More precarious and risky jobs in British Columbia than previously thought: survey

City says 7,000 summer jobs are available for Boston youth ages 14 to 18

Precarious work — temporary or insecure jobs — is more prevalent in British Columbia than expected, suggests a new survey on employment by Simon Fraser University and the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives.

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Led by Project Co-Directors Kendra Strauss, Director of the Employment Studies Program at SFU and the Morgan Center for Employment Research, and Iglika Ivanova, Senior Economist and Public Interest Researcher at CCPA-BC, the team surveyed more than 3,000 British Columbia residents in 2019.

What they found is that half of British Columbia workers ages 25 to 65 they surveyed had a job with a full-time, permanent employer. Researchers say one of the reasons for this high number is the large increase in casual jobs such as transportation services and food delivery.

The study also shows that secure jobs were less common in northern and inland British Columbia than in metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

Ivanova said they launched the study because there isn’t enough data in Canada about how many people work in precarious jobs and what kind of mental health impact it has on all of those people. She said they were surprised to learn that the number was so high.

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She noted that it is not only the low-income earners who suffer from insecure jobs.

“Low-income workers in precarious jobs are the worst affected or most vulnerable. But it wasn’t just about low-income workers – risky work was found at higher income levels too and can cause insecurity. She said: “It’s still very stressful.”

Of those surveyed, only 59 percent had dental coverage, 54 percent had extended medical coverage, and 53 percent had vision care with their employer.

Source: Simon Fraser University and Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives.

The survey found that Indigenous men are the least likely to have a standard job, closely followed by women who experience racism and Indigenous women.

Twenty-three percent of workers who experience racism reported negative work impacts for them and/or their spouses due to caregiving responsibilities, compared to 13 percent for white workers and 10 percent for Indigenous workers, according to the survey.

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These workers face huge struggles. Insecurity makes it very difficult for people to plan for the future or start a family. It can also be very difficult to find a place to rent — I mean, we’re not even going to talk about buying a house,” Ivanova said.

She said their survey also found that families of workers with precarious jobs were less likely to be able to afford school supplies and trips, or to attend or volunteer at school- and community-related events and activities.

“We found that people who work in risky work were more likely to report physical and mental illness and stress,” said Ivanova.

Nearly half (44 percent) of respondents in a risky job made less than $40,000 annually, compared to just 10 percent of those in regular jobs, according to the survey.

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Forty percent of those with precarious jobs said they had worked more than one job.

“Because people are trying to make a living together, they might get more contracts… So people with multiple jobs are sacrificing time with family in order to be able to make ends meet, and they think it’s very important in terms of stress,” Ivanova adds. psychological and poor mental health that people suffer from.”

She said more discussion and study is needed on the effects of precarious jobs.

“I would like to see a lot better data collection at the official level, from Statistics Canada and the British Columbia government. And we need to track that over time.”

The report comes two days after the British Columbia government released its own survey on temporary work, which found workers had concerns about low and unexpected earnings, fuel and vehicle maintenance costs, pay transparency for tasks, and layoffs.

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