In The Precarity Penalty released in early 2015, it was revealed that 44% of GTHA residents are regarded as precariously employed. Households across the region are enduring all sorts of stresses as a result.
Currently, boundaries between precarious work and informal work are blurry. On the one hand we have the potential to create systems that shed light on this workforce and enable protections for those employed in this way. However, online tools that build unstable work schedules with little advance notice throws the lives of vulnerable workers into chaos and makes it difficult to make childcare and transportation arrangements, let alone find an alternative or second job.
Before designing systems to meet the precarious work conditions, what questions should we be asking? Are the days of full-time employment over? Are we racing too quickly to accept the changing reality rather than challenge it? If we do plan ways of addressing the challenges of precarious employment, what might that look like?
British government bodies have been working on answering the last question since 2005 and have designed CEDAH: a Central Database of Available Hours.
A CEDAH for Ontario would allow anyone to sell hours of their choosing, on their own terms, across all sorts of roles to as many employers as they want. It would provide personalized opportunity data, constant openings for progression to skills and higher paid bookings while fostering continuity. This technology is currently available to any city that has the right conditions for launch.
Do we want infrastructure like this in Ontario? How might we control such a market? What can we learn from the British experience?
Watch our webinar that includes the Director of the UK’s Beyond Jobs project, Wingham Rowan who led CEDAH’s technology development. Joining Wingham will be Sean Geobey, who authored the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ report The Young and the Jobless: Youth Unemployment in Ontario as well as Dr. Wayne Lewchuk, Professor in the School of Labour Studies & Department of Economics, McMaster University and Michelynn Laflèche, Director of Research, Public Policy & Evaluation, United Way Toronto. Wayne and Michelynn jointly authored “The Precarity Penalty.”
The situation is complex and will continue dialogue about this difficult and growing employment issue. This conversation will be of interest to anyone involved in city economic development, workforce development and technology driven social change.