Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Ritika Goel writes that good jobs lead to all kinds of ancillary benefits to both the health of workers, and the strength of the overall economy:
We are in a time of increasing part-time, casual, temporary and contract work, with less access to benefits, insurance and pensions. Women, racialized people, single parents and immigrants like Michael are more likely to be in these positions of precarious work, which we know are bad for your health. 

Precarious work is linked to higher rates of repetitive strain muscular and joint conditions, as well as worse mental health. We also know that food-handling workers, like Michael, who have an infectious stomach illness cite not being able to afford taking a day off as the reason to come into work sick, potentially passing on their sickness.

A decent wage would allow Michael to contribute to his local economy by meeting his basic needs, save money to send to his family, perhaps move closer to this workplace, have time to build social connections and improve his mental health. Having paid sick days would allow him to recover when needed and not put the public at risk by handling food when unwell. In fact, having these measures implemented would allow Michael to better do his job. A study looking at employers who provide paid sick leave found that doing so was associated with fewer workplace injuries benefitting employers with a healthier workforce.

There is no doubt that the strong connection between good jobs and good health is widely proven in research. It thrills me to see that this is now also becoming a common perspective in the business world. At the Smart Employers Talk conference I attended this week, I got to hear directly from business owners who understand the importance of investing in their staff, so much that one employer referred to his workers as his company’s greatest asset. 
While I know some businesses have raised concerns about not being able to afford a $15 minimum wage, it gave me confidence to meet businesses owners from a variety of sectors who are already implementing and benefiting from these higher labour standards. They are proof that this can be done, and will benefit businesses on top of the health of workers and public health.
- Meanwhile, Paul Walsh discusses the pitch economy - where everything is a matter of constant competition - as the ultimate example of harmful precarity in work and life. And Jacqueline Nelson reports on a new study from the Bank of International Settlements showing how Canada is at risk due to high household debt levels.

- Melinda Trochu reports on a push by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers to ensure that our postal system provides needed services including banking and food shipping.

- Colin Perkel reports on Canadian doctors who support tax fairness - and are fighting to avoid being lumped in with professional associations and lobbyists invoking their profession to try to hinder it.

- Finally, Ross Belot writes that the Libs' hot air on climate change hasn't been matched with anything approaching commensurate action.

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