THE REAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
- AND WHAT IS REALLY WRONG WITH H.R.D.C, THE UNEMPLOYMENT SITUATION, THE CANADIAN JOB MARKET, CANADIAN SOCIETY AND CANADIAN POLITICS - AND WHY REPORTS OF A BOOMING CANADIAN ECONOMY ARE MIS-LEADING, IN CERTAIN CRITICAL RESPECTS
1. With particular reference to H.R.D.C. / Statistics Canada, there has been persistent and gross under-stating of the true size and character of Canada's unemployment problem for at least the 21 years (as at May 2003) that I have been in Canada. It is shown on this site why the so-called and well-known official unemployment rate is totally mis-leading to everybody, including government policy-makers.
2. There has been persistent time-wasting and obfuscation by lawyers and other officials, at tax payers' expense, directed at unemployed persons (myself in particular) seeking re-training and job placements - based on dysfunctional regulations, and refusal to recognise the persons affected as unemployed in real terms (by simply classifying them as Not in the Labour Force, among other things). This amounts to spending tax payers' money, to prevent most unemployed people from again contributing to the tax base.
The problems just referred to are being aggravated because H.R.D.C. staff are over-worked, because of down-sizing since 1994 and reorganisations. As a result, extremely serious errors were made (concerning myself, in particular) even with respect to the then-current set of regulations. In early 2000, there were months of scandal and criticism of H.R.D.C. Minister Jane Stewart in the media before anyone thought to write about the staff overwork problem in H.R.D.C. ; this problem, and the mis-reporting about the unemployment numbers already referred to, has existed since long before Jane Stewart took office (and has clearly partly been caused by H.R.D.C. staff being told to waste time applying ill-thought-out rules). If you don't believe me then look at this:-
Further, amid this, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was being routinely violated, with respect to persons' rights to life and security of the person and mine in particular - rather obviously, if someone is being stopped from obtaining gainful employment - for some reason connected with bureaucratic red tape, bigotry etc. - then they are effectively being deprived of any control whatsoever over their personal affairs.
This was happening in spite of the efforts of the federal Standing Committee on Human Resources on Human Resources Development during 1994 and 1995 which led to certain reforms starting on July 1st 1996; this in turn seemed to be because nobody told the Committee the true size of the problem, which in turn has led to a lack of appreciation of the true numbers of jobs needed (which equates to, a lack of appreciation of the amount of wealth needing to be created in Canada in order to eliminate unemployment in real terms, and a corresponding lack of urgency on everybody's part.) It is also obvious that the people who drafted the new rules, after the Committee finished its work, were out of touch with some aspects of how the H.R.D.C. system was working in practice.
As an example of an ill-thought-out rule, the Reach-Back program imposes an arbitrary three-year time limit, after someone s E.I. benefits have expired, beyond which the person cannot obtain any re-training assistance - with no regard at all to the circumstances of a case. In theory, this is supposed to help people who have had persistent trouble getting work (including those on social assistance) - but in practice still excludes a large number of people, such as those stuck with low-paid and/or sporadic sub-contract work (or, worse, those who haven't been able to get any work whatsoever).
Additionally, at least some of these problems have been covered up at the highest level, in the manner just described: I have exposed specific instances of this, which have affected me personally, on this web site. These took place before The Hon. Jane Stewart became Minister for Human Resources Development. I have been messed around continually, and am still being messed around, by almost everybody since coming from the U.K. to Canada in 1982 to work as a professional engineer. Quite apart from the social and professional consequences for me personally, and being prevented from contributing significantly to the tax base at the same time, my rights to life and security of the person (under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ) have been routinely violated - by people who deliberately obfuscated when they were told about the problems. The details are given elsewhere on this site.
This had been happening against a BACKGROUND involving - AMONG OTHER THINGS - an E.I. fund surplus, flexible rules concerning H.R.D.C. job-creation grants, H.R.D.C. funding for a call-girl "art exhibit" in Paris (France), extension of E.I. benefit periods for prisoners, job-creation grants to certain companies that subsequently went bankrupt, R.C.M.P. investigations into questionable H.R.D.C. grant recipients, and questionable grants to a Montreal firm run by friends of Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
Dont believe me? Would you prefer to think that I am the one who has gone mad - so as to have yourself an excuse for fobbing me off? If you think you can get away with THAT, then you d better change your outllook and review at least some of the evidence. Here it is:-
I think you Canadians had better smarten up and do things properly!
3. Why federal MP s usually cannot and will not do anything to help you - despite their nominal role as your representative in Parliament.
The situation described clearly wont do.
With respect to H.R.D.C. for example, if you brought complaints such as mine to your federal M.P. they would apologise to you, in private, for the situation - but then do absolutely nothing to correct it in real terms, because their hands were tied by the existing legislation. Further, it seems that they were tied down by other rules - unwritten or otherwise - which nobody even wanted to admit exist. So thanks to H.R.D.C's rules (legislation, which is falsely represented to me as carved in stone and not subject to change), and M.P. s apparent powerlessness, the problems got swept under the carpet and nothing got done. I have personally experienced this, on several occasions.
Of course, in this context, everybody conveniently forgets that even legislation is subject to change, if it is found not to be working properly. Why do you think we have bodies such as the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development? On the other hand, until recently H.R.D.C. seems to have had no system for recording problems and acting to initiate corrective action, at least until they hired Tecsult Eduplus to provide counselling to unemployed people. They also still never seem to make exceptions for individuals when dysfunction has been proven by the individual to have occurred.
Then everybody wonders how to solve the problems with poverty in general, and child poverty in particular, in Canada - but dont seem to connect these with solving the unemployment problem in real terms, as opposed to dealing with people who are merely officially unemployed. In Ontario, if you become incapable of looking after your children properly, because of unemployment and all that it leads to, do you get any more help with getting work / becoming a tax payer? NO! The Children s Aid Society, police, money-grabbing lawyers and the courts stick their noses in!
Unless you see a psychiatrist. They can and do refer individuals to special programs for people with disabilities, which include mental problems among others. And the people who run these programs are very helpful. But there is a catch: most hiring managers are typical Canadians when it comes to dealing with people having mental problems - and dont want to know that if someone has work then they will be perfectly O.K. Instead, they just mindlessly assume that the person cannot possibly be any good and dont give them a hearing. This situation is not helped by the stupidly frenetic pace, in the average private sector work place (especially in the high-tech industry), which means that as a rule nobody has any time for anything. Add to this the situation where hiring managers typically get 100 or more applications for every position advertised. Then what do you expect?
So the people who run the special programs dont get much cooperation, at least from private sector business.
The root of the trouble actually seems to be a very inefficient labour market - contrary to what we are led to believe, based on most media reports and the usual statistics quoted. The numbers of jobs being created in the economy is actually very small compared to the numbers who in real terms actually need a job, but for some reason can't get one.
This labour market inefficiency mainly seems to affect those who have persistent difficulty with getting work - i.e. people who are not even recognised as unemployed in the H.R.D.C. / Statistics Canada figures and who are mostly barred from any re-training and job placement programs, federal or provincial. Employers dont need 100 or more people applying for every job vacant - for instance, in the high-tech industry. 5 or 10 would be more realistic. They would still get a choice over whom to hire, would arguably get just as good a choice, and would have some time to provide basic feedback to others. Those others would then have a better chance of eventually becoming tax payers again, apart from other things. Then we might eventually see less complaining, from the business community and everybody, about excessive income taxes and business taxes.
The labour market is efficient only with respect to those who are merely officially unemployed - or those who are employed and doing well, and who get approached by people who want to poach them from their existing employers by making them a better offer. Most people who are unemployed in real terms fall into neither of these categories.
But it seems to me that no federal M.P. dares to even raise questions in Parliament about this sort of thing - on account of certain rules, unwritten or otherwise. This is not helped, of course, by the mindless acceptance - amounting to defeatism and incompetence - on the part of most people, concerning the so-called inevitability of unemployment and social problems
How often has someone said to you, …there is so much of it going on that you can't POSSIBLY do anything about it.Who or what is responsible for spreading this kind of defeatist and irrational nonsense? Who was the last idiot who tried to look important by trying to tell you to …be careful what you say?
And this, in a supposedly booming economy!
4. There is a total lack of recognition in Canada, by the politicians and everybody else, of the true numbers of jobs needed to solve the unemployment problem in real terms, for the reason referred to in para.1 above
5. There is a total lack of recognition in Canada of the true potential losses to the tax base resulting from unemployment, for the reason just stated.
6. There is a total lack of recognition in Canada of what the true consequences for health care, education , the military, security services etc. will be, on account of the unemployment problem if it is not solved in real terms, for the reasons just stated.
7. The Canadian job market is appallingly inefficient, in spite of what you see and hear in almost all media reports.
8. Why Canada is having trouble with attracting immigrants in the numbers it says it needs.
If you have looked at paragraph 1 above and gone to The Real Unemployment Rate page on this site, you will already have some idea. Here is some of the evidence:-
If you have looked at this, you will have noticed the perceived problem with Canada s declining birth rate as being one of the reasons why we need more immigrants annually. Of course, nobody seems to wonder whether this is in fact being caused by conditions not being satisfactory for Canadians to have children – i.e. unemployment, or the threat of it.
Here's another one:- IMMIGRANTS - UNDEREMPLOYMENT - 2.htm
This article, based on information from the same source as the previous one, emphasises the problems resulting from foreign-trained immigrants having trouble with discrimination and getting their qualifications recognised. I also find the following to be particularly interesting:-
. . . The findings show, researchers say, that the government s goal of bringing in 300,000 immigrants to Canada in the year 2000 ignores one of the chief problems with our immigration policy: how immigrants fare after they arrive.
If you think of Canada as a company: when you hire new workers, most big corporations have orientation programs. They don't just turn the new employee loose in the organization and say to them, 'Well, find something useful to do," Mr. Reitz said. "Especially if they're from some far away place.
Like other Western countries, Canada uses a point system to weigh its immigrant-selection process in favour of skilled and educated foreigners considered most likely to get jobs once they get here. . . .
Personally, I ve told more than enough people in positions of influence about my own needs for assistance - to get back to work and become a tax payer, after arriving in Canada (Montreal, Quebec) as a Landed Immigrant with a pre-arranged job in 1982. Without going into details, the worst mistake I made was to have been enticed to go to Montreal, Quebec, which I found to be nothing but a cesspit of corrupt business men with political connections, high unemployment and corrupt / poor-quality lawyers on the make at the behest of certain business men, at my expense. The twin evils of dubious political leadership in Quebec and the Great Recession of the early 1980's, among other things, were the root causes of it. Did anybody help, when I complained about it? Not to a degree which made any real difference. Those who did try to help me had very little influence with respect to the size and character of the problem.
1.9 Why people thinking of immigrating to Canada should not do so, until this stupid mess is cleaned up
BAD WORKPLACE MANNERS, TIME-WASTERS IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION, REFUSAL TO RECOGNISE FOREIGN EXPERIENCE, BIGOTS , INCOMPETENCE ALL ROUND, DEFEATIST ATTITUDES. Plus :- excessive competition for jobs and an inefficient job market, which is causing gross and excessive emphasis on subjects of marginal importance such as resume-writing, dress, interview techniques - at the expense of getting Canadian work experience and work skills maintenance / enhancement.
Let us be absolutely clear about this: you can give as much advice as you like to people out of work, and add as much sophistication to the job-hunting process as you like, in the name of helping people to obtain employment. But no amount of such advice or sophistication will compensate for the obvious fact that if there are 100 people looking for one job, only one person will get it.
Any approach to solving the problem which emphasizes sophistication in how you approach employers, without doing anything to stimulate the economy to create jobs in the numbers actually required, is both delusional and DANGEROUS. I dont need endless advice about how to look at my blasted navel, or how to re-invent myself, and nor does anybody else in this position. DO NOT waste both YOUR time and energy as well as OURS on this stuff!
1.10 Mis-guided criticism, by Canadians, of immigrants to Canada and why it is happening, and why it must be stopped.
I think by now most people will understand what is actually wrong, but I m going to say just one more thing. In particular, there was an article in The Ottawa Citizen on March 2nd 1990, entitled Canadians Don't Want Immigrants in Their Major Cities. Quite apart from other things - perceiving them as a source of un-wanted competition for jobs and all the rest of it - it seems from this that most Canadians conveniently forget that they themselves are former immigrants, or are descendants of former immigrants. The only exceptions to this are the members of the First Nations - the descendants of the Indian tribes who were in Canada long before the first European settlers arrived from Britain and France. I dont want to see or hear any more of this offensive, mis-guided, pejorative, irrelevant and ill-thought-out crap.