- Keith Banting and John Myles note that income inequality should be a major theme in Canada's federal election. And Karl Nerenberg points out that voters will have every reason to vote for their values, rather than having any reason to buy failed strategic voting arguments.
- PressProgress charts the devastating effect of precarious employment in Canada. And Wayne Lewchuk writes about the precarity penalty, and the need for public policy to catch up to the reality facing workers:
Uncertain future employment prospects can increase anxiety at home. Lack of benefits can make even small unexpected medical costs a crisis. Unpredictable work schedules can make finding suitable childcare very difficult. The short-term nature of the employment relationship can limit a worker’s access to the training needed to get ahead. Together, the added challenges associated with insecure employment represent The Precarity Penalty.- Meanwhile, Elise Gould offers a reminder that a job - even with full-time hours - is no guarantee of escaping poverty. Craig Lambert discusses how citizens are being directed toward unpaid work - which can both take jobs away from people who need them, and serve as a threat to anybody seeking improved pay and working conditions for jobs which might be turn into shadow work. And Jim Dwyer reports on the wide-scale wage fraud being perpetrated against workers.
In short, precarious employment not only creates significant stress on individuals and families today, it also creates conditions that can trap those who are in precarious employment from opportunities to get ahead.
Given that insecure employment is the fastest growing form of employment, we should all be concerned about what this means for our families, our children and our communities.
A new body of research (see references below), much of it focused on the troubles in the U.S. economy, suggests that public policy has fallen short, and at times exacerbated the challenges facing precarious workers. These policies have exposed workers to more economic uncertainty, reduced supports that help build healthy families and made it more difficult than in the past for workers to negotiate improved working conditions. There is evidence that Canada’s own public policy environment has not fared much better in terms of protecting vulnerable workers.
What policy has enabled, policy can change. It is not inevitable that a growing number of Canadian workers find themselves in relationships that make it difficult to get ahead. The mechanisms we use to regulate labour markets, including how contracts are negotiated, how we set and enforce employment standards, how we support workers between jobs, how quality training is provided, and how workers can finance unexpected health costs and old age were all formed when permanent full-time employment was the norm.
- Catherine Porter writes about Dr. Gary Bloch's prescription to combat poverty as a means of improving health generally.
- Erin Anderssen discusses the glaring need to improve access to mental health services as part of our health care system. And Steve Morgan highlights how a lack of a national pharmacare program makes health care less effective for everybody.
- Finally, Jesse McLaren argues that we shouldn't be surprised by the Libs' weakness on Bill C-51 in light of their historic willingness to trample civil rights in the name of political convenience. But Shannon Reardon nonetheless points out that anybody hoping for better from Justin Trudeau than support for the Cons' terror tactics has reason to be disappointed.