SIPP BRIEFING NOTES
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Briefing Note 23 - Workplace Health: Changes and Challenges
by: Allan Walker June 2008
Summary: This paper examines workplace health issues in Saskatchewan and compares them to workplace health and safety in Alberta and British Columbia. By analyzing the commonly used lost-time injury rates among the provinces, Saskatchewan appears to be the most dangerous place to work and Alberta the safest. Of the three provinces, Saskatchewan has an industrial and demographic profile most associated with higher injury rates. However, determining the relative impact of policies and environment on workplace health is complicated by a number of factors. Although the provinces have embraced performance management systems, there is little systematic analysis of policy and program initiatives that link context, inputs, outputs and outcomes.
Briefing Note 22 - The Economics of Public Support for the Arts
by: Jim Marshall December 2007
Summary: The latest publication in SIPP's Briefing Note series, brings an analytical approach to the discussion about whether, and to what extent, there should be public support for artists and the art they produce. While some try to seek an economic rationale for public support for the arts by arguing that support increases economic activity and improves the financial well-being of artists, this paper provides an economic perspective for public support using the principles of exclusion, rivalry, externalities, and merit goods.
Briefing Note 21 - The Last Straw
by: Rose Olfert, Murray Fulton and Grace Skogstad June 2007
Summary: "The Last Straw" explores the events leading to the creation of the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) and the recent scrutiny that the CWB has come under, both domestically and internationally, in regards to its single-desk selling powers.
Briefing Note 20 - Media and Politics
by: John D. Whyte, Lynn Wells, Rick Salutin, Joyce Green and Gennadiy Chernov May 2007
Summary: "Media and Politics", the newest publication in SIPP's Briefing Note series, explores the relationship between media and politics: the influence of politics on the news media and the influence of the media on the nation's political life. In their remarks the authors address the questions of how media complicity is formed, who the key actors in this complicity are and what can be done to stop media complicity. The authors offer their analysis from personal perspectives working in journalism, as consumers of its products, and from academic perspectives as scholars of media and communications.
Briefing Note 19 - Returns to Education: International and National Evidence
by: Jim Marshall, Chief Economist, SIPP March 2007
Summary: Since the concept of "human capital" was introduced and developed in the 1960s, there have been a number of attempts to estimate the private and public returns to education. In this paper, Jim Marshall examines some of the recent studies undertaken on this topic in order to provide an understanding of education's impact on the individuals being educated and on the societies supporting the education process. By assessing international, national and Saskatchewan studies on returns to education, this article reveals a striking portrait of the private and public returns to education by level, gender, region, ethnicity and field of study.
Briefing Note 18 - Capitalizing on Culture: How can public policy support arts and culture for the public good?
by: Jeremy Morgan, Greg Baeker, Peter Stoicheff, Peter MacKinnon, Randy Burton and Brenda Baker December 2006
Summary: Remarks in this Briefing Note were presented as part of a public forum in Saskatoon, SK, on September 14, 2006. In their articles panellists discuss: urban planning with a cultural lens; the centrality of culture in urban wealth creation; and basic questions of authentic urban identity. Readers are invited to consider the role of the university, the arts and public investment and the role of the artist in urban planning. The basis for these discussions is the idea of the creative city, an evolving concept arising from the work of thinkers such as economist Richard Florida and former Winnipeg mayor and urban strategist Glenn Murray.
Briefing Note 17 - Senate Reform: Is This the Beginning?
by: David E. Smith and John D. Whyte November 2006
Download "Legal Perspectives: Supplementary Submission by John Whyte"
Summary: In this paper SIPP Senior Policy Fellows David E. Smith and John D. Whyte offer their submissions on the role and structure of the Senate, which they presented to the Special Senate Committee on September 20, 2006. Professors Whyte and Smith offer critiques of proposed Senate reform, such as the establishment of an eight-year term limit on all future Senate appointments and the Murray-Austin proposal that would alter Senate by increasing representation from Western provinces.
Briefing Note 16 - Policing the Future: The Changing Demographics of Saskatchewan
by: Judge M.E. Turpel-Lafond October 2006
Summary: Increasing Aboriginal participation in the police workforce is necessary, yet there is much left to do to create the environment for opportunity, promotion and understanding. Without real leadership, defined goals, and measured success, the path will not be created. Policing the future will depend on our efforts today to embrace Aboriginal youth.
Briefing Note 15 - Coming to the End: Mandatory Retirement in Saskatchewan
by: John D. Whyte July 2006
Summary: Most Canadian jurisdictions have now removed or modified their laws relating to mandatory retirement. John Whyte and Justin Leifso in their paper "Coming to the End: Mandatory Retirement in Saskatchewan" analyze this reform from four perspectives - legal, social, economic and human - and question Saskatchewan's failure to join the trend to end mandatory retirement.
Briefing Note 14 - Religion is About Life: Religious and Political Discursive on the Role of Faith in Politics
by: Right Rev. Peter Short, Dr. Peter Bisson, Dr. Shadia Drury, and John D. Whyte May 2006
Summary: On the evening of April 5, 2006, three panelists were brought together to delve into one of the most debated topics of the 21st Century: the role of faith and religion in politics. Special guest speaker the Right Reverend Peter Short, Moderator, United Church of Canada, delivered a presentation entitled "Religion is About Life" to which Dr. Shadia Drury and Dr. Peter Bisson gave enlivened responses. Given the enthusiastic participation of the audience and their interest in this topic, SIPP released Briefing Note #14 composed of the three speakers' arguments presented that night with an introduction by John D. Whyte, Senior Policy Analyst at SIPP.
Briefing Note 13 - Insight for the Future: Saskatchewan's Youth Share Their Thoughts
Released in collaboration with the Department of Culture, Youth and Recreation November 2005
Summary: In this paper, SIPP releases the top five submissions to a contest organized by the Department of Culture, Youth, and Recreation (CYR). The contest gave Saskatchewan's youth the opportunity to contribute to the policy discussion on youth employment and leadership. The Institute shares the hope, with CYR, that these short essays will help inspire the policy community to think about how they can further include youth in the decisions that affect them.
Briefing Note 12 - Employment Insurance: One Size Does Not Fit All
by: Rick Audas and Roger Chafe, Memorial University of Newfoundland September 2005
Summary: In this paper, Audas and Chafe explore the ‘generosity paradox' that afflicts the EI program. The generosity of the program is beneficial as unemployment can be destabilizing for a family that has suddenly lost is primary income, and EI can counteract these negative consequences by allowing households to maintain some level of normalcy during a difficult period. However, the generosity of the program also encourages repeat use and an increasing number of users fall into a cycle of dependency. According to the authors, the best way to avoid the cycle of dependency is to avoid the first spell of reliance on EI. Once on EI, there are often factors that cause individuals to remain on the program permanently. The authors investigate how the distribution of benefits could change depending on the type of recipient, by moving away from a ‘one size fits' all' program to a program that would instead focus on getting assistance to those who require EI as a temporary supplement, and by lessening benefits to those who have fallen into the ‘EI trap'. The alternatives include retraining, education, and if necessary, geographic labour market adjustments. If successful these options could keep individuals and their families from being a permanent fixture in the ‘EI trap'.
Briefing Note 11 - The Consequential Effects of Canadian Immigration Policy and Anti-Terror Legislation on Columbian Refugees
by: James J. Brittain, University of New Brunswick May 2005
Summary: This paper looks at the relationship between Canada, Colombia, and the United States, and specifically at how legislation has forced Canada into a submissive role that has undermined attempts at mediating peaceful resolutions in Colombia and discouraged the promotion of other forms of social justice that Canada has traditionally advocated. Upon examining Canada's foreign policy, Brittain suggests that "Canada has done nothing as a sovereign and democratic nation to stop US imperialist aggression" and has, in the past, been a "nonentity" in condemning the United States in its acts of invading independent nations. In addition, recent Canadian legislation meant to strengthen its alliance with the Unites States has altered Canada's peacekeeping efforts, tarnished the reputation of Canada's immigration system, and has adverse effects on the Colombian-Canadian population. Brittain's analysis advocates that a stronger Canadian government should not abandon its "essentials" and be submissive, but rather should promote a democratic model of social justice at home and abroad.
Briefing Note 10 - Not in Polite Company: Religious and Political Discursive Formations on Same-Sex Marriage
by: William Arnal, Joyce Green, Darlene Juschka, and James Merrett April, 2005
Summary: Following an open forum at the University of Regina, the Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy is pleased to release its 10th Briefing Note which questions the authority of religion on the issue of same-sex marriage. The four commentaries offer frameworks for thinking though the issue, which includes looking at the role the bible plays in the discussion, the definition of family, the view from an Anglican priest, and the complicated and sensitive relationship between religion and politics. As Joyce Green suggests, "healthy democratic processes require consideration of religion and politics, especially when they intersect...public policy attempts to meet social and political needs, but it does not do this in a vacuum: our political culture shapes our ideas of what those needs are and whether or how they should be met". As such, SIPP is releasing this publication to stimulate discussion of this important policy issue.
Briefing Note 9 - Aboriginal Economic Development in the New Economy
by: Robert B. Anderson February, 2005
Summary: A new wave of Indigenous development results from two critical factors, "the first is the recognition of Indigenous people's rights to their traditional lands and resources by the nation states in which they are situated, with the full expectation by both parties that these rights will form the foundation for development. The second is frequent formation of mutually beneficial business alliances between Indigenous people and multinational corporations (MNCs), the major players in the new global economy. The two aspects are closely related in that the realization of the former gives Indigenous people control of key resources important to MNCs, enabling the latter." Not all Indigenous communities form alliances with MNC's, but, according to Anderson, the potential for such alliances is present. The author further asserts that "the realization of Aboriginal rights to lands and resources is recognized as being critical to building the capacity to undertake economic development and, therefore, to achieving these objectives. These rights represent a considerable capital that Aboriginal people can bring to the economic bargaining table."
Briefing Note 8 - More than Bricks and Mortar: The Consequences of Poor Housing Conditions in Regina's Aboriginal Community
by: Janice Stokes September, 2004
Summary: This SIPP Briefing Note explores the long-term impacts of substandard housing conditions in light of the disturbing housing statistics for Regina's Aboriginal community contained in 2001 Census figures and other housing data. The author concludes that current programming is not adequate to meet the housing needs of the province's off-reserve Aboriginal peoples. Stokes argues that "federal housing policy, both on-reserve and off-reserve, has contributed to the housing pressures experienced by provincial and municipal governments and federal programs do not recognize the disproportionate housing challenge faced by provinces such as Saskatchewan."
Briefing Note 7 - Final Destination or a Stopover: Attracting Immigrants to Saskatchewan
by: Pavel Peykov May, 2004
Summary: For more than a century, Saskatchewan has been an attraction to immigrants from all over the world who looked to find a place to live, work, raise their families and retire. Immigration was an important part of the overall goal of establishing the Canadian nation and creating conditions for economic growth and social integration but in recent years the flow of immigrants to Saskatchewan has been on a downward trend. Further impacting Saskatchewan is the fact that the majority of new immigrants to Canada tend to settle in large centres such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Attracting immigrants to Saskatchewan is a viable option in addressing issues of an aging population and out-migration.
This Briefing Note endeavours to explore some key issues relating to immigration in Saskatchewan that affect the province's future economic and social development. The Briefing Note also provides helpful information on the historical patterns and current trends of immigration to the province, out-migration flows and the overall demographic situation in the province.
Briefing Note 6 - Aboriginal People with Disabilities: A Vacuum in Public Policy
by: Dr. Douglas Durst and Dr. Mary Bluechardt January, 2004
Summary: Following the completion of a two-year study looking at the issues facing Aboriginal persons with disabilities in Canada, and using culturally appropriate research methods, the authors identified the multiple gaps in public policies concerning a marginalized segment of society.
While there were many contributing factors identified, jurisdictional problems created major barriers to access and were the principal cause of the public policy vacuum. The Briefing Note argues that "it is confusing and frustrating and many persons just give up or make no attempt, therefore not accessing services or programs to which they are fully entitled. The first step that should begin immediately is solving the jurisdictional issues. Provincial and federal authorities and Band members need to organize themselves to ensure that services are accessible." Positive steps forward depend not only on inclusion and integration of Aboriginal persons within the public policy development process, but also a fundamental reformation of the participating organizations.
Briefing Note 5 - The Challenge of Compliance: Privacy Protection in the Private Sector
by: SIPP Policy Analyst, Pavel Peykov December, 2003
Summary: In this issue, the Institute examines the development of privacy legislation governing the private sector in Canada and provides valuable information to businesses about the implementation of PIPEDA that manage personal information. The Briefing Note claims that "the protection of individuals' privacy has become a major issue in today's knowledge-based economy, as technology has grown so rapidly that it has outpaced any attempts to develop legislative frameworks dealing with privacy rights". Non-compliance with the legislation will have its consequences, and this Briefing Note offers some useful suggestions to those organizations that will be impacted by this legislation.
Briefing Note 4 - Filling the Empty Vessel: Defining the Mandate and Structure of a Council of the Federation
by: Ian Peach October, 2003
Summary: On the eve of the Premiers' meeting to discuss the design of the Council of the Federation, the Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy is pleased to release the latest in its Briefing Note series, "Filling the Empty Vessel: Defining the Structure and Mandate of a Council of the Federation", written by the Institute's Government of Saskatchewan Senior Policy Fellow, Ian Peach. Mr. Peach recommends both a mandate and structure for the Council, suggests what tactics the provinces and territories could use to establish the Council as a credible intergovernmental decision-making body, and speculates on the likelihood of the provinces and territories being able to achieve the goals he sets out for the Council.
Because the key concerns for the provinces and territories have long been unilateral federal government interventions in areas provincial authority, Mr. Peach recommends that the Council focus it attention on subjecting the federal government's power to define the conditions of national social programs and to negotiate international treaties in areas of provincial jurisdiction to intergovernmental decision-making. This would require both that the federal government agree to participate in the Council and that the Council prove to the public that governments, working together, are able to make the hard decisions necessary to protect Canada's social and economic union. Mr. Peach concludes his analysis by commenting that, "it is possible, if improbable, that the Council of the Federation could become an effective new mechanism for managing the social and economic union. Given the lack of any other realistic prospect for constraining the federal spending power and more cooperatively managing the federation, the Council is a worthwhile experiment."
Briefing Note 3 - The Art of the Possible: The Interpersonal Dimension of Policy-Making in the Case of the Northern Development Accord
by: Ian Peach and Randy Brothen September, 2003
Summary: Using the case of the Northern Development Accord, Ian Peach and Randy Brothen demonstrate by actual example how powerful and competing personalities, along with specific agendas, can affect the direction and final destination of negotiations. Their insightful observations can be found in The Art of the Possible: The Interpersonal Dimension of Policy-Making in the Case of the Northern Development Accord, released today. This is the third issue of the SIPP Briefing Note Series, which the Institute uses to address emerging public-policy issues.
As public policy issues grow in complexity and increasingly engage both the federal and provincial governments, effectively managing intergovernmental negotiations becomes more important than ever before. Peach and Brothen propose that the quality of the interpersonal relationships between the parties made the difference in the actual signing of the Northern Development Accord. At the heart of these relationships must lay trust if negotiations are to end positively.
Briefing Note 2 - Information Management and Privacy Rights: Are We Adequately Protected Against Intrusion in Our Lives?
by: Pavel Peykov, SIPP Policy Analyst June, 2003
Summary: Following a series of information management issues that have recently surfaced, the Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy released Information Management and Privacy Rights: Are we Adequately Protected Against Intrusion in Our Lives?. The issue "examines the privacy legislation and government practices in Saskatchewan in order to provide an analysis of what has been done to protect personal information in the province." Has Saskatchewan done the right thing by the citizens of Saskatchewan, or at the very least, are we moving in the right direction for appropriate information management? The Government grades itself as "good", but many signs indicate there is definite room for improvement.
Briefing Note 1 - Choice in Automobile Insurance: Tort vs. No Fault Coverage
by: Pavel Peykov, SIPP Policy Analyst December, 2002
Summary: Commencing December 16, 2002, residents of Saskatchewan may opt for either no-fault or tort automobile insurance coverage, with the latter effective January 1, 2003. In addition to introducing the alternative of tort coverage for those who wish to retain the right to sue at-fault drivers - for economic or such non-economic losses as pain and suffering - Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) is implementing a number of improvements to the Personal Injury Protection Plan (otherwise known as "no-fault" automobile insurance).
While SGI refers to the new system as "Choice in Auto Insurance", the fact of choice will also affect those who do not have a car or drive: such persons too may elect the tort option as their means of redress in the event they are involved in an accident. Parents also may make the election on behalf of their dependant children. Both options have merit and the Saskatchewan citizen will have to choose one, but which one?