Job displacement linked to technological innovation or international trade is hardly a new phenomenon, nor is the instability that seasonal or young workers routinely face in the labour market. But the impact of the so-called “fourth industrial revolution” on the nature of work is much broader. Careers are becoming a patchwork of impermanent contracts and “gigs,” which often do not come with the benefits associated with long-term employment.
What does precarious work look like in Canada today, and what is driving it? How should decision-makers address the loss of employment stability? With the help of a panel of experts, our breakfast discussion broached this key public policy issue.
Francis Fong has been chief economist at Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) since February 2017. He is responsible for supporting CPA Canada’s public policy function and is the author of a new report on precarious employment and a previous report on income inequality. Prior to CPA Canada he spent nine years at TD Economics.
Sunil Johal is policy director with the University of Toronto’s Mowat Centre, where he is responsible for research activities and teaches executive education courses. Previously he spent 10 years in senior executive and policy positions with the Canadian and Ontario civil services. He is a regular commentator on policy issues for media outlets such as the CBC, CTV, Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star and Maclean’s. He holds degrees from the London School of Economics, Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Western Ontario.
Wendy Vuyk is regional coordinator of the Eastern Region at the Ontario Centre for Workforce Innovation. As part of the leadership team at KEYS Job Centre in Kingston for over 15 years, she oversaw many federally and provincially funded projects and developed innovative and solution-focused career development initiatives. She guided the launch of the Pathways to Education program in North Kingston, and she led the development of a 21st-century employability curriculum. She has participated on many employment task forces and volunteered on the boards of St. Lawrence Youth Association, KEYS Job Centre and the 1000 Islands Workforce Development Board.
Jennifer Ditchburn is the editor-in-chief of Policy Options, the IRPP’s online magazine. An award-winning journalist, she spent more than two decades covering national and parliamentary affairs for The Canadian Press and for CBC Television. She is a three-time winner of a National Newspaper Award and the recipient of the prestigious Charles Lynch Award for outstanding coverage of national issues. She is the co-editor (with Graham Fox) of The Harper Factor: Assessing a Prime Minister’s Policy Legacy(2016).