I'd be happy to.
As I mentioned, even though data was gathered at the project level, there was a feeling early on, based on previous experience and experience in other jurisdictions as well, that it's very difficult to get consistent job numbers across such a wide range of projects and project proponents. As I mentioned, using that bottom-up information doesn't capture things such as the indirect job impacts from a particular project. That would be the suppliers that the project proponent is subcontracting to or buying supplies from. An economic impact and job impact goes along with that.
There are also the induced effects. As economic activity is elevated in a particular region, incomes go up, and that has a positive impact on economic activity in terms of income.
Finally, as I mentioned in my earlier comments, there is also the important fact that the economic action plan wasn't entirely project-based. There were some very important elements, particularly in employment insurance benefits, for example, tax reductions that spread to the entire economy, so they couldn't be measured on a project-level basis.
Based on those criteria, we determined that the best thing to do in terms of determining the job impact of the economic action plan was to use our macroeconomic model. It has multipliers in it for each individual element of the plan, whether it be infrastructure, EI measures, or tax reductions. This multiplier gives you a sense that every dollar invested or a reduction tax has a certain impact on the economy in terms of GDP. The model can then translate that into an employment impact.
As I mentioned, we've used that approach throughout the process. We've tabled three particular assessments on the job impact. Our most recent was in January 2011 in the seventh report, and it was determined that the economic action plan created or maintained 220,000 jobs.
Obviously the Canadian economy has created much more employment than that since the trough of the recession. I think somebody mentioned 610,000 jobs since July 2009.
This is a way of isolating the impact of the action plan itself. A similar approach was used in the U.S. by the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, based on similar findings from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. They said they had the same issues with the project-level job information they received through their American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Finally, it was also validated by three private sector economists here in Canada to make sure that our multipliers were on the prudent side, relative to other models that were being used in other jurisdictions.
In a nutshell, that's the way we've approached it to get a sense of the overall impact of the economic action plan, not just the bottom-up approach.