Behind the Numbers

Entries Tagged as 'Employment and Labour'

CETA: A Bad Trade for Women

December 18th, 2014 · · Employment and Labour, Gender Equality, International Trade and Investment

In September the federal government triumphantly announced the conclusion of the Canada-European Union Economic Free Trade Agreement (CETA). Again. The government boasts that CETA will benefit all Canadians, bringing $12 billion annually to the economy. Generous projections aside, does the government even know how the agreement will affect Canadian men and women? The answer is ‘no.’

So you might be wondering:

Was gender considered in CETA?

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A tough month for job seekers in Ontario

December 5th, 2014 · · Employment and Labour, Ontario

After a gain of 37,000 jobs in October, Ontario posted a loss of 33,900 jobs in November.

Unfortunately, 80% of those losses were in full-time work.

Ontario’s year-to-date unemployment rate is now 7.3%. The province’s employment rate, which provides a snapshot of how many people are actually working in paid employment, nudged down a bit: year-to-date, Ontario’s employment rate is 61.2%. To put that into perspective, the employment rate in 2012, post-recession, was 61.3% and in 2013 it was 61.4%.

The November job numbers run counter to an overall trend in 2014: the year featured nine months of net job growth and two months of net job losses.

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Have artists become their own patrons in Quebec?

November 12th, 2014 · · Employment and Labour, Quebec

We’ve all heard people claim that artists “don’t work” or “don’t do any real work.” Some even go so far as to say that artists are just parasites living off the rest of society. IRIS looked into how creators, artists, and craftsmen and -women in the audiovisual sector organize their work. The findings were published under the title “Le travail des artistes est-il payé à sa juste valeur? [Are artists paid fairly for their work?]”. In this study, we expose artists’ working conditions in the audiovisual sector (we use the term “artist” to cover all the actors, screenwriters, technicians, directors… nearly everyone working in the sector) as well as the unpaid time and money they invest into their projects to ensure that Quebec culture stays dynamic.

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Is Big Oil a big job creator?

October 27th, 2014 · · Employment and Labour

Job creation is high on the oil industry’s list of go-to arguments for increased investment in the oil sands. Energy extraction is a key driver of employment growth, they tell us, and the benefits extend well beyond Alberta. “Almost every community in Canada has been touched by oil sands development through the stimulating impact it has on job creation,” according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

The industry’s favourite number? 905,000. That’s the projected increase in oil sands jobs in the next two decades, up from a meager 75,000 today, according to an oft-quoted report by the industry-funded Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI).

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Labour Market Trends: Ontario’s ongoing struggle to recover

October 14th, 2014 · · Employment and Labour, Ontario

Ontario’s unemployment rate dropped in September 2014 to its lowest level since October 2008 – good news or bad?

On the surface, this month’s Statistics Canada numbers could seem like a good news kind of story.

Temporary employment fell.

Part-time employment grew at the same rate as full-time employment.

And, perhaps because of the growth in full-time jobs, even self-employment growth seems to have slowed.

At the same time, it is clear that Ontario’s labour force hasn’t fully recovered from the global economic recession.

Here are a few troubling signs I’m keeping my eye on:

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Austerity 2.0: Kinder and gentler, but a cut is still a cut

October 1st, 2014 · · Employment and Labour, Ontario, public services, Taxes and Tax Cuts

Here in Ontario, we have glimpsed the future, and it looks a lot like Austerity 2.0.

That’s what Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s mandate letters set out for her cabinet last week.

On the one hand, the premier is instructing her ministers to invest – in poverty reduction, transit and transportation improvements, and (hopefully) job creation.

But, with those same letters, ministers are being told to hold the line on spending. Even after two years of her predecessor’s austerity cuts, Wynne has instructed her cabinet to find $250 to $500 million in savings every year until 2017-18 – her target to eliminate the province’s fiscal deficit.

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$15 Minimum Wage Movement Spills Into Canada

September 16th, 2014 · · Employment and Labour, Income Inequality, Ontario, Poverty and Income Inequality, Provinces

Today, the federal NDP is slated to use its Official Opposition Day to table a motion that would have Parliament Hill vote on a proposal to reinstate the federal minimum wage, which has been dormant since 1996.

The motion asks parliamentarians to consider incrementally raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over a five-year period.

For a while there, it looked like it would never happen – a Canadian $15 minimum wage movement.

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The EI “Job Credit”: try “Job Killer”

September 11th, 2014 · · Employment and Labour, Employment Insurance

This morning the federal government announced a “Small Business Job Credit”. The idea is that small businesses with a payroll of under about $550,000 a year will have a portion of what they paid in EI refunded to them. Only the employers get some of their money back, not any of the workers. Also, this is at a time when EI is so restricted that 6 out of 10 unemployed Canadians can’t even get it.

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Canada’s job numbers: Ontario is driving the trends

September 5th, 2014 · · Employment and Labour, Ontario

Many analysts agree that this morning’s job numbers from Statistics Canada are dismal. Canada created only 81,000 new jobs between August 2013 and August 2014. That’s the smallest August over August change since 1990.

While taking a look at the Canada wide numbers is important to understanding the economic health of the country, zoning in on the provincial and regional levels can be very informative, showing that different parts of the country are driving different trends.

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Something is rotten in the state of labour negotiations

September 2nd, 2014 · · Employment and Labour

The rich are growing richer at a faster pace than the rest of the population, which explains the widening gap between the richest and the poorest. That we know. Studies have proven the existence of income inequality time and time again. But why is the 1% getting richer at the expense of others? The latest IRIS study, conducted by associate researcher Paul-André Lapointe, provides potential answers. Basically, labour unions’ decline has weakened workers’ bargaining power, preventing them from taking full advantage of productivity gains. And if unions can no longer hold the balance of power, they can’t negotiate advantageous working conditions or ensure compensation keeps up with productivity gains.

To better understand the phenomenon, we must first go back in time. After WWII, the Western world (including Canada) went through a period of uninterrupted growth known as the postwar economic boom, or more pompously as “the Golden Age of Capitalism.” Productivity gains then were huge, and wages increased at roughly the same pace. The 1%’s share in wealth even decreased, meaning that others were managing to grow richer. The postwar economic boom is also a high point in unions’ history. Membership grew, and many struggles ended with victories. The improvements in working condition they won for their members then spread to other sectors. This is especially true for unionized workers in the public sector, long considered the labour movement’s powerhouse.

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