Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Bureaucratic Manoeuvres: The Contested Administration of the Unemployed

Document type Book
Author Grundy, John
Publisher University of Toronto Press; Toronto
Date 2019
ISBN 978-1-4875-0447-2 978-1-4875-3024-2 978-1-4875-3025-9
Pages 176 pages


In Bureaucratic Manoeuvres, John Grundy examines profound transformations in the governance of unemployment in Canada. While policy makers previously approached unemployment as a social and economic problem to be addressed through macroeconomic policies, recent labour market policy reforms have placed much more emphasis on the supposedly deficient employability of the unemployed themselves, a troubling shift that deserves close, critical attention. Tracing a behind-the-scenes history of public employment services in Canada, Bureaucratic Manoeuvres shows just how difficult it has been for administrators and frontline staff to govern unemployment as a problem of individual employability. Drawing on untapped government records, it sheds much-needed light on internal bureaucratic struggles over the direction of labour market policy in Canada and makes a key contribution to Canadian political science, economics, public administration, and sociology.