Report Predicts Slower Growth for Ontario

April 1 st 1983

On March 30, 1983, the Ontario Economic Council released a report entitled The Ontario Economy 1982-1995 which predicted that the province's share of Canada's production will decline from its present 40% to 38% by 1995. This relative decline will be caused by a weakening of the industrial sector in Ontario and growth in the share of Western Canada's production due to its strong resource base, said the Ontario Economic Council. Additional points made in the report:

  • The number of jobless in Canada will not fall below one million before 1990, and from 1986-1990 the unemployment rate will be 9%. Ontario's rate will be 7.9%, and will fall to 6.3% between 1991-1995.

  • Growth of the Ontario economy will be 3.3% from 1986 to 1990, then drop to 2.6% from 1991 to 1995 (compared to a growth rate of 5.8% annually during the 1960s).

  • Employment growth will not be in the manufacturing or mining sectors but in the service sector.

  • Ontario's per capita disposable income will drop from 8.5% above the national average to only above that level by 1995.

  • These predictions assume a slow recovery of the U.S. economy and a continued stable Canadian dollar at about 81 cents U.S.

The Pain of Unemployment

Despite any economic recovery, most experts agree that prospects for the unemployed are bleak in the foreseeable future. At best, there will be a slight decrease in their number, but it is expected that unemployment will remain at a very high level. The Ontario Economic Council predicts that the number of unemployed will not fall below one million before 1990. To many holding jobs, unemployment is a matter of statistics, which politicians adeptly use to blast their opponents. But to be unemployed often means heartache, depression, family tensions, and great insecurity. This was poignantly expressed by a number of unemployed Canadians guoted in Maclean's of March 28, 1983. This is what a 56-year old radio broadcaster from Fredericton, New Brunswick said when he was laid off in January, 1983:

It was very traumatic; a complete blow to my ego. They told me on Friday afternoon at four o'clock. I just never expected that anything like that could happen to me.... For 34 years I got up and went to work, and that was my life. Now the rest of the family goes off to work and school and I am left here alone....

I feel somewhat embarrassed, too. There are all your friends off working, and you have been told that you are no longer needed.... It all came too fast. I wasn't prepared. I never thought about being old when I was working. But now you know that employers are looking at you and thinking about your age. Being 56 puts a lid on it immediately.... I have interviewed everyone from John Diefenbaker to Quebec coal miners. There must be a place for me somewhere.

 

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.

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