Mr. Speaker, it sometimes feels like there is a choice between having a job and having a life. Overwork and long hours are epidemic in Canada. In the first four months of 1997 almost two million workers put in overtime, most of it unpaid, while one-third of working Canadians say they are constantly under stress.
At the same time unemployment remains staggeringly high when compared with other countries. There are serious social issues and human costs associated in a society divided between the chronically overworked and the chronically unemployed.
I believe that a reduction and redistribution of work time deserves to be the new public policy priority. A substantial reduction of work time, such as a standard 32 hour work week, deserves to be the target early in the new millennium.
It is time for governments to take up this challenge. If we can achieve a better distribution of work time and leisure, stories about an improving economic situation might start to ring true for the vast numbers of Canadians who are unemployed, underemployed or overworked.