Alberta workers less likely to be unionized

According to recent Statistics Canada data, Alberta workers had the lowest union coverage in Canada under both the NDP and UCP governments.

The federal government recently released their April 2023 job numbers. As I was reviewing the data, I came across information on union coverage in Canada, and I thought I’d take a look at how things look in Alberta.

Union coverage refers to workers who are members of a union, as well as workers who are not union members but are covered by a collective agreement or union contract.

First, here’s what union coverage looks like in every province as of April 2023. Keep in mind that these aren’t seasonally adjusted numbers.

Total employeesUnion coverage%

According to this, Alberta workers had the lowest union coverage in the country, with only 1 in 4 workers being covered by a union. Ontario workers were second lowest but were more than a full percentage point higher than Alberta.

Workers in Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest union coverage, at just over 40%, and nearly 15 percentage points higher than Alberta workers.

And this isn’t a one-time thing either. Check out union coverage over the last four years. Alberta is the solid yellow line at the bottom of the chart.

As you can see, Alberta is at the bottom of the pack in nearly every month over the last 4 years.

But this isn’t uniquely a UCP problem. Check out the same chart but for when the NDP were in power.

As you can see, we had the lowest union coverage under the previous government as well.

I guess it doesn’t really matter which party is in power, worker protection doesn’t seem to be as much of a priority in Alberta.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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