Volume 93, Issue 41

Thursday, November 11, 1999


Rez council in the works for Saugeen

Extra councillor not needed

USC approves Remembrance Week

Contract negotiations still await

Canadians punch more time on clock

Relief effort led by Western prof


Caught on campus

Canadians punch more time on clock

By Stephanie Cesca
Gazette Staff

University students who will soon be plunging into the work force may be upset to learn Canadians are working longer hours than ever before.

Statistics Canada released a report Tuesday which tallied the average amount of hours spent working for both men and women in the past year, said Cynthia Silver, co-author of the study.

Silver said Canadians are putting in longer hours than in 1992, when the study was previously conducted and published.

Between the ages of 25 and 44, men and women are working an average of 48.6 and 38.8 respective hours a week, Silver said, which indicated a two hour increase for both sexes when compared to previous results. "Those are the paid work hours for men and women," she said, adding the hours include work-related time, such as attending meetings.

The study was conducted throughout the nation, excluding the territories over the course of an entire year, Silver said, to account for any potential influence the seasons might have had on the results. With regards to the age groups, she said the two hours of extra work per week was a significant increase.

Western sociology professor Roderic Beaujot, offered an explanation as to why adults were working more hours than in the past. "What's happening is that the people are starting work somewhat later," he said, adding post-secondary education postpones careers.

"People are also leaving the labour force earlier than before," he said. Beaujot explained the average retirement age is 61 years old, therefore people are working harder, but for a shorter period of time.

Beaujot said what he found most ironic about the study was that Canadians are working the most hours at the ages where they should be devoting a great deal of time to their personal lives and, for example, raising children.

David Spence, a professor of clinical neurological sciences, medicine and pharmacology and toxicology at Western, said some people thrive on the pressures of the working world, while others cannot handle the added stress. "Some people are more stressed-out than others," he said. "It's an individual characteristic."

How much stress an individual is exposed to and how well they react to it are the two leading factors in determining how one will suffer from stress, he added. Some researchers call those who become easily stressed out "hot reactors," he said, explaining these people are born with this tendency for no known reason.

Those who do undergo high levels of stress suffer not only psychologically, but physiologically. "It's pretty well known that blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes are aggravated by stress," he said.

Strokes and heart attacks, Spence said, are two of the leading causes of death for Canadians. Stress inflicted people may also suffer from migraines and clogged arteries.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999