Edited by Michael Barry and Adrian Wilkinson
Sara Slinn and Richard W. Hurd INTRODUCTION Employment relations in Canada and the United States (US) share some common features, including founding their modern labour legislation on the model established by the Wagner Act passed in the US in 1935. However, in spite of many similarities, the employment relations systems and experiences of the two countries differ in many key respects. This chapter offers an overview of significant features of employment relations in these countries, highlighting the most significant points of similarity and difference. This is a large task, as these are large countries, with different labour regulations operating at several levels of government and between the public and private sectors. Therefore, this chapter is necessarily an overview that will omit many details, focusing on private sector labour relations regimes at the federal and provincial levels. OVERVIEW Canada and the US are both federal states. Canada, the younger of the two nations, achieved independence from Britain in 1867, and patriated a written Constitution including a Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. Canada’s federal government, ten provinces and three territories employ a multiparty, parliamentary system of government. Social democratic parties with formal and informal links to labour play a significant role in the nation’s politics, regularly forming provincial governments and exercising substantial influence in minority or coalition governments. The Canadian Constitution assigns primary responsibility for labour relations to the provinces, with the federal government having jurisdiction only over labour relations in specified industries, the government’s own employees and employees of...
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