The decline … and fall … of Tim Hortons

How an iconic brand lost its Canadian identity and why its corporate masters probably don't care

The decline … and fall … of Tim HortonsThe bad news keeps piling up for Tim Hortons. Leger and National Public Relations recently released their annual report ranking Canada’s most admired companies. Google and Shoppers Drug Mart topped the rankings of most respected companies, regardless of where the company resides. Google has been No. 1 for six years. Kellogg’s, in eighth place, is…

Market principles offer solutions to teacher shortage

One way to increase the applicants is to make the job more desirable, particularly by paying more

Market principles offer solutions to teacher shortageNova Scotia doesn’t have enough substitute teachers. The shortage is so severe that school boards are hiring people without teacher’s certificates to fill substitute positions. In many cases, regular teachers must use prep time to cover for absent colleagues. To make things worse, there’s an ongoing shortage of specialty teachers, particularly in French immersion. In…

The plastic bag pollution paradox

At least 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 268,940 tons are floating in our oceans but we struggle to find packaging alternatives

The plastic bag pollution paradoxBy Sylvain Charlebois Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and Tony Walker Dalhousie University An increasing number of people are voicing concerns about our use of plastics day-to-day. Single-use plastics of any kind – such as grocery bags, cutlery, straws, polystyrene and coffee cups – are significant yet preventable sources of land and marine pollution. In…

Carbon tax particularly dangerous to New Brunswick

The tax will slow the already-faltering New Brunswick economy and create a competitive disadvantage with U.S. businesses

Carbon tax particularly dangerous to New BrunswickWhile good intentions matter a great deal, results matter most. The federal government’s decision to impose a national carbon tax may be well-intentioned, but its effects may be detrimental to our economy. We’ll likely see its worst effects on New Brunswick. The idea is to give carbon a price. While there are a few ways…

Jiminy Crickets! The truth about bugs as food

Loblaw selling cricket flour under its precious President’s Choice label is a big deal. But in a lot of ways, it makes a great deal of sense

Jiminy Crickets! The truth about bugs as foodSelling cricket flour is a sign that the protein wars in Canada have reached a new level. Loblaw, the largest food distribution company in the country, is now selling cricket flour. The product isn’t new – speciality stores have been selling it for a few years. But Loblaw is the first major retailer to sell…

A meatless Canada? No, but we’re becoming more discerning

A recent poll by Dalhousie University suggests that our food choices are becoming more varied

A meatless Canada? No, but we’re becoming more discerningCanadians love meat but other sources of protein are emerging as potent alternatives. Demand is up for vegetable proteins like pulses, as well as for fish and seafood. Loblaw has even started selling cricket flour and is trying to make insect consumption mainstream. That’s led some people to believe that vegetarian and vegan segments of the…

Trade wars, food fights and a budget that ignores it all

Duties may look like attractive, simple mechanisms to protect domestic interests. But they’re a very expensive way to retain jobs

Trade wars, food fights and a budget that ignores it allThe ugly face of protectionism is slowly making its way across the globe. With trade wars looming on several fronts, including in the agri-food sector, Canada's federal government seems resolved to lose. Bill Morneau is obviously an influential figure in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, but he’s no finance minister – despite his title. Given…

New Brunswick faces a painful population crunch

The rapid increase in the elderly population is creating a fiscal crisis, which demands innovative solutions

New Brunswick faces a painful population crunchA shrinking labour force and a rapidly-growing population of non-employed seniors in relation to active full-time workers represents an enormous challenge to New Brunswick over the next three decades. The demographic trajectory of New Brunswick has been creeping up over time. For every 100 working-age people, there were 15 seniors in 1971 and 21 in…

Fixing the democratic deficit in local education

How to rebuild a more robust model of local involvement and governance to deliver education in Nova Scotia

Fixing the democratic deficit in local educationThe days are numbered for Nova Scotia’s seven English-language school boards. In January, the province's Department of Education and Early Childhood Development released a report it had commissioned from Avis Glaze. Since the release of the report, Raise the Bar, defenders of the existing order have rallied behind the status quo and claimed that eliminating…

Minimum wage hikes serving up uncertainty in food industry

A 32 per cent increase in the minimum wage in 12 months is simply irresponsible

Minimum wage hikes serving up uncertainty in food industryThis is turning into a very challenging year for the Canadian food industry. Recent Statistics Canada numbers indicate that grocers are in trouble. Food inflation is above two per cent for the first time since April 2016. This is typically good news for grocers, increasing their margins. But given major headwinds affecting the industry, grocers…

Health Canada’s suggested new food labelling has limitations

Would help consumers know what's in their food but there are some gaps in the system

Health Canada’s suggested new food labelling has limitationsWhen it comes to food, the current federal government is big on consultations. Health Canada recently launched online public discussions and consumer-oriented research to find the best front-of-package labelling formula. Four models have been presented – Health Canada appears to want to keep its options open (although all the logos look the same). Saturated fats, sugar…

Not every mental health concern requires a doctor

Perhaps the elixir of good feeling is available at a friend’s house, at the next desk in the office, or from a partner or spouse

Not every mental health concern requires a doctorBy Dominic Covvey and David Zitner Atlantic Institute for Market Studies Canadians suffer when important mental health services are unavailable or wait times are too long. Fortunately, many of us – including children, parents, other relatives and friends – may find and implement worthwhile solutions to important problems while people wait. However, some people are afraid…

Setting the table for a homegrown value-added food sector

As foreign food processors pull out of Canada, taking jobs with them, it’s essential to the economy that we fill the gap

Setting the table for a homegrown value-added food sectorThe bloodbath in foreign-owned, large-scale food manufacturing in Canada continues. Canadian value-added food producers need to fill the gap. In the past few days, we’ve learned that two foreign-owned plants, employing almost 600 highly-paid workers altogether, are closing: Dr. Oetker in Grand Falls, N.B., and Campbell Soup Co. in Toronto. Canada may have lost 30,000…

TPP2 death knell for supply management, and that’s a good thing

The new Trans-Pacific deal will boost agri-food industries. But it’s a nail in the coffin for Canada's protectionist supply-management sectors

TPP2 death knell for supply management, and that’s a good thingCanada is making its trade intentions crystal clear and that's good news for most agri-food industries, although our supply-management sectors face big challenges. Even as the North American Free Trade Agreement talks continue, we've learned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership isn’t dead after all, although the trade deal among Pacific Rim countries has a new name:…

Atlantic Canada should abandon government liquor monopolies

It’s time to focus on preserving public safety while permitting a market system to thrive through the entire supply chain, from producer to consumer

Atlantic Canada should abandon government liquor monopoliesBy Alex Whalen and Ian Madsen Atlantic Institute for Market Studies In October 2012, Gerard Comeau left his home in Tracadie, N.B, and drove to Quebec to buy alcohol. Comeau, a retired power lineman, knew he could buy the same alcohol for less in Quebec. However, upon returning to New Brunswick, Comeau was stopped by…