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Carbon49 - Sustainability for Canadian businesses: Creative Funding for Green Startups

You are an entrepreneur with a fantastic idea for a green startup. You go to the bank for funding but they turn you down. What do you do? Fear not, green warriors! We will show you five non-traditional funding sources for social and environmental startups, including crowd funding and peer-to-peer lending, and go through some of these funding platforms and success stories from the U.S. and Canada.

While consumers are beginning to embrace environmentally sustainable products and services, many banks remain skeptical, viewing them as either a fad or too risky due to the perceived niche nature of their (Read more…)

Defending Public Healthcare: US and Canadian public health care costs compared

Despite the lack of universal public insurance, U.S. governments actually spend much moreon health care than Canadian governments.   Public sector health expenditure in the U.S.A. accounts for 8.5% of the economy, 7.9% in Canada, and 6.8% through the OECD (the club of 34 rich nations – which, unlike the U.S.A., primarily finance health care through the public sector).  Indeed, the U.S. public sector spends more per capita on health care than any other OECD nation except Norway – $4066 per capita (in 2011).  The universal Canadian (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: US and Canadian public health care costs compared

Defending Public Healthcare: Premiers focus on cuts and ignore falling federal health care funding

As feared yesterday– the premiers have rolled.  They didn’t even dare to beg for better federal health care funding in their  media release on health care from their meeting (“The Council of the Federation”) concluding in Niagara-on-the-Lake today.

Indeed, their media release did not even use the word “federal” once.  Federal health care funding was a complete non-issue for the premiers, despite all the protestors yesterday who told them it was THE issue.

Aside from some claims about cost savings through joint purchasing of pharmaceutical drugs, the release states:

“the two other significant priority areas for the working group (Read more…)

Defending Public Healthcare: Will premiers fight for federal health care funding?

At this week’s meeting of the provincial premiers there were some sharp complaints about the federal government.

But missing — so far — is any significant complaint about the one issue likely closest to the hearts of Canadians — public health care.    Yet the federal government plans to kill its longstanding commitment to increase health care funding 6% per year, replacing it with as little as half of that.   As CUPE research materials indicate, that means losing an awful lot of cash for public health care — many billions. The premiers lack of action on this comes (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Will premiers fight for federal health care funding?

Defending Public Healthcare: Are hospitals primarily providers of acute care?

Hospitals are often stereotyped as providers of acute care services.  In fact, acute care accounts for a relatively small portion of total hospital services. As noted a few days ago,  costs per acute care patient (or, more exactly, per “weighted case”)  in Ontario are significantly below the national average, coming in at $5,174  in 2010-11 (and $5,184 in 2011-12). There  was 1,484,046 weighted acute care (and newborn) cases in 2010-11 in Ontario. So  the total acute inpatient cost is about  $7,678,454,004. In 2010-11, the total hospital sector expense (funded from both government and other sources) was $20.6 billion according (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Are hospitals primarily providers of acute care?

The Canadian Progressive: Harper Conservatives failing BC’s First Nations children: PBO report

Reported by: Obert Madondo | Twitter: @Obiemad:

First Nations demand a better deal from the Canadian Government during a massive December 2012 protest on Parliament Hill. (Photo: Obert Madondo)

A report released by the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) on Thursday says the Harper Conservatives are failing BC’s First Nation children and on-reserve schools.

The report, titled First Nations School Infrastructure Funding Requirements: British Columbia, shows that the schools are severely underfunded. And, they’re much older than B.C. public schools.

“Baseline federal funding for First Nations school infrastructure in British Columbia is $26 million. The PBO estimates that sustaining (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Harper Conservatives failing BC’s First Nations children: PBO report

The Canadian Progressive: CUPE: B.C. school support staff layoffs “devastating”

By: CUPE | Press Release

NEW WESTMINSTER, BC – Education workers and students are paying the price for ballooning deficits in Coquitlam and New Westminster. The districts have announced layoffs of CUPE support staff that the union says will severely affect the quality and even safety of education and services.

A $12.6-million deficient in Coquitlam brought the layoff of 51 CUPE employees, including those that deal with the most vulnerable students. In New West a projected $5.5 million shortfall led the board to send out layoff notices last week to 37 CUPE employees including 27 special education assistants.

(Read more…)

Defending Public Healthcare: Doctors get lion’s share of Budget funding

Forget all the government Budget rhetoric about better home care.  The real winners are the docs. The Ontario Budget Estimates are out and  the line item primarily covering the doctors (“Ontario Health Insurance”) is going up 2.9 per cent to $13.3 billion.  The rest of the health care sector got an increase of 1.06%, just over one-third as much.

In dollar terms, the Ontario Health Insurance line item got an increase of $374 million.  The total incrase for all of health care is only $744 million, so this will eat up more than half of that (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Doctors get lion’s share of Budget funding

The Canadian Progressive: Tories spend on Keystone XL ads, while cutting environment funding

Canadians should be outraged that the Harper Conservatives are spending millions of taxpayers money lobbying for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S. while cutting environmental funding.

The post Tories spend on Keystone XL ads, while cutting environment funding appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Defending Public Healthcare: Government: "collective bargaining is achieving results & protecting services"

Yesterday I noted that the Liberal Budget plainly states that they are planning many more years of austerity.  So how does it see collective bargaining with public employees? And, moreover, public sector pensions?   Collective Bargaining: The government claims that provincial public sector agreements are much lower than other sectors –i.e. private sector settlements, municipal settlements, and federal public sector settlements: Indeed, the government headlines the claim “Bargaining Is Achieving Results and Protecting Services”. The government does not say it will try to dictate results in collective bargaining (as the previous McGuinty/Duncan government tried to do), but proposes (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Government: "collective bargaining is achieving results & protecting services"

Defending Public Healthcare: Health care spending continues decline

Contrary to the hysteria from conservatives, health care spending continues to decline as a percentage of the provincial budget.   Last year, health care accounted for 38.5% of total expenditures, this year the government plans to bring it down to 38.3%.  This continues the trend downwards since 2003/4 when health care accounted for 40% of total expenditures. Austerity Redux The provincial Budget reports that program spending is going up an impressive sounding 2.99% and health care spending is going up 2.3%.  Although that sounds like a larger than expected increase in these days of austerity, (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Health care spending continues decline

The Canadian Progressive: The Humanitarian Coalition Launches Joint Appeal for Syrian Refugees

By: Humanitarian Coalition | Press Release: OTTAWA, May 14, 2013 – Today, the Humanitarian Coalition and its member agencies are launching a national joint appeal to raise funds to assist the 6.8 million Syrian civilians affected by the ongoing conflict in their country. Almost five million civilians have been forced to leave their [...]

The post The Humanitarian Coalition Launches Joint Appeal for Syrian Refugees appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: NDP demands action on missing $3.1 billion in anti-terrorism funding

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: Last week, the Auditor General reported that the Harper Conservatives can’t account for $3.1 billion of the $12.9 billion allocated to the Public Security and Anti-Terrorism Initiative [PSAT] for the period 2001 to 2010. The New Democrats are demanding action and accountability. Via a motion that was scheduled for [...]

The post NDP demands action on missing $3.1 billion in anti-terrorism funding appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Defending Public Healthcare: Ontario Finance Minister plans cuts in public services

The Ontario government just lopped another $2.1 billion off their 2012-13 deficit estimate, cutting it from $11.9 billion (as of January) to $9.8 billion. This means that since 2010 when they started their public sector austerity drive, they have now cut their deficit estimates by $18.1 billion.

Deficit (in billions of dollars) 2009–10 2010–11 2011–12 2012–13 Total 2010 Budget 21.3 19.7 17.3 15.9 74.2 2013 April 19.3 14 13 9.8 56.1 Reduction in Deficit (billions) 2 5.7 4.3 6.1 18.1

Since the 2012 Budget, (Read more…) government has repeatedly cuts its deficit forecast for 2012-13.  It started this year estimating a $15.2 billion deficit (just slightly lower than it estimated in 2010, as noted above). It now puts the deficit at a whopping $5.4 billion less.

That is one mighty big error over the course of just one year.

To put it in perspective, the government only hoped to . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Ontario Finance Minister plans cuts in public services

OPSEU Diablogue: A tangible response to physiotherapy cuts – the province finally adds community capacity

After significantly cutting outpatient physiotherapy at hospitals across Ontario, the government is finally putting something back. The Ministry of Health says it is making a major investment in community-based physiotherapy, exercise classes and falls prevention services that will benefit up … Continue reading →

The Canadian Progressive: Harper cut to Health Council of Canada could signal end of national health care

By: Canadian Health Coalition | Press Release: OTTAWA, April 17, 2013 – The Canadian Health Coalition issued an urgent alert to Canadians in light of today’s news that the Harper Government is terminating its funding of the Health Council of Canada. “This announcement signals Harper’s intention to withdraw essential federal leadership from [...]

The post Harper cut to Health Council of Canada could signal end of national health care appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Defending Public Healthcare: Hospital costs lower in Ontario

The “cost per weighted case” in Ontario hospitals in 2010-11 was $5,143, according to a new report from CIHI.   (This indicator measures the relative cost-efficiency of a hospital’s ability to provide acute inpatient care.)  The Ontario cost per weighted case compares with a Canada-wide average of $5,230.96.

In other words, the Canada-wide average is 1.7% higher than Ontario.   Ontario has improved its position relative to the other provinces since 2009/10, when the  Canada-wide average was only 0.08% higher.   Ontario’s lower costs are especially significant as (presumably) Ontario hospital wages (like other wages) are higher than most other . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Hospital costs lower in Ontario

Defending Public Healthcare: Homecare funding falls short – of even aging cost pressures?

The Ontario government likes to suggest that the planned annual 4% nominal increase in “home and community care” funding will offset their cuts to hospital services and squeeze on long term care beds.

But it’s not totally clear that this funding will offset cost pressures on home and community care arising from the rapid growth in the elder population — never mind growth in the entire population,  never mind inflation, never mind unmet home care needs, never mind hospital cuts, never mind the squeeze on long term care beds.

The Ontario Ministry of Finance estimates that those aged 85 and

. . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Homecare funding falls short – of even aging cost pressures?

Defending Public Healthcare: Hospital cuts in 1.7% to 2.7% range

More hospital savings. Joanna Frketich reports Hamilton Health Sciences needs to find $20 million to $25 million in savings, while Hamilton St. Joseph’s is cutting $10 million to $12 million, and Burlington’s Joseph Brant must cut $4 million.   In total, $34 to $41 million in cuts for Hamilton area hospitals.    That is in the range of 1.7% to 2.7% of the hospitals’ budgets.  This is on top of earlier cuts.  Over the past year the three hospitals found $30 million in savings.  The government would no doubt focus on the increase in home care funding of

. . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Hospital cuts in 1.7% to 2.7% range

Art Threat: NSCAD students disrupt university board meeting to announce manifesto

Last week over 100 students from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, concerned about how government funding cuts will impact the future of the university, disrupted a Board of Governors’ meeting to announce a political manifesto.

The Manifesto for a Vibrant, Strong, and Independent NSCAD, which can be read in its entirety on a student-run website, outlines demands that NSCAD commit to being accessible, affordable, and dedicated to “critical thought and quality education in the production of art and culture.”

NSCAD is roughly $20 million in debt, $9 million of which is still owed (Read more…)

Art Threat: Brazil to give $25 monthly culture stipend to workers

While many governments are cutting funding to the arts and disingenuously downplaying the economic importance of culture, Brazil may be headed in the opposite direction.

The South American country has announced that it planned to give workers a 50 real ($25) monthly stipend to be used on cultural expenses. Recipients could use the funds to visit a museum, buy a book or attend a play, for example.

“In all developed countries, culture plays a key role in the economy,” Culture Minister Marta Suplicy explained in a television interview. “Now we are creating food for the soul; Why would the poor (Read more…)

Art Threat: Carrot loophole saves theatre from tax hike

Austerity measures in Spain have increased taxes on nearly everything. Tax on theatre tickets was bumped from 8 to 21 percent, and in an already challenging economy, theatre companies were naturally worried about whether higher costs would keep the public away.

In the town of Bescanó, two hours north of Barcelona, one theatre applied their creative smarts to the tax issue and came up with a fresh solution. Rather than selling tickets, the 300-seat Teatre Bescanó began selling carrots.

Yup, carrots.

You see, carrots are considered a staple by the Spanish government, and are therefore taxed at four percent.

“We (Read more…)

Defending Public Healthcare: Mississauga-Halton gets bigger homecare increase

Another home care funding announcement came out today, this time for Mississauga-Halton. Mississauga The news this time was a little better, with a 4.1% funding increase for home care via $5.12 million for the Mississauga-Halton Community Care A… . . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Mississauga-Halton gets bigger homecare increase

Defending Public Healthcare: Public sector health care funding shrinks – again

Private funding of health care is increasing faster than public funding.   Now the Canadian Institute for Health Information reports that public funding is expected to fall to 69.7% of total funding in 2012.

Public funding has been much higher — in 1976 it  provided 77% of all health care funding.  After a slow, multi-year decline, it had stabilized by 1996.  But it has now fallen three years in a row.

Canadian public sector health care spending is expected to increase 2.9% in 2012 while private funding is expected to increase 4.6% (more than half again as

. . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Public sector health care funding shrinks – again

Defending Public Healthcare: Long term care funding increase: workers bear the brunt

Four months into the fiscal year, and we now know that long term care funding per bed is going up 1.47% in Ontario.

The area that will get the biggest increase will be “Raw Food”, which will see a 3% increase effective July 1. (The 3% is not counting a commitment by the government to continue extra raw food funding of 1.8% that was supposed to expire June 30).

Other areas that are connected to wages for long term care workers (raw food is not connected) will see a much more modest increase effective April 1: just slightly

. . . → Read More: Defending Public Healthcare: Long term care funding increase: workers bear the brunt