There are many jobs being created in Ontario, that is the good news. The bad news? A large number of them are low-wage jobs and the low wage work force has seen high growth in recent times, actually 94 percent over the past two decades, compared with just 30 percent growth in total employment, according to a new report.
These depressing numbers come from research compiled by the left-leaning think tank. Ontario workers labouring for the minimum wage is now five times higher than in 1997. It rose from less than 3 per cent of all employees to about 12 per cent in 2014.
The share of low-paid work has also ballooned: almost a third of all employees in the province are now making within $4 of the minimum wage, compared with less than 20 per cent of the workforce in 1997.
In past decades, it was understood that low wage jobs would be taken by students working their way through school, new immigrants who used these jobs as a stop-gap before they moved on to something better, but today, the average age of those making less than $15 an hour happen to be adults 25 years of age and older. For many workers these low wage jobs aren’t merely stop gap arrangements, they’ve been working at these wages for years and have few if any prospects of finding something much better out there. The sad part is that these are often parents who are struggling to raise their children, they are the working poor who are trapped in these jobs many of which don’t have much job security or benefits.
The rise of precarious employment is something that should be troubling.