Joel Kwan is a corporate lawyer based in Los Angeles, California. Currently acting as financial/legal associate for Westwood Group, a specialty finance company, Joel focuses on general regulatory compliance, creditor rights and structured finance. Visit his website to learn more.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labour Day

In Canada, we celebrate labour day by not working. Sounds contradictory? Well, if we trace back the origin of this celebration in the late 19th century, we find out that labour day originates from labour union mouvements that were demanding better work conditions.

Fast forward to today, labour unions are losing power in large part due to the changing nature of workers. Jobs are becoming more precarious, workers more mobile and temporary because of the important shift from primary and secondary sector jobs to the service sector, where unions have historically had more difficulty making in-roads.

Further, labour laws are still largely based on the typical full-time employment relationship that is becoming rarer and rarer.

The end effect is that workers are facing more precarious work and less legal protections.

Labour day in Canada was first celebrated with a march in support of the Toronto Typographical Union's strike. Perhaps we need to remember why we celebrate Labour day and give a new meaning to the holiday given the new reality of jobs today.

For more information on labour laws in Canada, please see my report on the subject.

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