Queen's International Institute on Social Policy

Queen's International Institute on Social Policy
Queen's International Institute on Social Policy

QIISP 2014 | The Middle Class: Pressure Points and Public Policies | August 18-20, 2014

August 18 - 20, 2014

Conference Agenda
[PDF 189KB]



Middle-income Canadians are facing social and economic stresses at various stages of the life cycle. Many youth are struggling to find a solid footing in the new labour market. Young adults are delaying forming families. Displaced long-term older workers are suffering significant and persistent income losses. And many middle-income Canadians are facing problems building adequate retirement incomes.

These stresses are not unique to Canada. Across the OECD, powerful forces are at work. Technological change is altering the labour market, hollowing out the middle; wage and salary growth for low and middle-income earners is tepid; and inequality is on the rise. While the effects of these trends have been sharper in other countries like the United States, Canada is not immune.

The Queen's 2014 International Social Policy Institute seeks to examine the economic and social trends affecting the middle class in Canada and other Western economies; assess the impacts on income, opportunity and resilience; and explore the robustness of current public polices in the areas of income, labour market, learning and social policy. As is the tradition of the Queen's Social Policy Institute, the perspectives of both Canadian and international experts will be brought to bear on these critical issues.

The Institute will seek to answer the following questions: What are the critical stresses facing middle income Canadians? Can we ensure equal life chances in the 21st century?  What are the sources of resilience for individuals and families?  Do we have a public policy tool kit that is fit for contemporary purposes?


Session 1: The Big Picture: Inequality and the Middle Class

Michael Forster [PDF 1.1 MB]
Miles Corak [PDF 1.5 MB]
Frank Graves [PDF 500 KB

Session 2: Education and Skills

Richard Reeves [PDF 750 KB]
Craig Alexander [PDF 800 KB

Session 3: Redistribution: Taxes, Transfers and Wage Policies 

Charles Beach [PDF 2.5 MB]
Andrew Heisz [PDF 550 KB]

Session 4: Young Families

Spencer Thompson [PDF 900 KB]
Paul Kershaw [PDF 1.5 MB

What is Generation Squeeze [ VIDEO] 

Session 5: Retirement Income

Herve Boulhol [PDF 675 KB]
Hugh Mackenzie [PDF 1.3 MB]
Tammy Schirle [PDF 1.0 MB]

Session 6: Displaced Long-term Workers 

Randall Eberts [PDF 600 KB]
Craig Riddell [PDF 220 KB]

Session 7: What does the middle-class want? 

David Herle [PDF 850 KB]
Kathleen Monk [PDF 2.5 MB]
Tasha Kheiriddin [PDF 2.5 MB

National Post: "Tasha Kheiriddin: For Canadian politicians, middle-class Canada is the holy grail" - August 21, 2014

The School of Policy Studies at Queen's University gratefully acknowledges the following sponsors:

Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Ontario 
Ministry of Community and Social Service, Ontario
Ministry of Finance, Ontario 
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Ontario
Ministry of Training, Colleges and University, Ontario