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Article

Unemployment Relief Camps

During the Great Depression, the federal government sanctioned the creation of a system of unemployment relief camps, where in exchange for room-and-board, single men did physically demanding labour. The government was criticized for establishing the camps rather than addressing the need for reasonable work and wages.

Article

Employment Insurance

Employment Insurance (formerly Unemployment Insurance) is a government program that provides temporary benefit payments during a period of unemployment. The Employment Insurance (EI) program also provides illness, parental and caregiving benefits for persons who are away from work due to health and family-related reasons. EI is financed by premiums paid by employers and employees. The program is overseen by the Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC). In July 2021, approximately 1.5 million Canadians received EI benefits.

Article

Canada and the G7 (Group of Seven)

The G7, or Group of Seven, is an international group comprising the governments of the world’s largest economies: Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. It was founded as the G6 in 1975 and became the G7 with the addition of Canada in 1976. The Group is an informal bloc; it has no treaty or constitution and no permanent offices, staff or secretariat. The leaders of the member states meet at annual summits to discuss issues of mutual concern and to coordinate actions to address them. The meeting location and the organization’s presidency rotates among the members. The European Union is also a non-enumerated member, though it never assumes the rotating presidency.

Article

Impact of COVID-19 on Remote Work at Canadian Businesses

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Canadians have worked from home. This shift to remote work has aimed to slow the spread of the coronavirus by reducing contact between people.

To gauge the impact of the pandemic on remote work at Canadian businesses, Statistics Canada conducted a nationwide survey in 2020. The graphs below show some of its findings. The first graph shows the percentage of businesses, in each province and the three territories, that had more than half of their workforce working remotely a) before the pandemic and b) on 29 May 2020, during the pandemic. The second graph shows the percentage of businesses which expected that more than half their workforce would continue to work remotely after COVID-19.

Article

Mercantilism

Mercantilism is an economic theory and policy practised during Canada’s colonial periods. The theory of mercantilism holds that there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world. A nation’s wealth is thus dependent on exporting (selling to other countries) more than it imports (buying from others). European nations — including France and England (later Great Britain) — used this system to their advantage from the 16th century through the mid-19th century. The purpose was to extract as much wealth as possible from the colonies without investing much into them. The Atlantic slave trade is also inextricably linked to mercantilism. (See Black Enslavement in Canada.)

Article

Interest Rates in Canada

Interest is the price charged to borrow money. Expressed as a rate, interest is a percentage of the amount of money borrowed (the principal amount) that is to be paid for an agreed period of time. Interest can be paid by a borrower to a lender (e.g., to a bank), but it can also be paid by a bank to individuals whose money the bank uses to lend money to other borrowers. In Canada, interest rates are determined by the policy of the Bank of Canada, the demand for loans, the supply of available lending capital, interest rates in the United States, inflation rates and other economic factors. The Bank of Canada helps the Canadian government manage the economy by setting the bank rate and controlling the money supply.

collection

Economics in Canada

Economics is a discipline that studies the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. Economists study these issues from the perspective of macroeconomics or microeconomics. This collection brings together articles related to the history and study of economics in Canada.

Article

The Great Depression in Canada

The Great Depression of the early 1930s was a worldwide social and economic shock. Few countries were affected as severely as Canada. Millions of Canadians were left unemployed, hungry and often homeless. The decade became known as the Dirty Thirties due to a crippling drought in the Prairies, as well as Canada’s dependence on raw material and farm exports. Widespread losses of jobs and savings transformed the country. The Depression triggered the birth of social welfare and the rise of populist political movements. It also led the government to take a more activist role in the economy.

(This is the full-length entry about the Great Depression in Canada. For a plain-language summary, please see Great Depression in Canada (Plain-Language Summary).)

Article

Unemployment in Canada

Unemployment is the unused supply of labour in the labour force. The unemployment rate measures unemployment and is expressed as a percentage of the total labour force, which is the total number of people who are 15 years of age and over who are either employed or unemployed. The unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed people by the number of people in the labour force. The unemployment rate is considered an economic indicator, an economic statistic that is used to interpret or understand the health of an economy. There are several types of unemployment and their causes are often debated by economists. The unemployed are not a fixed collection of individuals but an ever-changing group, most of whom might be unemployed only briefly.

Editorial

The Great Crash of 1929 in Canada

The following article is an editorial written by The Canadian Encyclopedia staff. Editorials are not usually updated.

In late October of 1929, terror seized the stock exchanges of North America. Capitalism’s speculative party, with its galloping share prices and its celebrity millionaires, came to an abrupt stop. The Great Crash, it was called, and it was followed by the Great Depression.

Article

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) (Plain-Language Summary)

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was an international trade agreement. It was signed by 23 nations, including Canada, in 1947. It came into effect on 1 January 1948. It also led to the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. The GATT was focused on trade in goods. It aimed to reduce tariffs and remove quotas among member countries. The GATT helped reduce average tariffs from 40 per cent in 1947 to less than five per cent in 1993. The GATT was an early step toward globalization. The WTO replaced the GATT on 1 January 1995.

This article is a plain-language summary of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry: General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

Article

Business Cycles in Canada

The business cycle is a term used to describe the ups and downs of the economy over time. A business cycle consists of a repetition of four phases — expansion, peak, contraction, and trough — that is often called the boom-and-bust cycle. Most often a measure of change in a country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the business cycle is a tool used by investors and business managers to analyze the performance of the economy and to make spending and investment decisions. Though business cycles cannot be predicted, forecasting when an economy will expand or contract and knowing when key turning points have arrived is important for consumers and business. The wave pattern of a business cycle can be measured in length from peak to peak, or trough to trough, in terms of months and years. On average, cycles last just over 7 years, though there is no definitive time frame for how long they usually last.

Article

Minimum Wage

Minimum wage is the lowest wage rate that an employer is legally permitted to pay to an employee. In Canada, provinces and territories regulate minimum wage (see Provincial Government in Canada; Territorial Government in Canada). The federal government also sets a minimum wage for employees covered by Part III of the Canada Labour Code. Minimum wage policy was originally established to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation, and it continues to be used by governments to safeguard non-unionized workers (see Labour Force; Unions).