Precarious Employment in Canada


  • Michael Ornstein York University


precarious employment, occupation, industry, Canada, part-time work


Detailed analysis of Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey shows the complex relationship between the different types of non-standard employment, including non-permanent jobs, self-employment, part-time work and low pay. Term and contract work has increased substantially since 1997, but there is no corresponding decrease in permanent jobs or increase in part-time or low wage jobs. The different forms of non-standard employment are concentrated in specific population groups, including women in part-time and low wage jobs, university graduates and younger workers in term and contract jobs, and older workers in self-employment. But precarious employment is much more strongly related to occupation and industry than to workers’ characteristics. There are some provincial differences, while firm and establishment size and unionization have small effects on non-standard employment. These findings cast doubt on the dominant narrative of precarious employment.