Statistics Canada Census Shares Important Information About the Workplace

The Canadian 2016 census was released this week and there were some important findings for Canada’s workforce.

For the first time since Canada began conducting the census, there are more senior citizens than children living in Canada with 5.9 million people aged 65 and over. Statistics Canada attributes this to the post-war baby boom.

Currently there are more people entering retirement than entering it.

The prairie provinces, including Alberta, have a younger population than the overall average. Calgary has the highest percentage of working aged people.

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Despite this, youth employment opportunities remain low in major cities while the opposite was true for older workers. Researchers think that one factor could be lack of employment opportunities when young people leave school.

Another important factor and is that the majority of seniors are women and there are a number of issues they have to consider.

Women are outliving men so they need to plan better for retirement. They also continue to face a gender pay gap while working, which will follow them into retirement.

Women are more likely to enter and exit the workforce to raise children, this effects their advancement and also their ability to save for retirement.

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Being a union member is one way to help address these issues.

According to the Canadian labour Congress, union members earn on average $5.28 per hour more than workers without a union and women earn $7.10 per hour more on average with a union. With a collective agreement, women can ensure that they will be paid equally for equal work.

Joining a union also means that you also can start saving for retirement with a pension. At Teamsters Local 362 our pension program is something that we are very proud of and our members always comment on.

As our population ages we need to make sure Canada takes care of our seniors in the workplace and in retirement.

Supporting Gender Equality In The Workplace

There is no disputing that we have a long way to go when it comes to gender equality in the workplace.

Canada has the 8th highest wage gap in industrialized countries and we have even been criticized by the United Nations because of this.

While the wage gap is a huge problem, there are also the issues of maternity leave, lack of managerial roles, harassment and domestic violence.

We recently saw women around the world gather to support equal rights and labour unions have always been a big part of that movement.

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Here are three things you can do for gender equality in your workplace today.

1.     Educate yourself and others

If you are feeling like you are being discriminated against in the workplace due to gender, educate yourself about it. Being part of a union offers a great opportunity to do this. There are training sessions and even large international conferences on women’s rights such as the Teamsters Women’s Conference.

2.     Reach out to someone you trust

One of the best aspects of being a union member is that it is like being part of a family. You know you can trust them to stand behind you, which can be especially helpful when you are faced with gender discrimination. Unions make sure that you are paid fairly and always treated equally. If you feel you are not, you can reach out to a shop steward or business agent to address the issue.

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3.     Support Each Other

No matter what gender you are, you should support your fellow employees in the workplace to make for an overall better environment. If you see someone being treated unfairly, try to support them in whatever way you can. Whether that is offering someone resources or just lending an ear to listen. An inclusive workplace is better for everyone.

The Gender Pay Gap: What You Need To Know

It is hard to believe that in 2016 there is still an issue with a gender pay gap in Canada, but it is true.

Although it is true in many industries women are making the same amount as men, and things have improved since a decade ago, we still have a long way to go.

Here are the answers to some of the biggest questions about the gender pay gap.

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How large is the pay gap?

In a study by Catalyst Canada, Canadian women are making $8,000 a year less than men doing an equivalent job – the global average is $4,000. Statistics Canada shows that a woman working full time in Canada makes 73.5 cents for every dollar a man makes. They also found that that’s $168 billion in wages missing from the Canadian economy.

This wage gap exists across all sectors and all education levels.

How does this compare to other countries?

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Canada has the 8th highest gender wage gap of 34 industrialized countries and the world economic foundation found that Canada ranks in 30th place, making it 117 years before we would reach gender parity.

Who is most affected by this?

Oxfam Canada found that working full-time aboriginal women made 26 per cent less than non-aboriginal men and women of colour made 32 per cent less than non-racialized men.

What does the UN think about this?

They are not impressed. They have criticized the gap, with a report in July saying it was concerned about ‘the wide pay gap, uneven legislation relating to equal pay and the failure to enforce employment equity in the private sector.’

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Why is there a wage gap?

There are many reasons. One of the biggest ones that is cited is that many women still believe that making this much less is the norm living in Canada and they should just accept it.

Another factor is that men and women tend to have different types of jobs, and the ones women most often work in have lower wages than the ones men often work in.

According to Sarah Kaplan, a professor of strategic management at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, maternity is another reason why women are making less then men.

"If [women] do take the time off, they are typically giving up a salary and wage growth right at that crucial moment of their career," Kaplan explained in an interview with the Huffington Post. "This pushes that baseline salary from where future promotions will grow."

Can unions make a difference?

Unions have play a major role when it comes women’s rights in the workplace, including the Teamsters with contracts that have lead the way when it comes to gender equality. According to the Canadian labour Congress, union members earn on average $5.28 per hour more than workers without a union and women earn $7.10 per hour more on average with a union.

A collective agreement can ensure that women will be paid equally for equal work.

What is Fairness in the Workplace?

Fairness shouldn’t be just something you hope for in the workplace. Fairness should be a standard, a staple for survival like food, clothing or shelter.

Not only can fairness at work be a rare commodity in some spaces, but studies have shown employees who perceive workplaces as unfair are more likely to leave jobs -- jobs they can’t afford to leave.

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Fairness in the workplace is not as black and white as you might think. Being underpaid or yelled at by your boss daily are more obvious examples of abuse at work, but the struggle for employee justice goes much deeper.

What factors contribute to fairness in the workplace?

Recent studies have found that poor treatment in the workplace, or “workplaces perceived to be less fair,” are corrosive to work environments and employee morale.

Things that factor into employee perception of fairness on the job:

  • Opportunities for career development
  • Work environment
  • Conflicts with management
  • Lack of challenging work
  • Lack of recognition
  • Proper direction of company/organization

How can being part of a union help?

Research evidence reports workers feel healthier, and contribute a higher level of energy and effort on the job when workplaces are perceived to be fair.

With the economy in Alberta (even more so with the current wildfire disaster in Fort McMurray), it’s increasingly important that workers are respected and treated justly in all arenas of work.

Teamsters 362 fights for fair workplace laws and standards. We collectively bargain on your behalf for what should be non-negotiable rights -- safe working conditions, fair wages, job security...the list goes on. And with high career and environmental stresses weighing heavy on Albertans, Local 362 is putting more focus than ever on mental health supports for employees.

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If you want to have happy and healthy employees -- if you want to be a happy and healthy employee -- workplaces need to be fair. We all need to fight for fair.

To see what Teamsters 362 is all about, visit: