• Commentary,  Gig Economy,  Labour Standards

    Open Letter on Regulating Platform Work From B.C. Experts in Labour Law, Policy, and Economics

    Last year the B.C. government began the process of developing employment standards and other protections for app-based ride-hail and food-delivery workers. The Ministry of Labour conducted a public consultation on the topic in the fall of 2022, and published a What We Heard Report in April 2023. The Centre for Future Work made a submission to the public consultation.

  • Gig Economy,  Labour Standards

    Submission to BC Inquiry on Labour Standards for Gig Work

    On-demand work organized through online digital platforms is an extreme form of precarious employment. In this business model, workers perform specified tasks, directed by apps on their smart phones; resulting revenues are controlled by the firm which operates the platform. Workers 1 are responsible for providing required tools and a place of work – such as a car or a bicycle. They are compensated for each task on a piece work basis, while the platform appropriates a large share of revenues as its cut of the arrangement. This model of work first became widespread in passenger transportation (so-called “ride share”1 work through businesses like Uber and Lyft), and then spread…

  • Commentary,  Gig Economy,  Labour Standards

    Don’t be Fooled by Ontario’s ‘Minimum Wage’ for Gig Workers

    Just months before a provincial election, the Ontario government has announced a plan to guarantee a ‘minimum wage’ of $15/hour for gig workers. It sounds good, but there are some big devils lurking in the details. In practice, the plan will have absolutely zero impact on the incomes of gig workers. Anyone who accepts that this ‘minimum wage’ will lift gig workers’ incomes does not understand how the gig business model works. The biggest problem is that the so-called minimum wage will only apply for time gig workers spend engaged on an assignment: driving a passenger, delivering a meal, or performing some other assigned task. But gig workers regularly spend…

  • Commentary,  Gig Economy

    Three Paths to Strengthening Labour Standards for Gig Workers

    Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford was recently interviewed by Shaye Ganam on his morning news show on the 770CHQR and 630CHED radio stations in Alberta about the accelerating trend toward gig employment in Canada. The interview covered the origins of the gig business model, the risks faced by gig workers, and new developments in other countries aimed at closing some of the regulatory gaps that have allowed platforms like Uber to evade traditional labour standards (like minimum wages, workers compensation, pensions, and holidays). The full interview is posted below, covering the first 13 minutes of the program. In the interview Jim outlined three paths to improving labour conditions…

  • COVID,  Future of Work,  Gig Economy

    Centre for Future Work Submission to Ontario Future of Work Consultation

    All provinces in Canada are still grappling with the economic and employment effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession. Ontario’s labour market was among the worst-impacted in Canada by the pandemic. And these immediate challenges are layered on top of longer-run issues related to the future of work: including technology, demographic changes, new business models, and others. In this context, the Ontario government recently launched a hastily-organized public consultation on the Future of Work, overseen by a 7-person ‘Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee’. The consultation is unusual for several reasons, including the non-representative composition of the committee itself (there are no committee members representing union, worker, or equality-seeking organisations), the…

  • Commentary,  Gig Economy

    Uber ‘Benefits’ Plan Aimed at Forestalling Real Change

    Debate over the treatment of ride-share drivers, food delivery riders, and other workers in the gig economy continues to heat up, as governments around the world enact new policies to extend basic employment protections to those workers. The Centre for Future Work is consulting with groups like Gig Workers United and Ridefair Toronto on policies to close the loopholes that currently allow gig platforms to evade normal employment responsibilities. The following commentary was written by Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford in response to a new initiative by Uber to offer limited ‘benefits’ to its workers. By Jim Stanford It is not often that employers complain about workers being…

  • Commentary,  Future of Work,  Gig Economy,  PowerShare

    Future of Work: Some Things Change, Some Things Don’t

    There’s been a lot of public concern and discussion in recent years about changes in the nature of work. To be sure, new technologies are changing many jobs, and new business models (like digital on-demand platforms) are deploying labour in new, ever-less-secure ways. But productive human labour, broadly defined, is still the driving force of all production. And inequality in fundamental economic status – between those who work, and those they work for – still shapes the way society operates. In this commentary, Jim Stanford identifies 7 aspects of work that have not really changed, despite the hype about the supposedly tectonic changes in the labour market. A version of…

  • Gig Economy,  Research,  Technology

    Five Contrarian Insights on the Future of Work

    In this comprehensive but readable commentary, our Director Jim Stanford challenges five stereotypical claims that are often advanced in debates over the future of work:   Work is not disappearing; it can’t. Technology is not accelerating. “Gigs” aren’t even new. Technology is often more about relationships than productivity. Skills are not a magic bullet. The commentary was prepared for the My Labour, Our Future conference held in Montreal, Canada to mark the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the International Labour Organization. We thank the organizers and the Atkinson Foundation for permission to repost the paper. Five Contrarian Insights on the Future of Work