This Commentary looks at Canada in 2020 and sees a very different nation than that which we know now.
In Back to Work: The Fall and Rise of Canada’s Traditional Values in the Face of Demographic Change, AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley examines the country’s demographic shift and reviews its impact on life as we know it. He explains why by 2020 the talk will be of labour shortages, not uemployment.
A country with too few workers is also a country compelled to be open to trade; trade allows us to use other countries’ workers to produce what we want. Provinces begging for workers will tear down the barriers to domestic trade. The new TILMA (the Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement) between B.C. and Alberta is only a precursor of a more liberal trade regime nationally. Free trade will be a touchstone of the new social and political order.
Reinventing work will become a social and economic imperative. This will include a re-examination of the old one-size-fits-all approach to labour legislation, workplace rules, and a host of other programs that will increasingly be shaped by the reality of labour shortages rather than the labour bubble of the postwar years. Working will be a more Protean idea, and workers will have more choices and more power in the workplace than perhaps they have ever known. Parenthetically, that will make antediluvian trade unions even more irrelevant than they are today.
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