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Analyzing How Precarity Work Has Change Over Time in CanadaResearch Paper

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¶ … Precarity Work Has Changed Over Time in Canada

The term "precarious work" implies work that draws a low wage, lacks continuity as well as benefits, and poses potential high risk of job-related illness and injury. The definition of "precarious employment" is employment marked by low hourly wage/salary and limited work hours. Levels of employer-sponsored benefits, earnings, influence/control within labor procedures, and regulatory safeguards constitute precariousness measures. The main kinds of precarious jobs are temporary jobs, self-employment, and part-time jobs (intermittent and steady) (Noack and Vosko, 1). The standard employment model, characterized by full-time employment with a decent wage/salary and benefits, eludes a growing percentage of Canadian citizens. Precarious employment rates in Hamilton and Greater Toronto Area alone are estimated to have risen by almost 50% in the past two decades. Meanwhile, across the nation, part-time jobs accounted for approximately 8% of overall job creation last year (OKA; Evans and Shields, 120). While job creation might have been witnessed in Ontario of late, lawmakers need to concern themselves more with job quality, as compared to quantity. This modern-day reality of employment has discouraging implications for family well-being. Vulnerable or precarious workers (including individuals holding part-time jobs) will more likely experience low unionization rates, thereby being denied access to retirement plans and other benefits. Families that encounter precarious employment, face difficulties with saving and planning for the long run and hence, their old-age economic prospects suffer. Unpredictable work hours also affect families' ability of participating in the community and planning for childcare (McHugh et al., 250).

Employment and Real wage

No less than twenty percent of workers in the Ontario labor market, which stretches from Whitby to Toronto to Hamilton along the east-west direction, hold precarious jobs. In the past two decades, this kind of work has risen by almost fifty percent. Another twenty percent of workers hold jobs that have some characteristics common to precarious employment. These include full-time workers that receive wages/salaries but are deprived of benefits, employees who feel their current employers will discharge them from service within the next 12 months, and employees who work variable hours. Barely 50% of workers hold full-time, permanent jobs, where they receive benefits and enjoy some measure of job security. Lastly, nine percent hold part-time but permanent jobs. In Toronto's CMA (Census Metropolitan Area), the percentage of individuals whose jobs are described as temporary in nature has witnessed a 40% rise since the year 1997. Across the nation, a 45% increase was witnessed in self-employed individuals who do not employ anybody else, from 1989 to 2007. Individuals who are new to the country will more likely secure precarious, rather than stable, jobs. Also, the share of workers holding precarious jobs is found to be similar across different Hamilton and Greater Toronto Area labor market regions (PEPSO, 5-6, Jackson, 38).

Keeping in mind that, within Canada, wage program typically falls under provincial jurisdictions, large-scale living wage adoption would be difficult. The labor ministry is responsible for the establishment and proper disbursement of wages, in the province of Ontario, referred to by the 2000 Employment Standards Act. Municipalities would have to work separately with their respective provincial governments for determining local living costs, and ultimately for presenting the argument that, workers need adequate pay for supporting livelihood as well as stimulating local economy. One means by which this can be done is the MWAP (Minimum Wage Advisory Panel), charged with creation and provisioning of diverse labor and business representatives an opportunity to make recommendations to the government with regard to its policy for minimum wage (Nichols, 224; Oka).

In spite of possible difficulties, the impetus for such wage will likely continue increasing, particularly because New Westminster, New York and numerous other municipalities have already been successful in implementing living wage policy. According to Vancouver City's Credit Union, living wages is amongst the most effective strategies for development of local economies. Living wage policy might indeed be the right solution to the aggravating issue of job precarity for Ontario's lawmakers and politicians.

Outlook of the employment market: The Ontario Case

Vosko and Noack evaluated precarious jobs' prevalence in Ontario province, relative to certain labor market insecurity dimensions such as low income, limited regulatory protection access, and scant control over labor process. They employed 4 indicators via existing data as precarity measures, namely: low income (which they defined as <1.5 times minimum wage), small company size, lack of pension program, and lack of union insurance. While other significant precarity indicators do exist (including absence of extensive health, dental and vision benefits), their measurement is hampered by insufficient information.

When taken individually, each indicator of the aforementioned four indicators influences a major percentage of workers in Ontario. Unions do not cover about three-quarters of workers. Almost 50% of workers are not covered by company-sponsored pension plans. Around a third of workers are consistently paid low wages, while 20% are employed in small organizations (Scheibelhafer and Marotta, 7; Noack and Vosko).

The combination of abovementioned circumstances constitutes precarious employment. Authors state that individuals subject to a minimum of 3 criteria out of the 4 mentioned above are considered as precariously employed in the study. Given the above measure, the study discovered that around 33% of Ontario jobs are precarious. However, this figure has resulted from combining three conditions, including nearly 11% jobs where wages are not low (but the other three conditions exist). Though this job category may be regarded as precarious because of low job security, jobs are discontinuous, or workers are unionized and don't receive pensions, such individuals aren't vulnerable within the context specified by Ontario's Law Commission (Noack and Vosko; Jackson, 40). Considering the 22% (roughly) Ontario jobs that pay low wages and possess two out of the remaining three precarity indicators (i.e., small company size, no annuity, as well as no union is more appropriate for this paper.

The type and shape of Employment is related to precariousness. Full-time workers, for instance, are less rpone to face unwarranted work conditions compared to part-time laborers. Around a third of individuals employed in part-time jobs receive poor wages, and no pension or union benefits, as against roughly 9% of people employed in full-time jobs. Despite jobs being categorized under "part-time" work, some individuals may be hired for two or more part-time jobs and hence, cannot exactly be considered part-time workers. Likewise, temporary workers have greater likelihood of being in precarious jobs than permanent employees. This has been a significant matter as, currently, temporary workers may not enjoy full benefits of the provisions of Ontario's employment standards mandating a minimum tenure length (like vacation, severance pay and termination notice). Additionally, after accepting a temporary position, it becomes harder for an individual to advance; he/she will likely earn reduced pay for years to come (Kane; PEPSO). Uncertainty linked to temporary employment creates such jobs precarious. However, different kinds of temporary jobs possess distinctive characteristics adding to their precarity. Examples are: Work performed by provisional workers in agencies and temporary work carried out by migrants to the nation.

One growing labor market phenomenon is the emergence of provisional agency work. Contrasting temporary employees who find their own work, these individuals are hired by agencies and placed in temporary posts. Their employer is the agency, despite their working for clients of the agency. In the past, employers took on temporary agency employees for substituting vacant positions of regular employees who were on vacation, or indisposed. However, employers are now increasingly viewing such temporary work as the permanent solution to maintenance of a flexible workforce. These workers are typically integrated lesser into workplace communities. But this might be linked to safety and health consequences (e.g., temporary workers may not receive the same training in safety that regular employees receive) (Noack and Vosko; Walby et al., 231).

Disparities in the Canadian wage gauge

Gender gap

Canada has the 8th largest gender gap in regard to pay scale among OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations. Women who work full-time, all year round, in Canada earn an average of 20% less than their male counterparts in the same positions. In the last two decades, this gap has not reduced by even two percent (McInturff and Tulloch, 7). Women's wage rise has been facilitated by increased education levels. However, a wage gap still exists between wages of women and men with university degrees. Research indicates that this has nothing to do with women's failure to be more strongly committed to their job (i.e., 'leaning in'); in other words, women are not just withdrawing from jobs or promotions that result in higher wages. Instead, the problem is that women's starting salaries are lower, and they experience slower promotion rates.

A second factor contributing to the wage gap between men and female workers is work-related segregation. Female and male employees have been typically concentrated in separate occupations. Post-secondary-trained females mostly find employment as office workers, teachers, and nurses, while males with post-secondary education have been preferred for the engineering, finance, and technology sectors.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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