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Daniel Munro

Daniel Munro
Daniel Munro
Visiting Scholar, Innovation Policy Lab, Munk School for Global Affairs
Daniel Munro is Associate Director, Public Policy at The Conference Board of Canada, and Lecturer in Ethics in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. Prior to joining the Public Policy group, Daniel worked for the Conference Board's Centre for Skills and Post-Secondary Education, Centre for Business Innovation, and Industry and Business Strategy division. Previously, Daniel was a senior analyst at the Council of Canadian Academies - the Government of Canada's arms-length science assessment organization - and has taught politics and philosophy at Harvard, Queen's, Toronto, and Western University where he won the Award of Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Daniel has fifteen years of experience in research and policy analysis on science, technology, innovation, education and skills issues. He also thinks, writes and speaks about ethics, decision-making, risk, and democracy for academic and public audiences. Daniel holds degrees from Toronto (B.A.), Western (M.A.), and MIT (Ph.D.).

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Breathing Easier: Addressing the Burden of Pneumonia in Canada

  • Wenshan Li
| Nov 10, 2017
Wenshan Li
Wenshan Li
Research Assistant

The annual direct health care cost of pneumonia in Canada will increase to $532.2 million by 2025.

Pneumonia is a respiratory illness that not only presents more commonly among the elderly, but also among children and those with compromised immune systems. In addition to affecting health and well-being, the disease can also incur huge costs to the health care system, caregivers, and the economy.

Pneumonia can also arise as a complication among individuals with other underlying chronic conditions (comorbidities), such as cardiovascular disease and chronic lung illness. While the death rate from pneumonia alone can be as high as 15 per cent, mortality rises to over one in four affected individuals (26 per cent) in the presence of comorbidities. Since pneumonia is a preventable disease, and because it affects several vulnerable populations, there is an opportunity to offset its large impact on individuals, caregivers, the health care system, and the broader economy.

The Conference Board of Canada is engaged in a three-part research series on the burden of pneumonia in Canada. The first briefing aimed to estimate the health and economic burden of pneumonia over time. The second aims to examine trends in the likelihood of developing complications after hospitalization for pneumonia, and any impact these complications may have on the cost of treatment and recovery. The forthcoming and final briefing will discuss the policy implications of this research and explore the opportunities to better address the burden of pneumonia in Canada.

The first briefing of the series, The Economic Burden of Pneumonia in Canada: A Status Quo Forecast, quantified the economic impact of the disease by taking into account costs to the health care system. Hospitalized pneumonia among the senior population is forecast to increase dramatically in the next decade with the aging of the population and population growth. Hospitalizations due to pneumonia are projected to double by 2025 for the population aged 65 years and over, increasing from 24,761 hospitalizations per year in 2010 to 49,424 in 2025.

Along with the rising cost of treating each case of pneumonia, the annual direct health care cost of pneumonia is forecast to increase from $216.2 million in 2010 to $532.2 million in 2025. (See Chart 1.) Population growth and aging are the main cost drivers, especially since seniors, particularly those aged 75 and over, are more susceptible to developing pneumonia and tend to have costlier hospitalizations.

Chart showing total direct cost of pneumonia in Canada

Ahead of World Pneumonia Day on November 12, The Conference Board of Canada is releasing the second report, After Pneumonia: The Post-Discharge Patient Pathway, today. This report examines the post-discharge and cost trajectories for hospitalized pneumonia patients compared with non-pneumonia patients (individuals who were hospitalized for a reason other than pneumonia), as well as how the presence of pre-existing cardiovascular conditions can affect the recovery and cost burden of pneumonia.

Results of the analysis showed that pneumonia patients have much higher mortality rates than non-pneumonia patients and are more likely to be readmitted to hospital for pneumonia. Those with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions and those hospitalized with pneumonia as a secondary diagnosis (meaning that they had another major health issue as the primary diagnosis) had longer hospital stays and higher post-discharge costs of care. These findings highlight how pneumonia can arise as a serious and costly complication, especially among elderly patients with comorbidities. Also, it appears that pneumonia patients are likely to require more home care or residential care after discharge from hospital, suggesting that recovery from pneumonia can be lengthy and costly.

In terms of policy implications, the burden of pneumonia can be addressed in several ways. The following are some perspectives on what can be done to mitigate the future challenges brought on by the increasing burden of pneumonia in Canada:

  • Seniors, children, and those with compromised immune systems should be vaccinated against pneumonia. To facilitate access to vaccinations for Canadians who need it, public and private payers (insurers) should reduce the economic barriers associated with access.
  • Health care administrators should develop policies and implement interventions that would promote better prevention and management of pneumonia in high-risk settings such as hospitals and nursing homes.
  • Governments should, in addition to monitoring the financial and health burdens of disease, identify and implement policies that would promote better prevention, such as increasing awareness and accessibility to resources that can be used to promote health and well-being.

The forthcoming final briefing in this series will further discuss the policy implications of this work and identify opportunities to address the burden of pneumonia in Canada.

Related Webinar

After Pneumonia: Addressing the Health and Economic Burden of Pneumonia in Canada
January 17, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. EST

Tax Changes Likely to Create Unintended Fallout for Family Enterprises

| Sep 06, 2017
Photo of Craig Alexander
Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist
Photo of Michael Bassett
Associate Director
Governance, Compliance and Risk

As many successful family-owned businesses get ready to pass the torch to a new generation of owners, how much do we know about the implications to Canada’s economy? The answer is: not enough.

Decisions that are made by business owners and their families, such as whether to sell to a non-family member, sell or transfer to the next generation, or close shop, have tremendous implications for our economy.

We know of many incredibly successful families whose entrepreneurship and drive have pushed their families and their companies to leading positions in Canada and the world. At the other end of the spectrum, we think of the mom-and-pop corner store. The reality is that there are many more family-owned enterprises that fall in the middle of the spectrum. These medium-sized companies provide jobs and are often a major driver of growth and innovation; we need to understand more about their impact on our economy if we are to maximize opportunities and mitigate risks.

However, there is no comprehensive and detailed picture of the role family enterprises play in our economy. No solid information exists on their contribution to GDP, jobs, or exports. The often-cited numbers in this area offer little explanation. This lack of information guarantees unintended consequences for family-owned firms.

The issue becomes even more concerning with recently proposed changes to the federal tax treatment of private corporations. While much of the discussion around the proposed changes has focused on backlash from high-income professionals who fear the anticipated impact to their financial outcomes, a potential silver lining is that it has opened up discussion around the role of taxation and regulation on the behaviour of business owners.

Succession decisions can either create wealth and economic opportunity or destroy it. Ownership can either stay within the founding family or move outside of it. As a country, we should have a clear view of how the succession of thousands of businesses and millions of dollars affects our economy—but we don’t. All levels of government need to recognize this information gap.

In parallel to this, all levels of government have recently recognized that we need much better information about labour markets. The Labour Market Information Council was created in 2015 with a mandate to improve the timeliness, reliability, and accessibility of labour market information to facilitate decisions made by students, workers, job seekers, employers, and policy-makers. The council was formed because of a recognized gap in the current information as it relates to employees. A greater gap still exists in information about business owners—and family enterprises in particular.

What we do know about family-owned enterprises is that these businesses can provide longevity, security, and profitability that help drive economic success. We also know that the journey to transition these businesses is challenging in the best of times. Tax specialists have already identified that Canada’s tax laws provide preferential tax treatment for sale to individuals outside of the family rather than supporting intergenerational transfer.

The full extent of economic interactions and repercussions are complex. In physics, Newton’s third law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In economics, this often manifests in the form of the law of unintended consequences. Changes in regulation or taxation often have significant unforeseen impacts. Throughout history, there are many examples where efforts to increase taxation resulted in less revenue than anticipated as people and businesses changed their behaviour to avoid the new status quo.

The risk of unintended consequences can be most severe when the government has little information about a sector of the economy. The lack of information about family-owned enterprises puts these organizations at significant risk for unintentional harm—to the firms and to the Canadian economy. As a country, we should have a clearer view of the effects of the succession of thousands of businesses and millions of dollars.

The Conference Board of Canada is embarking on a major research study to shed a light on the importance of family-owned enterprises to the country and to begin to address this gap in understanding about our economy. From the smallest businesses to the largest companies, we need to have solid information on the role of family enterprises to our economy and society.

Skills for Future Success: Insights From the Expert Panel on Youth Employment

  • Elisha Connell
| Aug 03, 2017
Elisha Connell Elisha Connell
Student Intern
Education and Strategic Initiatives

When it comes to youth unemployment, Canada may be doing well relative to other OECD countries, but the challenges affecting young Canadians today are greater than they were a generation ago. Young people go to school longer, carry more student debt, earn relatively less, and pay relatively more for housing than their parents did—a situation that leaves Canada’s 6.8 million 15- to 29-year-olds stuck in a financial juggling act and threatens their ability to build and support the economy, let alone themselves.

Addressing youth unemployment, then, is a critical issue, and one the federal government prioritized by commissioning an Expert Panel on Youth Employment under Budget 2016. Chaired by Vass Bednar, former associate director at University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute and now senior policy associate at Airbnb, the panel focused on the challenges youth face in finding and keeping work, as well as identifying innovative approaches to help young people transition successfully into the labour market. Importantly, the panel paid special attention to vulnerable youth, including Indigenous youth, youth with disabilities, recent immigrant youth, and youth without a post-secondary education.

In June, the panel released its final report. Based on consultations with stakeholders across Canada, the report identifies the following six barriers to youth employment and workforce integration:

  • a lack of labour market information for youth and a lack of employment data for policy-makers
  • a perceived reluctance by employers across Canada to hire young people
  • uncertainty faced by young people about both a rapidly changing world of work and an increasing number of young people who find themselves in less-stable part-time and/or contract employment
  • inadequate preparation for the workplace and requisite life skills to succeed
  • systemic and indirect discrimination experienced by marginalized youth
  • a lack of resources for Indigenous youth to lead and positively impact their communities

To address these challenges, the panel put forward 13 recommendations to the federal government, with some given a recommended 12-month time frame for action. Grouped into six categories, the recommendations include the following:

Invest in the most vulnerable: a call for further investment in vulnerable youth through the enhancement of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy (YES), as well as targeted support to create equal opportunities for Indigenous youth.

Streamline and simplify programming: a proposal to examine the feasibility of devolving federal youth employment programming to the provinces and territories, and use civic technology to improve the federal Job Bank

Walk the talk: a directive for the federal government to increase efforts to hire more young people, especially in rural and remote areas, and to explore the feasibility of increased youth hiring related to government procurement activities.

Engage employers: an instruction for the federal government to create meaningful mentorship opportunities for vulnerable youth, and to convene a multi-sectoral roundtable of employers who will create a youth hiring goal or challenge.

Modernize supports:a proposal to modernize the support systems available to young people by:

  • adjusting Canada’s labour standards and employment insurance eligibility
  • developing a holistic definition of skills and competencies needed for a constantly evolving workplace
  • increasing and tailoring the supports available to young entrepreneurs, including young immigrant entrepreneurs

Measure and refine: a call to improve statistical data to better capture youth employment information; and establish an advisory committee to govern YES and guide its ongoing operation in collaboration with a new organization recommended by the Advisory Council on Economic Growth.

While the recommendations are directed at the federal government, the panel emphasized the importance of tackling youth employment issues more broadly. Policy levers that support youth employment can also be pulled by the provinces, including the ability to shape a forward-looking and responsive K-12 curriculum and the creation of work-integrated learning opportunities during post-secondary education. The panel highlighted the role that everyone, from small and large businesses to non-profits, educational institutions to young people themselves, can take in improving the youth employment experience.

The panel went on to underscore the fact that globalization and new and emerging technologies are changing the future of work. Young people today face uncertainty as they seek to equip themselves with the skills they’ll need in the future. For this reason, the panel recommended “a holistic definition of the skills and competencies needed for a constantly evolving workplace”—a definition, they explained, that would articulate a set of “globally accepted attributes needed for the modern workplace” and thus provide more clarity and consistency in the outcomes of post-secondary education and youth employment programs.1

In the fast-changing world of work, reports by the federal government's expert panel, combined with studies by the Advisory Council on Economic Growth on building a highly skilled and resilient workforce or the California-based Institute for the Future’s Future Work Skills study, help to focus our efforts and debate, not on trying to predict which jobs will come or go, but on the skills our economy will need for whatever jobs the future brings.

Through the Centre for Skills and Post-Secondary Education, The Conference Board of Canada makes a concerted effort to highlight the challenges and opportunities facing the sector. Youth education and employment are important areas of focus. Through our research and this new blog series, we’ll share knowledge on this topic and others related to skills and post-secondary education.

1    Examples they point out that could serve as inspiration include the World Economic Forum’s 21st Century Job Skills; Foundation for Young Australians New Work Mindset Skills; and P21 Framework for 21st Century Learning. Such a definition, it is hoped, will enable those delivering youth employment programs to better align their metrics with skills needs and outcomes, while providing clarity for employers in the process.

Related Conference

SPSE Summit