The Canadian labor industry has undergone various transformations since the nineteenth century through the industrial revolution; the world wars to the present day organized and well regulated and coordinated postindustrial labor industry. The revolution in the Canadian labor force has been characterized by the formation of organized trade union movements by employees and employers, liberalization of employment and abolishment of gender and/or race based employment discriminations, industrialization and mechanizations, improved terms of service and recognition of employees and vital factors of production as opposed to commodity.
The Canada’s Industrialization process has played a great role in the evolution of Canadian labor force from the time of the Industrial Revolution. The emergence of manufacturing industries, rail and road transport system in mid 1850s, innovative discoveries growth in export market and the resultant emphasis on innovativeness explains the role of industrialization process in the historical realities o the Canadian labor force. As a result, the industrialization process created demand for nearly all factors of production including the skilled labor force.
However by mid nineteenth century, Canadian economy did not have highly skilled labor to run the then fast becoming mechanized system. Skilled labor was mainly imported from Britain and the USA as there was need to produce in large quantities for the demanding market. The industrialization process also led to establishment of new industrial plants in Canada by USA based manufacturing industries, a situation which has not only led to technology and labor skill transfer but also advanced the internationalization of employees’ association.
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Due to poor working conditions, little attention to workers’ welfare, unfair dismissals, discrimination in pay and long working hours, the Canada’s Industrialization process brought with it trade unions as employees realized the synergistic vale of collective bargaining. For example the Knights of Labor was establisher during the industrial revolution in Ontario and Quebec while the Trades and Labor Congress was set up in 1886 as an umbrella body of different labor unions especially in craft sectors. Read about labor movements
For example the Canadian Labor Congress which brings together Canada's national and international unions, the provincial and territorial federations of labor and 136 district labor councils was formed to advance the employees needs . The trend has continuously evolved today with enactment of various labor laws, though there little confrontational approach to the labor union matters as collective bargaining and negotiation today act as the main weapons used in attempts to advance employees; political, social and economic welfares . this aspect clearly denote the significance of the industrialization in advancement of employee’s’ rights.
The evolution of the labor market in Canada can also be explained by looking at the concept of capitalism. During the industrial revolution, the factory owners were largely concerned with profit making and market monopoly at all cost without much reared to the welfare of their workers. The main concern was to reap the returns of their investment to the maximum, exploit and overwork employees in pursuit of the profit motives. However, though the postmodern Canada a free market economy, the extreme capitalism which characterized the industrial revolution periods has been systematically phased out.
Today, most multinational and corporations treat their employees with respects, train and develop them, offer welfare services and compensate them accordingly. The companies also practice social responsibility and green businesses as away of giving back to the society, uncommon practice in the classical capitalism. The corporations’ involvement in community development have ensured that the corporation helps in alleviating some of the society’s problems, and also effectively interact with its external environment in response to its stakeholders’ needs as opposed to pure profit motive.
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