Canadian Labour Policy and Politics
216 pages, 8 x 10
1 map, 37 charts/diagrams, 2 tables
Release Date:01 Nov 2022
Release Date:01 Nov 2022
Release Date:01 Nov 2022

Canadian Labour Policy and Politics

Edited by John Peters and Don Wells
UBC Press

Low-wage work and precarious employment are among the most urgent issues facing Canadian workers. Canadian Labour Policy and Politics is essential reading for undergraduate students and others who seek to understand the politics of inequality in Canada’s labour market. This comprehensive book traces the cause and rise of these inequities, and outlines solutions for a more sustainable future.

Written by leading experts and practitioners, this book demonstrates how and why laws and public policy – intended to protect workers – sometimes leave workers vulnerable, and with little economic or social security. Up-to-date data, international comparisons, and real-world examples and case studies provide readers with a clear understanding of how globalization, labour laws, employment standards, COVID-19, and other factors affect workers on and off the job.

Canadian Labour Policy and Politics also engages students and other readers in defining a far-reaching policy agenda for developing greater economic equality, political inclusiveness, and a green recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key features include chapter summaries and outlines, suggestions for further reading, and glossaries of key terms.

Students and scholars of Canadian politics and public policy, labour studies, political economy, and sociology will find this an invaluable addition to their bookshelves. The volume is a core text for second-, third-, and fourth-year level university labour and inequality courses. This insightful overview of Canada’s labour market is also essential reading for government policymakers, labour-related NGO members, union representatives, and journalists reporting on labour and inequality issues.

This fine-grained analysis of how social outcomes in Canada – whether it be poverty, exclusion, bad jobs, or inequality – result from political processes reflecting the decline of organized labour and the rise of big business as a political actor is simply masterful. Ian MacDonald, editor of Unions and the City: Negotiating Urban Change
Canadian Labour Policy and Politics is an excellent text for teaching undergraduate students about the laws, policies, and politics that structure the Canadian labour market and determine who wins and who loses at work. Judy Fudge, LIUNA Enrico Henry Mancinelli professor in Global Labour Issues, McMaster University
A much needed and highly recommended addition to our understanding on employment, work, and labour in Canada. This excellent compendium of finely observed thematic studies offers insight and practical advice on making work better for a better society. Gregor Murray, director of Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work, School of Industrial Relations, Université de Montréal
Most Canadians know that life at work and at home has gotten harder, less stable, and less secure. Canadian Labour Policy and Politics offers a comprehensive, accessible guide not only to what has happened, but also why. The book offers an invaluable guide to anyone who wants not only to understand the forces shaping our lives today, but how to change them. Barry Eidlin, associate professor of sociology, McGill University

John Peters is a research fellow and associated professor at the University of Montreal’s Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work. He is the director of Blue Green Ideas, a research and consultancy firm focused on creating sustainable, equitable, and innovative green economies. Don Wells is professor emeritus, School of Labour Studies and Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. A former steelworker, autoworker, and labour union organizer, he has been active in the migrant workers' rights, peace, anti-poverty, and environmental movements. He was also a policy researcher in the national office of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Contributors: Donna Baines, Yale Belanger, John Calvert, Bryan Evans, Carlo Fanelli, Colleen Fuller, Rafael Gomez, Jennifer Harmer, Rebecca Hii, John Holmes, Philip Kelly, Adam King, Andy King, Stephanie Luce, Janet McLaughlin, Andie Noack, Stephanie Ross, Larry Savage, Jim Silver, Mark Thomas, Steve Tufts, Leah Vosko.


Part 1: Context

1 Confronting the "Monster": The COVID-19 Pandemic / John Peters

2 Globalization and the Rise of Bad Jobs / Stephanie Luce

3 Low-wage Work: Canada in Comparative Perspective / Bryan Evans and Carlo Fanelli

4 Globalization, Work, and Employment Regulation / John Peters

Part 2: The Politics of Labour Policy in Canada

5 Provincial Governments and the Politics of Deregulation / John Peters

6 Precarious Employment in Canada’s Federally Regulated Private Sector / Leah Vosko, Andie Noack, Adam King, and Rebecca Hii

7 Why It’s Hard to Organize a Union and Negotiate a Decent Contract / Rafael Gomez and Jennifer Harmer

8 The Politics of Health and Safety at Work / Andy King

9 Disposable People: The Politics of Temporary Migrant Workers in Canada / Philip Kelly, Janet McLaughlin, and Don Wells

10 Poverty, Jobs, and Social Policy / Jim Silver

Part 3: Cases

11 The Service Economy, Low-Wage Work, and the Populist Moment / Mark Thomas and Steve Tufts

12 The Decline of Good Manufacturing Industry Jobs / John Holmes

13 Neoliberalism, Austerity, and Crises in Care Work / Donna Baines

14 Reform or Erosion? The Challenges Facing Canada’s Health Care Workforce / Colleen Fuller

15 Permanent Precarity? Racial Exclusion, Discrimination, and Low-wage Work among Canada’s First Nations / Yale Belanger

Part 4: Better Futures

16 Canadian Labour and Climate Change / John Calvert

17 Organizing for Better Work / Don Wells

18 In Search of a New Politics of Labour: Democratic Futures / Stephanie Ross and Larry Savage


Find what you’re looking for...

Free shipping on online orders over $40

Stay Informed

Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.

Read past newsletters

Publishers Represented
UBC Press is the Canadian agent for several international publishers. Visit our Publishers Represented page to learn more.