Communities in Crisis

The full reports of the CLC Communities in Crisis project are now available  (links are at the end of each community summary.)

Canada lost almost 500,000 full-time jobs between the Fall of 2008 and the Summer of 2009, with a particularly devastating impact upon industrial communities where a wave of layoffs and plant closures added to the toll of the longer standing manufacturing and forest industry crisis.

Researchers from the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and member unions visited six especially hard hit communities in the Summer of 2009 – Liverpool, Nova Scotia; Mirimachi, New Brunswick; Oshawa, Welland and Sault Ste Marie in Ontario; Campbell River in BC.  Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was added to show the huge underlying issues in an ostensibly prosperous  community.

In these communities, researchers met with labour and other community leaders; laid-off and unemployed workers; workers in both the public and private sectors; women, men, workers of colour, young workers, and Aboriginal workers.

We talked to people who deliver social services to the community and unemployed workers. We spoke with educators and health care providers, clergy and politicians. In each interview, we gained deeper knowledge of the real impact of market forces on people’s lives.   We witnessed the inadequacy of  unemployment insurance and adjustment programs. We saw the strain on municipalities. We heard what job loss is doing to families.

These studies will be an important benchmark against which to assess the nature of the partial recovery we have experienced over the past year. To judge by local unemployment rates – still over 10% in Oshawa and Welland – there has been little progress where the crisis hit hardest.

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