Digital Brain
digital brain
digital brain

Canadian Unionization Rates Continuing to Fall

June 2015 Employment and Labour Bulletin 2 minute read

The reshaping of Canada’s workforce and the related drop in union density in the private sector is confirmed by numbers recently released by Statistics Canada.

Today a union member is slightly more likely to be a female, and working in an office, school or hospital. By contrast, factory workers, miners and other blue collar trades have seen their union memberships continue to fall over the past three decades.

The decline in Canada’s unionization rate has been noted since Statistics Canada began tracking it in 1981. The rate has fallen from 37.6% of employees being unionized in 1981 to 28.8% in 2014.

The trends differ, however, based on gender. Over the span from 1981 to 2014, the union density for male workers dropped from 41% to 27%. For female workers over the same period, the rate remained relatively stable, varying between 30% and 32%.

There is also a notable decline in the unionization rate among young workers. While this decline was also present among younger female workers, the trend is most pronounced among younger males. And the relatively constant overall rate for female workers is based on an overall increase in he unionization rate for older women.

One factor contributing to the decline in unionization of younger men is the employment shift away from industries and occupations with high union density (such as construction and manufacturing) and towards those with lower rates (such as retail and professional services). The higher rates for older women are in part attributable to their concentration in industries with high union density, such as health care, education, and the public service.

These numbers reflect trends which are likely to continue. The overall unionization rate within Canada’s private sector (15.2% in 2014) has been declining for over 30 years. This will continue to be partially offset by high public sector union density (71.3% in 2014). When taken together, the image of a “typical” union member will continue to evolve.

by George Waggott

A Cautionary Note

The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained.

© McMillan LLP 2015

Insights (5 Posts)

Featured Insight

The 2022 Construction Labour “Open Period” – What Employers Need to Know

March 1 – April 30, 2022 is the “Open Period” for ICI collective agreements, and many non-ICI agreements, in Ontario. During this period members of construction unions can apply to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to terminate a union’s bargaining rights with their employer, or – more commonly – a rival union can apply to the Board to displace an existing union, in what is commonly known as a “raid”. During the Open Period employers will likely see increased union activity on sites as incumbent unions will seek to maintain member support, and as rival unions may try to gather support for a raid.

Join us on Wednesday, February 2nd for a discussion about what employers should expect and need to know if a decertification application or a displacement application involving their employees is filed at the Board.

Details
Wednesday, February 2, 2022
Featured Insight

PropTech: Property Technology, the New Frontier in Real Property, Part 3: Challenges

In this bulletin, we discuss the risks and challenges of using PropTech by businesses in the real estate space and for consumers of such products.

Read More
Jan 18, 2022
Featured Insight

Plan for the Ban: Our New Year’s Update of Single-Use Plastics Bans Across Canada

This bulletin provides an updated summary of the current state of single-use plastics legislation across Canada.

Read More
Jan 18, 2022
Featured Insight

Cash is King – Taking Control over Cash Collateral

In secured lending transactions, a debtor's cash may form part of the lender's general security or may be deposited with a financial institution to support certain contingent obligations (such as outstanding letter of credits)

Read More
Jan 18, 2022
Featured Insight

Alberta Securities Commission Provides Guidance On Shareholder Rights Plans, Break Fees and Use of Equity Swaps in Take-over Bid Context

An Alberta decision has held that the use of swaps in a hostile take-over bid can be abusive, and added guidance on shareholder rights plans and break fees.

Read More
Jan 12, 2022