Edited by Léo-Paul Dana
Chapter 17: Two Types of Self-Employment in Canada
17 Two types of self-employed in Canada Louis Jacques Filion Introduction Statistics from many countries show that newly created companies have tended to become smaller since the early 1990s, and that the percentage of self-employed has increased. This is particularly true in Canada, where selfemployment has grown by about 1 per cent per year in the last 10 years. In 1999, the self-employed already accounted for more than 18 per cent of Canada’s working population (Small Business Quarterly, 1999). In 2002, these ﬁgures are still true. Although growth is likely to be slower hereafter, it is nevertheless reasonable to think that the self-employed will account for 20 per cent to 25 per cent of the workforce by 2010 – in other words, that their numbers will increase from one in ﬁve at the turn of the century to one in four 10 years later. The phenomenon of self-employment is also visible elsewhere in the world, although to a lesser extent. For example, United States statistics place it at slightly over 10 per cent of the total workforce. The Canadian model may therefore be a precursor for other economies in the next millennium, as we evolve towards forms of work organization that are much more fragmented and service-oriented. It is also relevant to ask what the self-employment phenomenon actually represents: is it an entrepreneurial outgrowth, a defence mechanism developed by a segment of the population in response to radical changes in the labour market, or the result of new, emerging values? Many...
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