Interactive Chart of Canadian Unionization Statistics, 2011

The CBC produced a useful chart showing the situation of the Candian labour movement as of 2011, compared to the situation in 1997. It sets out union membership statistics by Gender, Sector, Industry, Age, and Province in easy to read coloured charts.

Check it out here.

Here are some notes:

Overall Union Membership and Union Density

The number of Canadian workers in unions is growing: Just over 4.5 million workers are members of unions today, which is up more than 800,000 since 1997.

However, the total number of people in the overall workforce is growing even faster, with the result that the overall percentage of workers in unions relative to the overall workforce is falling: 31.2 % of the workforce is unionized today, compared to 33.8% in 1997.

Public vs. Private Sector

The share of union members who are in the public sector (government employees) is much higher than in the past. The public sector in Canada is 75% unionized, compared to only 17% in the private sector.


Since 2008, their have been more female union members than male in Canada. If you still think of the union member as a big, beer-drinking white guy, you are living in the past. Today, about 52% of union members are women, most of them working in white collar jobs.


In the past, most union members were found in manufacturing, but no longer. Health care and education have the highest levels of unionization today.


Most union members are older than 25, although the percentage of younger workers in unions has grown since 1997. Today, just under 40% of union members are older than 45, just over 30% are ages 25-44, and about 15% are between ages 15-24.


Union density varies marginally by province, with Quebec having the highest percentage (about 39%), and Alberta the lowest (about 24%). Ontario is at about 28% union density in 2011. The biggest change since 1997 appears to be in B.C., where union density fell by about 6%.


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