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ISBN: 9781459415232

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The Canadian Labour Movement

A Short History


The Canadian Labour Movement tells the story of Canada’s workers since the mid-nineteenth century, painting a vivid picture of key developments, such as the birth of craft unionism, the breakthroughs of the forties and sixties, and the setbacks of the early twenty-first century.

The Fourth Edition of this book has been completely updated with a substantial new chapter covering the period from the great recession of 2008 through to 2020. The Harper government’s restrictions on labour rights, the rise of the “gig economy” and precarious work, and continued de-industrialization in the private sector are investigated, alongside the response from an increasingly diverse labour movement.


Craig Heron

CRAIG HERON is a professor emeritus of History at York University in Toronto and the author of several works in Canadian social history, including Working in Steel: The Early Years in Canada, 1883–1935; The Workers’ Revolt in Canada, The Workers’ Festival: A History of Labour Day in Canada, Lunch-Bucket Lives: Remaking the Workers’ City and Working Lives: Essays in Canadian Working-Class History.

Charles Smith

CHARLES SMITH is an associate professor and department head of Political Studies at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan. He is co-author of Unions in Court: Organized Labour and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and co-editor of the journal Labour/Le Travail.
Chapter Title Abstract Contributors Pages Year Price


The prefaces to the fourth, first and second editions of this book outline the changes the various editions have seen and to what degree. ; 2 $0.20


Author Craig Heron introduces the reader to the broad outlines of economic and social development in Canada that helped to shape the Canadian labour movement since the mid-nineteenth century. It … ; 14 $1.40


This chapter traces the rise of working-class organizing in mid nineteenth-century Canada in the context of Canada’s First Industrial Revolution, moving from informal protests to narrowly … ; 27 $2.70


Chapter two deals with the emergence of new workers’ movements on the changing terrain of the Second Industrial Revolution in Canada. It also explores the emerging crisis for craftworkers … ; 30 $3.00


This chapter considers the difficulties of organizing against employer hostility, relative state indifference, economic depression in the 1930s and then the emergence of vibrant new … ; 27 $2.70


Author Craig Heron explores the rise of new waves of labour unrest in the 1960s and 1970s. The chapter addresses the economic, social and political conditions that spawned this new resistance and … ; 22 $2.20


Chapter five examines the emerging response of the state and private employers to the new working-class militancy of the 1970s. It considers the introduction of wage and price controls, … ; 26 $2.60


This chapter traces the emergence of new forces within the Canadian labour movement aimed at revitalizing it: nationalists upset with the close connection to US labour, Quebec workers determined … ; 34 $3.40


Chapter seven examines the impact that the triumph of neo-liberalism had on the Canadian labour movement in the 1990s and the early 2000s. It includes the many state measures introduced to … ; 26 $2.60


A comprehensive list of all labour centrals mentioned in each chapter. ; 3 $0.30


A list of resources for further reading. ; 17 $1.70


Index of topics. ; 8 $0.80