Canadian Plastics

Unionization declining across Canada: StatsCan

Canada’s unionization rate has fallen sharply, from 38% to 30%, between 1981 and 2012, according to a new report from Statistics Canada (StatsCan).

November 26, 2013   Canadian Plastics

Canada’s unionization rate has fallen sharply, from 38% to 30%, between 1981 and 2012, according to a new report from Statistics Canada (StatsCan).

The unionization rate – defined as the proportion of paid employees who are union members – among men declined from 42% to 29% over the period. Men of all ages were affected by the decline, StatsCan said, especially those aged 25 to 44.

Among women, meanwhile, the unionization rate remained stable at around 30% over the period. However, this stability masked two offsetting trends: a decline among women aged less than 45, and an increase among those aged 45 to 64.

Traditionally, unionization rates have been characterized by regional variations, but have declined in all provinces over the past 30 years. The largest decline between 1981 and 2012 took place in British Columbia, where the rate fell from 43% to 30%. At the other end, Manitoba had the smallest decline, going from 38% to 35%.

Between 1981 and 1998, a portion but not the entire decline in unionization rates could be related to employment shifts from highly unionized to lower unionized industries and occupations.

“Since 1999, the overall rate remained stable at 30 per cent, despite ongoing changes in the employment mix and changes in the unionization rate within industries,” the StatsCan report said. “For instance, the rate declined by four percentage points in goods-producing industries, but rose in some services-producing industries.”


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