B.C. Government Encourages Employee Ownership

April 1 st 1988

The government of British Columbia is convinced that employee share ownership plans (ESOPs) are good for the province's economy, and in January announced plans to encourage private sector firms to set one up. The new program, called "Sharing the Future," will provide three forms of aid: (1) an incentive payment to employees equal to 20% of the price of shares bought from the company (e.g., I buy $100 worth of company shares and the government will give me $20); (2) payment of up to half the costs (e.g., legal and accounting fees) involved in setting up an ESOP; and (3) free information and workshops on why and how to establish an ESOP.

Minister of Economic Development Grace McCarthy believes employee share ownership benefits both employees and companies and so enhances the overall economic climate. As evidence, she pointed to several firms where worker ownership has preserved existing jobs and created new ones, and cited a study of companies trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange which shows that companies with ESOPs substantially outperform those without in the areas of profits, growth, and productivity.

By encouraging workers to share in the fortunes of their employer, the B.C. government no doubt intends to promote an alternative to the adversarial labour relations climate now often bogging down the province's economy.


Harry Antonides came to Canada in 1948, initially working as a farm hand and railway labourer. After over a decade working in a chemical plant in Sarnia, Ontario, Harry joined the newly forming Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) in 1962 as a field representative. By 1970 Harry became director of research and education. In 1974, he was a founding member of the Work Research Foundation (now Cardus) and publisher of their sole publication, Comment magazine. A prolific writer and dynamic speaker, Harry delivered lectures all over North America and published numerous articles, reviews, and essays. He is author of several books on Christianity, labour, and economics, including Multinationals and the Peacable Kingdom (1978) and Stones for Bread: The Social Gospel and its Contemporary Legacy (1985). Harry is retired and lives with his wife Janet in Willowdale, Ontario.