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Home Policy Articles: Labour & Markets

A vibrant and educated workforce is one the keys to a healthy economy. Much of labour and markets policy is concerned with ensuring that there is a place for every Canadian in the labour market. To that end, governments must provide skills training, create new job opportunities, curtail the brain drain, and utilize the skills of immigrants. As well, debates about outsourcing, employment standards and regulations, retirement benefits, and unions are important considerations in this policy area.

This section of will keep you up-to-date on current debates in labour and markets policy.



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Aboriginal People in Canada's Labour Market: Work and Unemployment, Today and Tomorrow popular

Michael Mendelson examines the Aboriginal unemployment rate in Canada, seeking to determine whether or not there has been any improvement in labour market availability from 1996 to 2001.

Aboriginal People in Canada's Labour Market: Work and Unemployment, Today and Tomorrow popular

Although Canada has been successful in lowering its national unemployment rate, Michael Mendelson states that for the nation’s Aboriginal peoples unemployment is consistently higher than that of the population in general.

Is there Really a Looming Labour Shortage in Canada, and, if there is, can Increased Immigration Fill the Gap? popular

Martin Collacott begins his report with reference to 2001 Census data which reported a growing reliance on immigration as a source of skills and knowledge for Canada. The Census reported that recent immigrants represented 70 percent of Canada’s total labour force growth in the preceding decade, and could account for virtually all of Canada’s labour force growth by 2011. Collacott also notes that Canada’s low birth rate suggests immigration will continue to be vital to labour force growth.

The Aboriginal Workforce: What Lies Ahead popular

In this article François Lamontagne discusses some of the myths and realities that surround the Aboriginal work force in Canada.

Will We Rise to the Challenge? Eight Mega Issues Facing Canada popular

This briefing tracks eight key trends that are having a major impact on Canada’s business and public policy environment. Charles Barrett and Anne Golden point to the global economy and the consequences of competition from developing countries. They examine Canada’s relationship with the United States and the competing priorities of defence and trade. They also look at the need for investment in human capital and innovation for Canada to compete on the global stage, as well as the importance of addressing climate change and environmental issues.

A Fine Balance: Canadian Unions Confront Globalization

In A Fine Balance: Canadian Unions Confront Globalization, John Peters argues Canadian unions must make significant strides towards renewal in order to counter the effects of globalization. For the first time since the 1960s, Peters writes, union density in Canada is below 30 percent. In addition, union membership has been in steady decline for the last few decades; he suggests some 50,000 to 80,000 new members are required each year for unions to maintain their current overall size and political power.

A Path Out of Poverty: Helping BC Income Assistance Recipients Upgrade Their Education

According to Shauna Butterwick and Caroline White, welfare policy in British Columbia has been ineffective since 2002 and previous policies must be restored.

A Return to Wage Discrimination: Pay Equity Losses Through the Privatization of Health Care

The BC government’s actions to facilitate health care privatization have reversed more than 30 years of pay equity gains for women in health support occupations. Marjorie Griffin Cohen and Marcy Cohen cite historical statistics, which show that from the 1960s to 2001, the pay equity gains won by women in hospital support work were remarkable, but fair.

Accessing and Completing Apprenticeship Training in Canada: Perceptions of Barriers

This in depth study seeks to determine the barriers to accessing, maintaining and completing apprenticeships in trades.

American Corn and Canadian Trade Actions: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

In response to the Canadian government’s trade dispute against the US Farm Bill subsidies at the World Trade Organization (WTO), Lawrence L. Herman questions whether this action represents a market-based approach to multilateral forums, or if it is merely a response to domestic pressures.

An Immigration Profile of Winnipeg

Citing data from the 2001 Census, Daniel Klymchuk points out that Winnipeg’s share of Canada’s immigrant population declined over the two previous decades. He also presents data regarding other statistics pertaining to immigrants, including average age of immigrants, ethnic percentages, rates of English-speaking immigrants, education levels of immigrants, size of immigrant families, and rates of labour force participation among immigrants.

Annual Innovation Report 2003: Trading in the Global Ideas Market

This Conference Board Report takes a detailed look at the issue of innovation and commercialization. The Conference Board believes that private sector firms are at the centre of commercialization; accordingly, it conducted a survey of such firms to determine how companies innovate, how they gather fresh ideas and seize new opportunities, and what drives them to commit resources to transform ideas into new and marketable products or services.

Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2002/2003

This survey, authored by Liv Fredricksen, presents a “report card” to governments regarding their mining policies. It takes into account several public policy factors, including taxation, regulation, labour issues and political stability, and then measures the effect of these factors on “attracting and winning investments.” The survey covers 45 jurisdictions, including all of Canada, numerous US states, as well as several other countries. Several Canadian jurisdictions finished near the top of the index, with Alberta taking the highest ranking. British Columbia finished last within Canadian jurisdictions, tying Russia with a score of 23 out of a possible 100.

Are Canada’s Labour Standards Set in the Third World? Historical Trends and Future Prospects

In this article, Huberman analyzes how Canadian labour standards (broadly defined to include laws concerning the benefits, conditions, and restrictions on work) will fare in the new global economy. Huberman advances two principal arguments in his analysis: a) that labour standards are set internationally, resulting in low Canadian work standards; and, b) that industrialized countries have steadily improved labour conditions as their laws and practices have become more visible in a global economy.

Are Unions Impeding Our Growth?

Allan Evans argues that labour law in Saskatchewan does not allow for companies to adequately defend themselves while giving unions too much power.

At Risk: How the Federal Government’s Deregulation Agenda Threatens Health and Environmental Standards

Lee and Campbell examine the question: Is there really an economic case to be made for deregulation?

‘Good Jobs in Good Workplaces’: Reflections on Medium-Term Labour Market Challenges

Andrew Jackson discusses the role of labour market regulation in the creation and maintenance of 'good jobs in good workplaces.'

Back to Basics: Worker's Compensation in Manitoba

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) presented this report as a brief to the Manitoba Government Workers Compensation Review Committee. As the authors indicate, workers compensation is meant to provide compensation on a no-fault basis to those with work-related illnesses or diseases. However, the CCPA believes that amendments to Manitoba’s Workers Compensation Act, 10 years earlier, significantly undermined the agreement between employers and employees.

Bamfield, BC: Wonderful Things Can Happen at the End of the Road

Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) created the Office of Learning Technologies (OLT) in 1996 to encourage innovative, technology-based learning.

Banning Mandatory Retirement: Throwing Out the Baby with the Bathwater

Morley Gunderson argues that mandatory retirement should not be regarded as blanket age discrimination, but, rather as part of a mutually agreed company personnel policy, or collective agreement, generally negotiated by individuals with reasonable bargaining power. According to Gunderson, mandatory retirement should only be banned if there are explicit reasons for governments to override such private contractual agreements.

Better Business Means Better Health

This short commentary by Brian Lee Crowley discusses the issue of 'Medical Brain Drain' and the loss of skilled Canadian healthcare workers to the United States.

Beyond Harmonization: How US Immigration Rules Would Have Worked in Canada

Green argues that following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, there have been renewed efforts to increase the integration of the Canadian and American economies.

Biometrics: Implications and Applications for Citizenship and Immigration

This publication is a report based on a forum hosted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada in October 2003. This forum was held to discuss international security concerns, border initiatives and the increasing incidence of identity theft and identity fraud. In particular, participants at the conference highlighted the need to strengthen the integrity of Canadian documents pertaining to identity, immigration, citizenship, and travel; the use of biometric technology in identity documentation was a focus of the forum.

Blame Government for the Fall Out Weyerhauser Mill Closure

In this brief commentary Allen Evans discusses the closing of a mill in Prince Albert Saskatchewan and considers some of the policies that could have prevented the event.

Boomers Are Ready for Nonprofits But Are Nonprofits Ready for Them?

Jill Casner-Lotto reports on the challenges and promises that lie ahead for human resource management in the nonprofit sector.

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