Unemployment is down. But is this a good thing?


According to a news report published by the Canadian Press, the unemployment rate in January 2015 went down to 6.6%. Over 47,000 jobs were created last month. This is good news, right? Well, not really. If you take a closer look at the numbers, the news doesn’t look as promising.

First, the economy shed nearly 12,000 jobs in January. That means there was only a net increase of 35,000 jobs. But most of the 12,000 jobs that were lost were full-time positions, and the majority of the 47,000 jobs created were part-time. These numbers reflect a growing dependence on part-time workers rather than full-time staff.

Unfortunately, this is not a new trend. In 1997 there were about 25,000 part-time employees looking for full-time work. In 2013 that number went up to well over 100,000 people, a 300% increase in only 15 years. This number does not include people who prefer part-time over full-time work. These people are actively seeking a full-time job but can’t find it.

This can be a frustrating experience for a lot of people. Full-time work offers a level of stability that part-time work simply doesn’t offer. Full-time employee are more likely to receive better vacation time, superior health and dental benefits, higher pay, and enhanced job security.

It was welcome news when Ontario’s Labour Minister Kevin Flynn announced the Ontario Government will be reviewing the province’s labour and employment laws, particularly the Employment Standards Act.

The Workers’ Action Centre, a labour rights group, felt this was a step in the right direction. The Action Centre stated the current laws do little to protect part-time workers. In the past companies have lobbied the government to exempt certain workers from basic rights such as minimum wage, overtime pay, and public holiday wages.

Sometimes employers will even misclassify their staff as independent contractors. Those workers lose their legal protection as well as their entitlements to Employment Insurance and the Canada Pension Plan.

Everyone in Ontario deserves a stable, living wage. Employers also need to remember that a happy worker with a stable job will be more productive than a person  employed in precarious work.



The cuts at Tim Hortons have begun!

The cuts at Tim Hortons have begun!

Last year the iconic Canadian company Tim Hortons was bought by Burger King. Many people were worried about what kind of consequences it would have for the company and its stakeholders. And it looks like our fears are coming to life.

Burger King, which is controlled by a Brazilian private equity firm named 3G Capital, has already begun laying off staff at Tim Hortons’ corporate head offices. The business-friendly newspaper the Financial Post said that “tensions are running high” at Tim Hortons. The CBC reported that 350 people have already been laid off, nearly 20% of their head office employees.

This news didn’t surprise too many people. The Financial Post wrote 3G Capital is known to be a “ruthless streamliner” who made big cuts at Burger King and H.J. Heinz after they bought these companies. They didn’t expect Tim Hortons to be any different.

Burger King claims buying Tim Horton’s will help expand the donut company’s operations in the US market. Tim Hortons has tried to penetrate the American market but its efforts have stalled many times. If the expansion efforts don’t work out as planned this time around, 3G Capital might be tempted to begin squeezing the Canadian company by selling off Tim Hortons’ manufacturing and distribution centres. That means even more Canadian jobs will be lost.

It’s hard to see how Canadians will benefit from this merger. No one is really sure if 3G Capital has Tim Hortons best interests at heart. It will do anything it can to make sure it’s profits are upheld – even if it means stripping the company of everything its worth.