Union membership trends and challenges

Source: Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), October 3, 2016

The face and composition of Canadian unions, including CUPE, have undergone major changes in recent decades and will continue to do so in the coming decade.

• In 1990, 60 per cent of Canadian union members were male and were still a majority as recently as a decade ago. Today, 53 per cent are female and if recent trends continue that number will reach 60 per cent by 2030.
• Unionization rates have dropped most for younger men and men 
in general. They’ve stayed relatively stable for women overall, with the 
rate decline for younger women 
being offset by a rise for older women.
• Figures aren’t available on the number of racialized or Aboriginal union members, but they are likely increasing their overall share.
• Twenty years ago, there were more union members working in manufacturing than any other sector. 
Now manufacturing ranks as the fourth largest sector, well below union members in education who account for double their numbers and members in health care and social services who are almost three times more numerous.