cent by 1975, but has declined steadily since then. As union density increased, income inequality decreased and vice versa during the new gilded age.
Transfers have been growing by 6 percent a year and will continue to do so until 2016-17, but after that they will increase in line with average growth in nominal gross domestic product, which is expected to be lower. The budget office said the change to the so-called Canada Health Transfer “has transferred the fiscal burden to provinces and territories”. “PBO estimates that the debt path of other levels of government is not sustainable and will continue to rise, reaching 359.9 percent of GDP by 2087,” it said. The PBO defines a government’s debt as sustainable if the debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to return to its current level over a 75-year horizon, taking into account pressures from an aging population and other considerations. The fiscal gap of other levels of government – lumping together provinces, territories, municipalities and aboriginal governments – is 1.9 percent of GDP, it estimated. That means these governments combined would have to increase revenues, reduce spending or a combination of both by C$36.2 billion this year to set their finances on the right track, the report said. A spokeswoman for federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty defended the transfer policy, saying Ottawa’s payments would continue to increase every year to record levels. “Our government has announced long-term, stable funding arrangements with the provinces that will see health transfers reach historic levels of C$40 billion by the end of the decade,” spokeswoman Kathleen Perchaluk said. The PBO report did not single out individual provinces. Ontario, the most populous provinces, is one of the most indebted. Other major economic players Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia have also been tackling deficits in recent years.