Labour Relations Laws in Canada and the United States, 2009 Edition

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This study is the third installment of a long-term project to evaluate the extent to which labour relations laws bring flexibility to the labour market while balancing the needs of employers, employees, and unions. Balanced labour laws are crucial in creating and maintaining an environment that encourages productive economic activity. Labour relations laws inhibit the proper functioning of a labour market and thus reduce its performance when they favour one group over another or are overly prescriptive through the imposition of resolutions to labour disputes rather than fostering negotiation among employers, employees, and unions. Empirical evidence from around the world indicates that jurisdictions with flexible labour markets have more productive labour markets (higher job creation rates, lower unemployment, and higher incomes) which produce a higher standard of living.

This publication provides an empirical assessment of labour relations laws in the private sector for the 10 Canadian provinces, the Canadian federal jurisdiction, and the 50 US states. In all, 11 components of labour relations laws are examined, grouped into three categories: (1) Organizing a Union; (2) Union Security, and; (3) Regulation of Unionized Firms. Below is a brief summary of the overall results as well as of the performance in each of the three categories.

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