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In Canada, the two labor options include labor unions (closed shop) and
merit shops (open shop). Each of these options have their advantages and
disadvantages and have affected many industries over the years.

A labor union, is an organization where workers and union leaders unite
to protect and promote the common interests of one another. Some major
principals of unions include negotiating wages, benefits and working condition
terms, maternity and parental leave, helping with regulating relations between
the employer and the workers as well as to help settle any complaints. Labor
unions exist on many levels, from local workplaces to international
organizations. More specifically, unionized workers are seen in government positions,
school systems and professional jobs. It was not until 1872, when the Canadian
Parliament passed the Trade Unions Act that unions in Canada were recognized as
legal. Throughout most of the 1900s, unions grew in population due to the
overall growth in industries and increasing public demands for better working
conditions, terms, and wages. However, throughout the later 1900s and early 2000s,
union populations have decreased as there are more general protections for
workers under provincial laws as well as shifts in population of industry
sectors.

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Merit shops, on the other hand, can be described as an organization
without a labor union. In this type of environment, where there is no union,
employees are hired, compensated financially, promoted and terminated in
accordance to the managements’ discretion and within labor law guidelines. As
labor law is a provincial jurisdiction in Canada, the laws will vary from
province to province. Merit shops can consist of the same members as those in
unions, however are more commonly seen in temporary or intern job positions.
Since the early 2000s, merit shops have become increasingly more common in
industries. These shops do share some similar values to unionized organizations
such as fair wages, maternity and parental leave and workplace safety standards,
however they can do so while still maintaining a more direct control over their
employees. 

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