Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2021-01-05

The ‘Great Recession,’ the Employers’ Offensive and Canadian Public Sector Unions

Document type Article
Author Camfield, David
Journal Socialist Studies / Études socialistes
Volume 7
Date 2011 07 23
ISSN 1918-2821
Pages 95-115


The global economic crisis and its effects have changed the context for public sector unions in Canada. There is evidence that an intensified offensive against public sector unions is beginning. Few public sector unions are prepared to respond adequately to such an offensive, as the important 2009 strike by Toronto municipal workers illustrates. In this more difficult context, change within public sector unions is increasingly urgent. The most promising direction for union renewal lies in the praxis of social movement unionism. However, there are very few signs of moves to promote this approach within Canadian public sector unions.