Labour Market Policy in Canada

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Labour Market Policy in Canada The working class in Canada is one of the most underrepresented groups in Canadian government. Since 1985 onward, however, the working class has been profoundly affected by severe cutbacks in social spending, privatization, deregulation and the adoption of neo-liberal policies. As the political party most affiliated with the organized labour movement, the New Democratic Party [NDP] is the party most representative of Canada’s working class. The NDP has based much of its party around protecting workers rights to join unions and bargain collectively, pay equity, wage protection, pension protection, and protecting employment insurance, one of the most important concerns of the working class. This paper will explore the ability of the NDP to effect labour market policy through the institutions of the Canadian state. This paper will argue that because of disproportionate representation in the legislative branch, the limited influence a small party can exercise in the policy-making process, and the devolution of labour market policy-making powers to the provinces, the NDP is inhibited in influencing and instating comprehensive policy in this area. As a means of uniting the many diverse groups and interests that form Canadian labour, the Canadian Labour Congress [CLC] was formed in 1956. Although there are other groups that represent Canadian Labour, the CLC remains the largest and most influential group. In order to gain more influence over the policy-making process, the CLC and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation formed the NDP in 1962[1]. The NDP has since remained the party of labour. The NDP, however, has been unsuccessful at achieving significant gains significant gains for the labour movement and preventing the adoption of neo-liberal policies. An example of this is the implementation of free-trade agreements in the

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