Unionization sinking across Canada: StatsCan

Rates dropped 8 per cent since 1980s

Canada’s unionization rate has crumbled since the 1980s, according to Statistics Canada.

Between 1981 and 2012, unionization rates dropped from 38 per cent to 30 per cent, noted a report released today from Statistics Canada. Most of that slump took place during the 1980s and 1990s.

Unionization rates among men – especially those aged between 25 and 44 – dwindled from 42 per cent to 29 per cent, while women remained stable at about 30 per cent.

However, the past decade has turned up relatively steady rates.

“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 Statistics Canada report said. “For instance, the rate declined by four percentage points in goods-producing industries, but rose in some services-producing industries.”

Before that, from 1981 to 1998, a portion of the unionization rate decline could be attributed to employment shifts from highly-unionized to lower-unionized industries and jobs.

And British Columbia experienced the lion’s share of the downturn. Its unionization rate fell from 43 per cent to 30 per cent over the 30-year-period – whereas Manitoba showed only the slightest drop, from 38 per cent to 35 per cent. All of the provinces experienced some form of downswing in unionization rates.

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