The staggering unemployment rate was on everyone's lips during the economic crisis of the 1980s in Canada.
40 years ago, Canada was in the midst of a recession in the like many industrialized countries. Reports from our archives bear witness to the impact of this economic situation on the Canadian population.
Three reports published today in Ottawa have confirmed the pessimistic outlook for the economy of industrialized countries as announced last week by the OECD, announces presenter Gabi Drouin at Téléjournal > July 15, 1980
Report by Catherine Bergman on the onset of the economic recession in Canada. The newsletter is presented by Gabi Drouin.
In her report, journalist Catherine Bergman provides an update on the state of the Canadian economy.
Jobs statistics show that the unemployment rate has been climbing steadily for six months, and everything indicates that it will continue to increase.
The Conference Board of Canada predicted a recession by the end of 1980, with a rate of inflation which will rise from 9.8% to 11%.
Investments are increasing, but imports and exports are down sharply. Dramatic falls are expected in the export of automobiles and Canadian lumber, as the construction industry slows down in the United States.
The economic slowdown seems to be increasingly more inevitable, says journalist Catherine Bergman.
Report by Catherine Bergman on the effects of inflation on the cost of living in Canada. The newscast is hosted by Jean Ducharme.
“The inflation rate in Canada has reached its highest level in over 32 years . »
— Presenter Jean Ducharme
In this report on Téléjournalfrom August 14, 1981, journalist Catherine Bergman talks about the impact of inflation on the lives of Canadians.
During the month of July, the price index rose by 0.9% largely due to increased housing, food and transportation costs.
In the supermarket, beef, eggs and fruits and vegetables are the foods whose prices have risen the most. You now have to spend $13 to buy what was worth $10 a year ago.
The cost of housing has also ballooned, although after a spring surge the housing market is depressed in most cities across the country. Due to the sky-high interest rates on mortgages, it costs a lot more to buy a property or refinance it.
Transportation costs are also in strong increase compared to the previous year. To maintain their car or afford a plane ticket, the Canadian consumer must, for example, pay 18% more than in 1980.
The city with the lowest cost of living in Canada in 1981: Winnipeg, while Vancouver and Charlottetown were the most expensive.
Report by Claude Desbiens on the increase in personal bankruptcies in the context of the economic recession. The news bulletin is presented by Jean Ducharme.
In the news bulletin Ce soir of August 14, 1981, journalist Claude Desbiens reveals that the escalation of interest rates and high inflation are leading to more and more personal bankruptcies.
Low-income families are at the end of the line, observes a representative of the ACEF, an organization that offers them budget consultations.
These families at the critical debt threshold struggle to pay the bills, housing and food, but their options to get out of this situation are rather limited. They are often over their credit limit and cannot afford a 23% loan or personal loan from a bank or credit union.
In June 1981 alone, we there were 573 personal bankruptcies, an increase of 29% compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.
We can expect that bankruptcy cases will not decrease over the next few months, concludes the journalist on the sidewalk of a very quiet Sainte-Catherine street.
Report by Michel Morin on the impact of the economic recession on young people, the segment of the population most affected by unemployment. The news bulletin is presented by Bernard Derome.
The state of the economy affects certain groups of citizens more than others, Bernard Derome announces to Téléjournal September 7, 1981.
With an unemployment rate approaching 20%, young people are the big losers in the fight against inflation that is being played out in the midst of an economic recession. From 1 in 16 young people unemployed in the mid-1960s, they fell to almost 1 in 5 in the early 1980s.
A situation that economist Pierre Fortin explains by rising interest rates and restrictive government budgets that have created high unemployment, with young people bearing the brunt.
Professional and union bodies have very clearly reinforced their discriminatory and protectionist practices against the entry of young people into the labor market in trades and professions for the past fifteen years, he also says.
This summer, from Manchester to Liverpool, because they had no work, young people took to the streets, recalls journalist Michel Morin. Tomorrow, even here, 1 in 5 young people will not be able to enter work, simply because they are unemployed.
Report by Laurent Bégin on the high unemployment rate in the Basses-Laurentides region. The newsletter is hosted by Pierre Maisonneuve.
“A lot of people want to work, but don't have a choice [of; be unemployed]. »
— Host Pierre Maisonneuve
In addition to certain segments of the population, certain regions are much more affected than others by the economic recession.
The Tonight news bulletin of the September 24, 1982 highlights the case of the Lower Laurentians, where the unemployment rate is much higher than the national average. The proportion of unemployed and welfare recipients is around 40%.
In Boisbriand, the closure of factories and businesses particularly affects many workers who will soon have exhausted their unemployment benefits.
The mayor of the city is concerned about the situation, who does not wish to have to seize properties due to non-payment of municipal taxes.
For an unemployed citizen interviewed by journalist Laurent Bégin, this is his main concern. All the actions that will be taken on the financial and family administration side are focused on this: being able to keep the house even with the income from social welfare, he confides to journalist Laurent Bégin.
“I have confidence in myself. The result and the solution to the crisis are not our governments. It's not the politicians, it's you and the means you want to give yourself. »
— Raymond Lévesque, unemployed citizen of Boisbriand
It seems that all the steps we take are a dead end, says another citizen of Boisbriand who is now receiving social assistance benefits. Everywhere, everywhere, doors are closing.
The situation continues to deteriorate, traders are going bankrupt, and we have not yet seen the worst, believes Nolan Filiatrault, Mayor of Boisbriand. An economic recovery must take place as soon as possible and this must be tackled.
Report by René Ferron comparing the economic crisis of the 80s to that of the 30s with the economist Gilles Paquet.
On the program Au jour le jour of January 27, 1983, journalist René Ferron ultimately compared the economic recession that Canadians were going through to that of the 1930s.
Can the crisis of the 1930s happen again? Economist Gilles Paquet, Dean of the Faculty of Administration at the University of Ottawa, tries to respond to the fears expressed by Canadians.
The heart of the economy, it is the investment, explains the economist. If people consume less, entrepreneurs will invest less by anticipating demand and the machine may then stop.
During the Great Depression, it was squalor. We no longer consumed, we lived on, we were starving. Protection mechanisms have since been put in place.
The economic apparatus is now better run, the bureaucracies are more enlightened and the financial means are much greater. All it takes is to maintain a certain level of consumption, suggests Gilles Paquet.
“We are active, we are present, we will prevent even the smallest detonator from working. »
— Economist Gilles Paquet
The crisis is over, believes the University of Ottawa economist, who still advises Canadians to readjust their way of life.
It's a revolution in minds that begins and will end – if you want a prediction – in 1985, he concludes.
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