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Why joining a union could mean a big raise for Canadians

If you're open to the idea of making more money and are of the mind society should be more fair and equal, these numbers will probably make the idea of joining a union sound pretty appealing.

If you’re open to the idea of making more money and are of the mind society should be more fair and equal, these numbers will probably make the idea of joining a union sound pretty appealing.

According to new data released by the Canadian Labour Congress, unionized workers in Canada earn on average 23% more than their non-unionized friends.

That works out to an average hourly wage of $28.18 versus $22.90  an extra $5.28 per hour.

What’s more? The data shows workers from different backgrounds also benefit from being part of a union, something that reduces gender or intergenerational inequalities and helps raise a family.


Women who belong to unions earn an extra $7.10 per hour (on average) than women who do not. Among indigenous women, the difference is even greater at an extra $7.22 per hour.

Unions also help close the gender pay gap.

Non-unionized women earn an average of $692 per week. Non-unionized men earn $984.

Among unionized workers, a gap still exists… but it’s smaller.

Unionized women earn an average of $938 a week. That’s about 84 cents on the dollar compared to men, in contrast to 70 cents on the dollar for non-unionized women.

New Canadians and young workers

Among new Canadians, unionized workers earn an average of $26.69 per hour while non-union workers earn $22.34, a difference of $4.35 (or 19% more).

Unions also benefit young workers (ages 14-24) who will earn on average $17.45 per hour: $3.74 more than their non-unionized peers.

And provincially, the advantage is even clearer. Unionized young workers in Newfoundland earn a resounding $9.81 more on average.

Here is what the union pay advantage looks like by province / territory

1. Northwest Territories: $10.55
2. Prince Edward Island: $9.13
3. Nunavut: $8.31
4. New Brunswick: $7.41
5. Yukon: $6.65
6. Ontario: $6.57
7. Nova Scotia: $6.43
8. Newfoundland: $6.40
9. Manitoba: $5.79
10. Saskatchewan: $5.48
11, British Columbia: $5.39
12. Alberta: $4.88
13. Quebec: $4.73

Photo: X Ray Delta One. Used under Creative Commons license.

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