Revisiting Industrial Democracy and Pension Trusteeship : The Case of Canada

Susan Sayce, Michael Gold

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This article examines the extent to which industrial democracy theory may be applied to the operation of Canadian pension fund boards by analysing the balance of power between employers, employees and unions on joint consultative private and public sector pension boards in Ontario and Quebec. The article focuses on three indicators of industrial democracy: shareholder activism; involvement in fund investment policies (including socially responsible investment); and forms of collective action to invest pension funds in support of union objectives. It concludes that industrial democracy is stronger where it is supported by traditions of tripartism and concertation and by statutory employee rights to representation on private sector funds. Its conclusions also question whether Canada can be classed unequivocally as a ‘liberal market economy’, on the grounds that the economic regulatory regime in Quebec differs substantially from the rest of the country.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEconomic and Industrial Democracy
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

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