New job numbers show there’s work to be done on economic recovery

September 10, 2021

Anemic wage growth in Canada as some workers get left behind

Canada’s unions are raising the alarm, warning that Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey shows signs that the economic recovery is uneven, wage growth for low-paid workers remains weak, and some groups are being left behind.

“In the US, wages of lower-skilled workers have begun to rise, but wage growth for low-paid workers in Canada, like in the service sector, is still anemic.” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadians Labour Congress.

Unemployment among racialized workers was almost 10%, with little change since June. Long-term joblessness is still sky high and 100,000 jobless Canadians haven’t worked since the pandemic struck. While women remain well behind pre-pandemic labour force participation rates.

“Canada’s labour market shows growing signs of lasting, long-term damage, and the jobs recovery is uneven. And we must be wary about the impact of the pandemic’s fourth wave in the months ahead,” said Bruske. “We’re certainly not out of the woods. This morning’s report raises serious questions about the quality of the jobs being created and delivers a clear warning that some groups risk being left behind.”

Bruske added that workers of colour, Indigenous workers, workers with disabilities and the long-term unemployed need more help and better training and employment programs to help them rejoin the labour market.

“With the election only ten days away, all parties must rise to the challenge of the moment and present plans for repairing the damage the pandemic has done – and addressing the inequality and insecurity of the pre-pandemic years. Ensuring higher quality jobs are created is vital. We must replace lost jobs with better ones.”

“We have a critical choice before us,” concluded Bruske. “Will we build a recovery with workers at its heart, where inequality is reduced? Will we make decent paid work and training for everyone who wants it a priority? Or will we choose a recovery that puts business interests first, like Mr. O’Toole is proposing?”

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