Governments, employers, and unions must all work urgently to address several critical weaknesses in Canada’s employment laws and policies to ensure the post-COVID re-opening of the economy can be safe and sustained.
That’s the core message of a new research report from the Centre for Future Work. The report is the first publication from the Centre’s new PowerShare research program, undertaken in partnership with the Atkinson Foundation and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
The study, by the Centre’s Director Jim Stanford, lists 10 specific ways jobs need to be protected and strengthened in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down large sections of the national economy. In the report, Stanford estimates the true unemployment rate in Canada in April was 33% – much higher than the official Statistics Canada estimate of just 13%.
“The economy is gradually re-opening now, but it will take years to rebuild the quantity of work back up to a level that fully occupies Canadian workers,” Stanford said. “And at the same time we need to repair some obvious and damaging flaws in the quality of work, if we want that re-opening to last and succeed.”
The 50-page report lists 10 proposals for making jobs safer, healthier, and fairer, including: infection control and safety; more space in work sites; sick pay for workers who must stay away from work; protections for people working from home; limits on multiple job-holding and other precarious work practices; an expansion of public sector jobs; reduced reliance on just-in-time supply chains; more comprehensive income support; better wages for low-wage essential workers; and stronger mechanisms of worker representation to ensure safe practices.
Please see the full report: Ten Ways the COVID-19 Pandemic Must Change Work for Good.