Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

March 12, 2010 09:50 ET

Jobs'Crisis Remains Serious, Georgetti Says Government Must Do More to Help Laid-Off Workers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 12, 2010) - Unemployment in Canada is far worse today than it was 16 months ago and the federal government must do more to help laid-off workers, says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Georgetti was commenting on the release by Statistics Canada of labour force figures for February 2010. The unemployment rate is at 8.2% and 1.52 million Canadian men and women are out of work. "Rose-hued news reports keep telling us that we're seeing an economic recovery, but we've lost over 250,000 full-time jobs since October 2008 and it's going to take a long time to replace them," Georgetti says.

He says that the federal government missed an opportunity in its recent budget to provide more help for unemployed workers as they search for new jobs. "This government has tinkered around the edges, but has refused to fix an EI system that is broken." Georgetti says that only about half of those who are unemployed are actually receiving benefits and many of them are running out of EI because they can't find new jobs.

He says that he is especially worried about the plight of young workers, whose unemployment rate remains unacceptably high. "There was really nothing in the federal budget to give hope to young workers as spring and summer approaches. The government simply has to do more to help these people."

Quick Analysis from CLC Senior Economist Sylvain Schetagne

About 6 months after many declared the recession in Canada was over, the unemployment rate in February remained high at 8.2%. There were 20,900 jobs created in February 2010, all in the public sector. The participation rate, that is the percentage of the population working or actively looking for a job, is decreasing. This shows that many Canadians are discouraged about not being able to find a job.

The "real" unemployment rate, which includes discouraged workers and involuntary part-time workers, was 12.1% last month. Back in February 2008, that "real" unemployment rate was 8.9%.

The number of unemployed remains more than 33% above what it was before the beginning of the jobs' crisis, with 1,519,400 workers unemployed last month, compared to 1,137,400 in October 2008.

Among unemployed Canadians, the percentage who were unemployed for more than 6 months reached a record level of 20.36% in February 2010, up from 12.19% in February 2008.

Finally, younger workers are still experiencing a deterioration in the labour market. Workers aged 15-24 represented about half of all those laid-off in the middle of the recession, and their unemployment rate increased in February. It was 15.1%, compared to an unemployment rate of below 12% before October 2008.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils. Web site:

Contact Information

  • CLC Senior Economist
    Sylvain Schetagne
    CLC Communications
    Dennis Gruending
    613-526-7431 or Mobile: 613-878-6040