The hollowed out nature of many working lives in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton area is the subject of a new report from McMaster University Social Sciences and the United Way. Using Statistics Canada data, interviews and previous United Way research the authors delve into one of the major determinants of the quality of life in Ontario: precarious employment. This should be a major embarrassment to the system. Working people with serious intentions who do their part remain in poverty or in fear of poverty. They work for cash, have intermittent, insecure employment arrangements in the form of limited hours of work, temporary and on-call status and a weak grip on wages let alone pensions and benefit plans. Even university lecturers live this way. The result is a depressing under-utilization of human capital and a reduction in the resilience of our society and a reduction in the standard of living. Precarious employment places a negative slant on nearly all aspects of the individual’s life and these effects become manifest in the public realm. The 120-page report is available at the link below in .pdf format. If any single issue in the life of this province needs to be brought out of obscurity for clarification and remedy it is this one. The Toronto Star devoted a good amount of space to the report with numerous personal profiles. Other mainstream media outlets have covered the report but its release just before the mindless hype and over commentary driven by the Oscars may not have been such a hot idea.
It’s more than poverty: employment precarity and household well-being
Insecure Jobs Destabilize Communities
United Way press release
Half of GTA and Hamilton workers in ‘precarious’ jobs
Toronto Star – see profiles link on left navigation
PEPSO: population and employment precarity in southern Ontario
image: unemployed single men’s march in 1930s Toronto – via Wikimedia Commons