Jobs and PovertyPublisher: The National Council of Welfare on Canada's Working Poor, Canada
Year Published: 1977
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX392
The National Council of Welfare was established by the Government Organization Act, 1969 as a citizens advisory body to the Minister on matters pertaining to welfare.
Abstract: The National Council of Welfare was established by the Government Organization Act, 1969 as a citizens advisory body to the Minister on matters pertaining to welfare.
While maintaining that the work ethic is as strongly held today as it ever has been, the writers note that the kind of expectations in terms of content and quality that employees bring to their jobs is changing. They state, moreover, that not only an adequate wage, but also decent working conditions, the protection of fringe benefits and reasonable opportunities for advancement have come to be regarded as basic rights of employment. Sixty per cent of Canada's poor work are unable to make a decent living from their efforts.
The report critically examines the labour market, how it is structured and how it operates. It points out that two labour markets exist--the normal labour market and the marginal labour market--and it examines the differences between the two in regard to wages, benefits, and working conditions. Furthermore, the report discusses the barriers which keep workers in the marginal market from moving into the normal labour market: inflated job requirements such as previous experience, specialized skills, education, discriminatory selection methods based on restrictive union membership requirements, sex, age marital status and racial and ethnic background. While human rights legislation admittedly represents an important advance in the fight against employment discrimination, the report adds that the removal of the barriers between the two labour markets can only be accomplished through the co-ordinated action of government, business and labour.
The Jobs and Poverty report concludes with a number of initiatives which the federal and provincial governments might undertake to guarantee the rights of employment and retirement to those who have been cheated by the work ethic and denied the minimal rewards and conditions of employment that most Canadians have come to regard as their right.