The significant challenges facing the Canadian economy continue to evolve over time. International competition, in financial markets and in markets for products, services, and skills, increasingly shapes the Canadian economic environment. Unemployment has been reduced, and concerns over skill shortages are increasingly being voiced. Over the last several years, most governments have made painful fiscal adjustments and many are now weighing their options on how to apply budgetary surpluses.
These are among the many serious issues that must be addressed at both the national and provincial/territorial levels. The attitudes of business, labour and government leaders to issues such as these will colour the actions they take to deal with them.
These primarily economic issues ultimately affect workplaces in Canada, either directly or indirectly. In turn, they have important implications for both management and labour, as well as significant impacts on the relationships between these two workplace parties. As an independent organization which seeks to improve the dialogue between labour and business in Canada, Canadian Labour and Business Centre has sought to monitor these developments over time.
In March and April, 2000, the Centre surveyed over four thousand leaders from the business, labour and public sector (education, health, and government) communities to determine their perspectives on a range of issues related to:
In most of its questions, this survey repeated similar ones conducted in 1996 and 1998. It thus provides a point-in-time snapshot of constituency leaders’ current perceptions of these issues, as well as an insight into how leaders’ perceptions on these issues have evolved over the last four years. Some topics, notably the ‘Healthy Workplace’, were included in the 2000 Survey for the first time, so that no time series data are available for these subjects.
This report summarizes the 2000 Survey’s findings regarding respondents’ perceptions of the key economic issues facing Canada, and of the priority policy solutions required to address these. Separate releases will cover subjects related to workplace practices, demographic labour force questions, labour-management relations, and the Healthy Workplace.
It must be stressed that the focus is on respondents’ perceptions of particular issues. A sense of the different perceptions among constituencies, and of how these perceptions are changing over time, can help explain changes in their attitudes and actions. In addition, exploring the factors which influence constituencies’ perceptions can provide a basis for further dialogue among the constituencies themselves.