In Our Times Tally

● Percentage of Canadians who believe that unions “effectively improve salaries and working conditions for workers”: 78
● Percentage change in the number of people using food banks in Ontario since 2001: +15
● Estimated number of refugee claims the Canadian Department of Immigration will accept in 2009: 11,200
● Average annual number of refugee claims it accepted during the 1980s: 21,400
● Age at which the average person will most likely be diagnosed with clinical depression: 44
● Number of employees around the world whose average workweek is longer than 48 hours: 600 million
● Ratio of wealth of the world’s richest 225 people to that of 47% of the world’s poorest population: 1 to 1
● Number of employees who work unpaid overtime every week in Canada: 1.5 million
● Number of Canadian provinces and territories that have a minimum wage requirement for domestic workers: 3
● Number that limit the amount of overtime for domestic workers: 1
● Chance that an American believes corporations are to blame “a great deal” or “a good amount” for the recession: 4 in 5
● Date that Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: 21/11/08
● Number of labour union leaders and activists in Colombia murdered since 1985: 3,800
● Percentage of workers in the United States who say they have experienced workplace bullying: 30
● Percentage of workers in Denmark who say this: 9
● Estimated number of slaves trafficked into Canada each year to work as domestics, nannies or prostitutes: 700
● Median price of all homes sold in Detroit, Michigan during December 2008: $7,500
● Amount of total consumer debt currently owed by Canadians: $750 billion
● Percentage of income saved by Canadian households in 1985: 16
● Percentage in 2008: 3
● Percentage of Europeans who believe that “age discrimination against older workers is widespread”: 46
● Chance that a U.S. worker takes less than a week of vacation from work each year: 2 in 5
● Chance that an American supports a law that would guarantee paid vacations for workers: 7 in 10
● Rank of Canada among industrial nations whose workers receive the fewest days of paid vacation each year: 2
● Year in which women became the majority of union members in Canada: 2007
● Estimated year in which women will become the majority of union members in the United States: 2020
● Labour and management costs as a percentage of total vehicle production costs in the Canadian auto industry: 7
● Change in average life expectancy in Arab countries from 1985 to 2005, in years: +15
● Change in average life expectancy in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union during the same time, in years: – 4
● Ratio of wealth of the richest 10% of families in Canada to that of the poorest 10%: 82 to 1
● Ratio that existed between the same families in 1976: 31 to 1
● Percentage of workers who belong to a union in the United States and Norway, respectively: 12, 53
● Current unemployment rates in the same countries: 8.9, 2.5
● Cost of the federal government’s chartered bank bailout during the last three months of 2008, per Canadian: $2,228
● Total amount pledged in the 2009 Canadian federal budget to buy bad chartered bank assets: $200 billion
● Total pledged for social housing: $2 billion
● Number of people who die each year attempting to enter the United States from Mexico by foot: 460
● Number of kilometres of concrete fence to be constructed by the U.S. government along the Mexican border: 1,448
● Total length of the former Berlin Wall, in kilometres: 154
● Estimated number of undocumented European and Canadian workers currently in the United States: 720,000

Our Times Tally, inspired by Harpers Index (see, is compiled by freelance writer Sean Cain.

SOURCES: 78 – Angus Reid Strategies (July 2007); +15 – Peter Graefe (Relay Magazine, November 2008); 11,200, 21,400 – Canadian Council for Refugees; 44 – Robert Britt (LiveScience); 600 million – International Labour Organization (Conditions of Work and Employment Programme); 1 to 1 – United Nations Human Development Report; 1.5 million – Statistics Canada (The Canadian Labour Market at a Glance); 3 – International Labour Organization (Decent Work for Domestic Workers); 1 – International Labour Organization (Domestic Work, Conditions of Work and Employment: A Legal Perspective); 4 in 5 – TNS, Washington Post, ABC News Poll (March 29, 2009); 21/11/08 – CTV News; 3,800 – John F. Henning Centre for International Labor Relations; 30, 9 – Pamela Lutgen-Sandvik (Journal of Management Studies, November 2006); 700 – Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP); $7,500 – Realcomp Realtors Ltd.; $750 billion – Bank of Canada; 16, 3 – Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (Economic Outlook); 46 – European Commission (Discrimination in the European Union, 2006); 2 in 5 – Take Back Your Time; 7 in 10 – Opinion Research Corporation (June 2008); 2 – Centre for Economic Policy and Research; 2007 – Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey; 2020 – U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey; 7 – Statistics Canada; +15, – 4 – United Nations Development Programme Report (2006); 82 to 1, 31 to 1 – Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (The Rich and the Rest of Us: The Changing Face of Canada’s Growing Gap); 12, 53 – US Bureau of Labor Statistics, European Industrial Relations Observatory; 8.9, 2.5 – US Bureau of Labor Statistics, International Monetary Fund; $2,228 – Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, CBC News; $200 billion, $2 billion – Department of Finance; 460, 1,448 – Washington Post; 154 –; 720,000 – Jeffrey S. Passel (Pew Hispanic Center).
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