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Restructuring in the Canadian Economy: A Survey of Firms

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  • Carolyn C. Kwan
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    Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Staff Working Papers with number 02-8.

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    Length: 47 pages Abstract: The regional offices of the Bank conducted a survey of 140 Canadian companies (representing all non-government sectors of the economy) to study the effects of restructuring (defined as a major change in the way firms do business). Results of the survey confirmed the perception that the extent of firm-level restructuring was greater in the 1990s than in the 1980s. The most common type of restructuring was the adoption of new technology. This investment was typically driven more by the availability of the technology than by its affordability . Intense competitive pressure was another important motivation. Other forms of restructuring included the move to "bigger business" through larger-format retail outlets, mergers, or consolidation. For the firms surveyed, restructuring reduced employment more often in the 1990s than in the 1980s. The most common reason for a decrease in employment was that competition squeezed profit margins and made it necessary to reduce the cost of labour. Restructuring also had other effects on the labour force: a shift in the skill mix in favour of more highly skilled workers and increasing use of contract workers to maintain flexibility. Companies were optimistic, however, regarding their future performance.
    Date of creation: 2002
    Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:02-8
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    1. Baldwin, John R. & Diverty, Brent, 1995. "Advanced Technology Use in Canadian Manufacturing Establishments," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1995085e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    2. Paul Fenton & Irene Ip & Geoff Wright, 2001. "Employment Effects of Restructuring in the Public Sector in North America," Staff Working Papers 01-19, Bank of Canada.
    3. David Amirault & Louis-Robert Lafleur, 2000. "Recent Performance of the Canadian Economy: A Regional View," Bank of Canada Review, Bank of Canada, vol. 2000(Autumn), pages 13-23.
    4. Baldwin, John R. & Sabourin, David, 1999. "Technology Adoption: A Comparison Between Canada and the United States," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 1998119e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
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