The year more than 100 printers in Toronto went on strike. They won the right to a 9-hour work day (down from 12 hours). Later that year, Canada legalized union activities, though the right to picket remained a criminal offence until 1934. (Source)


The year Canada’s federal government officially declared the first Monday of September Labour Day, a national holiday. (Source)


Number of strikes in Canada during a particularly tumultuous time — between 1919 and 1920. (Source)



Year of the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, which involved more than 25,000 Winnipeg workers. That same year, labour leaders from across Western Canada met to form ‘One Big Union.’ (Source and source)


The year collective bargaining was first recognized in Canada, following a strike by the United Auto Workers at the General Motors’ plant in Oshawa, Ontario. (Source)


Number of years Canadian political parties have agreed to uphold the Rand Formula, a 1946 legal judgment granting unions the right to include a union dues clause in their collective bargaining agreements. (Source)


Year the Canadian Labour Congress was formed, amalgamating several labour organizations. (Source)


Percentage of successful labour negotiations that end without a work stoppage in Canada. (Source)

4.68 million

Number of Canadian workers who belonged to a union in 2012. (Source)


Percentage of Canadians who say unions effectively improve salaries and working conditions of Canadian employees; 59 per cent say unions are necessary and important in society. (Source)

Labour Day weekend 2013

The creation of a new ‘superunion,’ Unifor, the largest private sector union in Canada. It’s a merging of the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions. (Source)

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative’s Trish Hennessy has long been a fan of Harper Magazine’s one-page list of eye-popping statistics, Harper’s Index. Instead of wishing for a Canadian version to magically appear, she’s created her own index — a monthly listing of numbers about Canada and its place in the world. Hennessy’s Index — A number is never just a number — comes out at the beginning of each month.

Photo: Crowd gathered outside old City Hall during the Winnipeg General Strike. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Hennessy's Index

Hennessy's Index

Trish Hennessy, author of the monthly Hennessy’s Index, is director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Ontario office. Read back issues of Hennessy’s Index at CCPA: