Briefing

Women and immigrants are driving growth in Canada’s gig economy

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Gig work has increased from 5.5 per cent of the workforce in 2005 to 8.2 per cent in 2016, according to a new Statistics Canada analysis. The report—based on census and administrative data, including tax slips—shows more women (9.1 per cent versus 7.2 per cent for men) and new Canadians doing gig work, and an uptick in the number of people who do gig work exclusively, as well as those supplementing their salaries. The average annual earnings through gig work were $4,303. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The number of women is increasing faster than the number of men gig workers, and gig workers are also more likely to be immigrants. Given the low wages for these workers, that trend could exacerbate wage gaps that already exist for women and marginalized groups. That employed workers are gigging to top up their salaries could also signal challenges in the traditional labour market, suggesting many workers can’t get enough hours or pay to make ends meet with one job. The last year has seen policymakers and workers push for better working conditions in the growing gig economy, including guaranteed minimum pay, vacation and benefits. Last year, the B.C. government passed legislation expanding its authority to set fares and distribute licences ahead of ride-hailing companies’ foray in the province. Foodora couriers in Toronto, meanwhile, are currently fighting for the right to unionize at the Ontario Labour Relations Board