March 15th, 2016

5 things to know about millennials & precarious work

The gap between the rich and poor in Canada is growing and precarious work only makes matters worse.

Today, more Canadians than anytime in the last 25 years have no job security, no pension, and no benefits. Instead, they’re working part-time, from contract to contract, are self-employed, or in low-wage jobs.

This is what we call precarious work. Sound familiar? That’s not surprising. 25 to 35 % of all jobs in Canada share one or more characteristics of precarious work.

Here are 5 things to know about precarious work in Canada:

  • Young Canadians bear the largest burden of precarious work and are more likely to be forced to take unpaid internships and part-time, casual, or temp work. In fact, 39 % of Canadians between the ages of 15-29 are precariously employed.
  • Precarious work is an equity issue. Rates of precarious employment are higher among already marginalized groups including women (especially single mothers), racialized Canadians, new immigrants, aboriginal persons, and persons with disabilities.
  • The consequences of precarious work are exacerbated by the high cost of post-secondary education. Tuition fees are 160 % higher today than they were in 1990. As of September 2014, over 200,000 Canadians were unable to make payments on their government student loans.
  • Young Canadians are putting off life milestones because they just can’t afford them. People with insecure employment are more likely to delay starting a family or buying a home. They are also twice as likely to report that employment-related anxiety interferes with personal and family life.
  • Precarious work is more likely to involve health and safety risks, which arise from lack of experience or training, lack of knowledge about occupational health and safety rights, and fear that raising an employment rights issue may affect employment or, in some cases, lead to deportation.

It’s no wonder Canadians feel the deck is stacked against them.