Unemployment is People, Not Statistics

January 1 st 1984

When a small Vancouver insurance brokerage firm advertised for a "person Friday," requiring no special skills or experience and paying only $4.25 per hour, it was astounded to receive more than 400 applications. Mr. Paul Nicholls, who placed the ad, said that 90 per cent of the resumes were typed or neatly written, and many of the applicants were over-qualified. One applicant even offered to donate the services of his home computer and word processor if he were hired for the job. Another held a master's degree and claimed that this was the 2,OOOth resume he had submitted. Mr. Nicholls, deeply touched by the incredible response, wrote a letter about this incident to the Vancouver Sun and copies were sent to every MP.

This situation received much media attention and revealed, according to Mr. Nicholls, that unemployment is far more of a problem than Statistics Canada figures indicate.


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.