Skip to content

The Monitor Progressive news, views and ideas

Jobs: Ontario Left Behind

May 11, 2012

0-minute read

Statistics Canada reported today that April was another good month for the labour market. The Canadian economy added 58,200 jobs, most of which were full-time and all of which were paid positions rather than reported self-employment.

Paradoxically, official unemployment increased as more Canadians entered the labour market. This development provides an important reminder that unemployment is actually even worse than the official tally of 1.4 million.

Hundreds of thousands more have been discouraged from looking for work by the recession, but will try again when the labour market shows signs of life. The policy challenge is to create jobs not only for those officially counted as unemployed, but also for this reserve army of discouraged workers.

Unfortunately, government policy is moving in the opposite direction. Budget austerity is proving to be a drag on the labour market, with the public sector shedding 19,200 employees in April.

Ontario’s private sector also subtracted from the national figures, shedding 9,300 jobs in April. Worse still, provincial unemployment leapt by 32,800. Ontario’s average hourly wage rose by a measly 0.7% over the past year, less than one-third of the provincial inflation rate.

Erin Weir is an economist with the United Steelworkers union and a CCPA research associate.

UPDATE (May 12): Quoted in The Hamilton Spectator

Topics addressed in this article

Related Articles

Canada’s fight against inflation: Bank of Canada could induce a recession

History tells us that the Bank of Canada has a 0% success rate in fighting inflation by quickly raising interest rates. If a pilot told me that they’d only ever attempted a particular landing three times in the past 60 years with a 0% success rate, that’s not a plane I’d want to be on. Unfortunately, that looks likes the plane all Canadians are on now.

Non-viable businesses need an"off-ramp"

Throughout the pandemic, many small- and medium-sized businesses have weathered the storm, thanks to federal government help. In his deputation to Canada's federal Industry Committee, David Macdonald says it's time to give those businesses an "off-ramp".

Truth bomb: Corporate sector winning the economic recovery lottery; workers falling behind

This isn’t a workers’ wage-led recovery; in fact, inflation is eating into workers’ wages, diminishing their ability to recover from the pandemic recession. Corporate profits are capturing more economic growth than in any previous recession recovery period over the past 50 years.

Show your support

Since the beginning of the pandemic, our writers and researchers have provided groundbreaking commentary and analysis that has shaped Canada's response to COVID-19. We've fought for better supports for workers affected by pandemic closures, safer working conditions on the frontline, and more. With the launch of the new Monitor site, we're working harder than ever to share even more progressive news, views and ideas for Canada's road to recovery. Help us grow.

Support the Monitor