Unionization rate increases; women see more gains

Halt in fall of unionization may be temporary given current economic, political climate
By Danielle Harder
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 11/07/2011

The number of unionized workers in Canada increased by 80,000 employees in the first half of 2011, compared with the same time period the previous year, edging up the unionization rate from 29.6 per cent in 2010 to 29.7 per cent, according to a recent report by Statistics Canada.

“It’s the first time the overall unionization rate has increased in a while,” says Michael Lynk, a labour law expert at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont. “It’s modest. But it’s remarkable that it’s happening in a time when there’s a stalled economy.”

Five provinces saw gains in unionization between this year and last. The largest gain was in Nova Scotia, with Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario also seeing higher numbers of unionized workers. Alberta saw the sharpest decline followed by Manitoba and Prince Edward Island.