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Time lost in blackout not made up in overtime


Toronto, ON October 31, 2003 The manufacturing, professional/scientific/technical and educational services sectors of Ontario’s economy lost many thousands of hours of work time in the second half of August because of the Ontario-US power outage and subsequent conservation period, according to a report released by Statistics Canada this week.

In manufacturing, the report estimates that just over 50% of employees could not work because of the blackout and subsequent conservation period. That resulted in an estimated total of 5.76 million hours of work lost or 10.1 hours per employee. To make up for the time lost, an estimated 195,000 manufacturing-sector employees put in an extra 2.1 million hours in overtime, or 10.8 hours per employee. Despite those efforts, however, the net effect was a loss of 3.66 million hours.

In the professional/scientific/technical sector, the report estimates that 44% of employees could not work because of the blackout and conservation period. That resulted in an estimated total of 1.9 million hours of work lost or 9.7 hours per employee. An estimated 56,000 of these employees put in an extra 658,000 hours in overtime, or 11.8 hours per employee, to make up for the time lost. Despite those efforts, the net effect was a loss of 1.25 million hours.

In educational services, the report estimates that 21% of employees could not work because of the blackout and conservation period. That resulted in an estimated total of 714,000 hours of work lost or 10 hours per employee. To make up for the time lost, an estimated 9,500 of these employees put in an extra 107,000 hours in overtime, or 11.4 hours per employee. Despite those efforts, again, the net effect was a loss of 606,000 hours.

Canada’s laboratory workers, scientists and researchers are found amongst all three of these sectors, according to Statscan spokesperson, Geoff Bowlby.

The time lost in these sectors is indicative of the impact the blackout had on all business in Ontario and Quebec. Statistics Canada reports that an estimated 2.4 million workers in Ontario and Quebec lost 26.4 million hours of work time. This amounted to over one in three workers. At the same time, an estimated 713,000 people, or 11.0% of workers, put in a total of 7.5 million overtime hours. The net effect was a loss of 18.9 million hours.

There was a net loss in all industries except utilities, farm and municipal government. Workers in these three industries saw their hours rise as a result of the outage.