Why Canada must get rid of its ‘bad jobs’
Last May federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said there was no such thing as a bad job. The Law Commission of Ontario may disagree.
This week it put out a report about the rise in vulnerable workers and precarious jobs. Now that he’s heard from executives who think Canadians are paid too much, Mr. Flaherty should consider the other side of the story, and the suggested fix.
Most of us rely on our jobs as our main form of economic security, but gradually the market has been shifting away from jobs offering reliable incomes and benefits.
More than 1 in 5 jobs in Ontario (22 per cent) are defined as “precarious” today. Precarious jobs combine low rates of pay with part-time or highly variable hours of work, and no benefits or pensions. If you’re a woman, a visible minority, or a recent immigrant, there’s considerably more than a one-in-five chance that a precarious job is waiting for you.
Since the recession, four out of five jobs added to the job market in Canada have been temporary or contract work (see attached graph). Add to that a new federal policy thrust that has dramatically increased temporary foreign work permits for migrant workers, particularly in low skilled job categories. Sadly, some employers have been exploiting the fact that many workers find themselves in no position to complain.