Labour Studies information resources: Facts & data

Primary sources

Codes and laws

Labour in Canada is regulated by federal or provincial legislation. The jurisdiction depends on the specific business or industry.

Federally regulated businesses and industries include banks, marine shipping, air transportation, railway and road transportation, telephone, telegraph and cable systems, radio and television broadcasting, businesses dealing with many First Nation activities, private businesses necessary to the operation of a federal act, and most federal Crown corporations. For a full list, click here.

Provincial law sets out the minimum standards that apply to most workplaces in each province. For British Columbia, click here for guidelines to evaluate whether the business or industry that you are examining is covered by provincial jurisdiction.

Note: Certain professions and occupations are not covered by these acts. In British Columbia, chartered accountants, foresters, health professionals, legal professionals, licensed real estate workers, registered security workers, and veterinarians are regulated through separate provincial laws. See the regulations for specific industries in British Columbia.

Links for Canadian labour law

British Columbia Employment Standards Act
The provincial legislation that ensures that employees in British Columbia receive at least basic standards of compensation and conditions of employment. The British Columbia Employment Standards Act and Regulation sets out minimum working conditions for all employees covered under provincial labour laws. A number of sectors or industries in British Columbia are subject to specific regulations that only apply to them. Click here to see the regulations for specific industries.

British Columbia Labour Relations Code
The provincial legislation that protects the right of employees in British Columbia to be a member of a trade union and to participate in its lawful activities. The Code further delineates the rights of employees and employers.

Canada Labour Code
Consolidates federal statues that relate to labour, facilitating production by controlling strikes & lockouts, occupational safety and health, and some employment standards. The Code only applies to the industries which are under federal legislation.

Canada Labour Standards Regulation
Federally consolidated regulations related to respecting hours of work, wages, annual vacations, general holidays, reassignment, maternity leave and parental leave, bereavement leave, group and individual termination of employment and severance pay, work-related illness and injury in federal works, undertakings and businesses

Government and inter-governmental documents

Free web resource providing access to legal documents, such as legislation, cases, and commentaries, from Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments for both legal practitioners and the general public 

Information on International Labour Standards (such as ratification information, reporting requirements, comments of the ILO's supervisory bodies, etc.) as well as national labour and social security laws.

News and commentary sources

Canadian Newsstream
Full-text of major Canadian newspapers and Canwest's small-market BC papers

Nexis Uni
Indexes newspapers from around the world, in English and other languages. Includes transcripts from the major television and radio networks

Current issues of newspapers from around the world. Some newspapers include the provision for language translation and/or audio of stories, once selected.

Alternative news sources

You can also find information about labour movements from alternative news sources - sources that do not represent society's mainstream or dominant ideology. See also SFU Library guide to finding news sources.

Alternative Press Centre's Alternative Press on the Web
List organised by site name.

Association of Alternative Newsweeklies
Listing of Canadian and American newsweeklies searchable by publishing group, circulation and state/province.


See also the Library guides: Statistical Resources: Data & Statistics Information and Economic Indicators.


  • BC STATS - collects and publishes reports of statistics from Statistics Canada, provincial government ministries and agencies and from administrative files.
  • CANSIM (Canadian Socioeconomic Information Management) - Time series on a wide range of topics. Use this resource to compare time series over several years so you can perform further calculations using a numerical analysis program such as SPSS.
  • Statistics Canada - the major statistical gathering agency of the federal government. It publishes the "whole range of statistics on the economic and social activities of the Canadian people". There are daily, weekly, quarterly, annual and irregular publications. They also publish the Census of Canada at five-year intervals.
    • Labour
      • how many people are employed or unemployed; the unemployment rate; which industries or occupations people work in; the hours they work; commuting patterns; wage and non-wage benefits; job training; labour mobility;
      • work absences; unionization; unpaid work; and other topics. Also includes geographic and demographic characteristics.
    • Labour Force Survey - a monthly survey which measures the current state of the Canadian labour market and is used, among other things, to calculate the national, provincial, territorial and regional employment.
    • Labour Market Overview

See also the Library guides to Statistics for British Columbia, Statistics Canada, and the Canadian Census.

United States

Handbook of U.S. Labor Statistics: Employment, Earnings, Prices, Productivity, and Other Labor Data [2019 edition latest edition - Bennett / Reference Collection   HD 8064 A31]
Publication based on Bureau of Labor Statistics information, and gathered from various sources

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. Federal Government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics


Europa World
Provides information on a variety of international organizations as well as highlights detailed information on every country in the world. Europa World is designed so that you can easily browse or search for anything from country statistics to business, educational, political or cultural references.

European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO)

Industrial Relations Country profiles

International Labor Association Statistics (ILOSTAT)
Database of labour statistics provides multiple datasets with annual and infra-annual labour market statistics for over 100 indicators and 230 countries, areas and territories, including annual indicators, short-term indicators, estimates and projects, and more.

Database of labour statistics and methodologies covering the economically active population, employment, unemployment, wages and related variables.

Includes statistical data on country studies, forecasting publications, reports, periodicals, and socio-economic databases. Topics covered include agriculture, developing economies, education, employment, energy, environment, migration, social issues, and sustainable development.

undata - United Nations Statistical Common Database
Provides selected series from 30 specialized international data sources for all available countries and areas.

World Development Indicators
Udated annually, the World Development Indicators Online (WDI) provides access to over 600 development indicators including economic, social, environmental, business, and technology for more than 208 countries.

Yearbook of Labour Statistics [print]
Historical labour statistics published by the International Labor Office from 1935-50

World Economic Forum:

Additional links for statistical resources

Data on the Net
UC San Diego’s collection of 800+ Internet sites of numeric Social Science statistical data, data catalogues, data libraries, social science gateways, addresses and more.