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Valuing the Invaluable: Rethinking and Respecting Caring Work in Canada

Abstract:

Using concepts of feminist economics, this paper demonstrates the range of ways in which carework is undervalued in Canada, from the labour of the unpaid care worker within the home, to the paid labour of the registered nurse in institutions.  Through qualitative analysis of various caring occupations, and a comparison of wages of caring and non-caring occupations of different skill levels, it is shown that across skill levels, and regardless of gender or whether occupations are female-dominated, workers in caring occupations fare worse than workers in non-caring occupations in Canada.

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Salimah Valiani is an economist and policy analyst for the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA).  This paper was first published on the ONA Web site on 5 May 2011.


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