After years of work — and with help from thousands of Gen Squeeze supporters, MPs and staff — we've secured the first-ever intergenerational analysis in a Canadian federal budget.
The 2019 federal budget analysis includes three big wins:
🏆 Win #1
We asked for the 2019 budget to feature an analysis of intergenerational impacts, putting age into the “plus” of the federal government’s Gender-Based-Plus (GBA+) analysis. The federal government took a big step toward delivering. In some ways, it went beyond what we hoped for in 2019, by developing the following “intergenerational impacts” metric that was applied to all measures discussed in the 2019 budget as part of the GBA+ analysis:
This is a big deal. It may mean that all government divisions making future requests of the federal Treasury will need to provide an analysis of the intergenerational impacts of their request. This is a great way to begin institutionalizing a concern for intergenerational fairness into public finance.
🏆 Win #2
We asked for the 2019 budget to feature a section on “investing in young Canadians.” We got a 27 page budget report.
🏆 Win #3
We asked for the section on “investing in young Canadians” to use language and statistics to acknowledge that hard work doesn’t pay off for younger Canadians today by comparison with the past. This is important because there are still people — including MPs we've talked to — who believe young people are struggling to afford a home or a family because they're not willing to work hard, or spend too much on cell phones, lattes and avocado toast...
The budget report delivered on this request. Among other observations, it reads (p. 4): "Some young Canadians wonder if their generation will be able to own their own homes. Rising housing prices coupled with prolonged delays in career progression mean young people are being squeezed harder than any other generation when it comes to housing. Average home prices today are about eight times larger than the average full-time incomes for Canadians aged 25-34, compared to when they were about four times larger a few decades ago."
That last sentence is a direct quote from the language we recommended to the Ministry of Finance, and the statistic about the relationship between average home prices and full-time incomes draws directly from foundational Generation Squeeze research publications. The main budget also shows (p. 238, chart 5.6) that risks of poverty have shifted from older to younger Canadians, with seniors representing the smallest portion of Canadians in poverty – again, a key stat emphasized in Gen Squeeze research.
All three wins in the 2019 federal budget represent important strides to improving transparency in public finance on a path toward promoting intergenerational solidarity.
We're proud to have led the charge on achieving these changes, and we admire the government MPs and staff who worked closely with us to bring them to life. No Canadian government has made a comparable effort before.
- To every single one of the 1,820 people who signed our Intergenerational Justice in Public Finance petition, which we delivered to MPs in the fall of 2018.
- To William Milner, Sume Ndumbe-Eyoh, James Clark, Alexander Thistlewood, Anne-Marie Ellis, Tesicca Truong and Cameron Durkin who travelled from near and far to volunteer as part of our October, 2018 federal lobbying trip, where we briefed more than 20 MPs and staff on this issue.
- To the 188 Gen Squeezers who wrote to their MP and asked them to attend that ☝️briefing. Several MPs told us it was these letters that got them in the room.
- To our monthly Members, past and present, who helped finance that☝️ key trip to Ottawa.
- To federal MPs Jennifer O'Connell, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith and their staff who co-hosted our October briefing, and to MPs Joël Lightbound, Bryan May and their staff for for helping arrange other meetings in the years leading up to that briefing.
- To members of our volunteer Gen Squeeze Advisory, who spent an incredible amount of time, energy and travel to help get things rolling with a series of meetings in 2017, and who convinced the team to mount an all-out effort in 2018. We're truly grateful for your leadership.
- To staff in the Ministry of Finance for their consideration and creativity in implementing the analysis outlined above.
These wins are truly exciting, but the road to reporting age trends in federal public finance has also been bumpy.
There remain some important, big-picture problems with how intergenerational trends are/aren't being reported in budget 2019, leading to a classic situation where we're not seeing the forest for the trees.
In advance of the 2019 federal election, we'll be asking all parties to commit to addressing these problems.
Here's how you can help. Please sign your name calling on Canada's provincial and federal governments to show how annual budgets break down by age. It only takes a second: https://www.gensqueeze.ca/decode_public_budgets
See more wins
We’ve been on a roll lately. Learn about our recent campaign successes:
Let’s do more
We're pushing to achieve greater intergenerational fairness in public finance.
You can help by becoming a Gen Squeeze Member:
Banner photo: our October, 2018 volunteer and staff lobbying team (alongside a member of MP O'Connell's staff)