Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Decline of secure jobs in CA - FYI for Gobbledegook

Saw the below CBC news article on Yahoo! IMHO, it is a global trend since Capital gained power/influence for the recent decades and Labour has lost its unity/power. Nevertheless, it is worthy to note for those planning to migrate to Canada. Always remember that "Change is the only constant", so do not rely on hearsay from others who may have immigrated years/decades ago -- the world's financial and job markets have changed drastically since the millennium.


CBC – April 29th 2015, around 06:40hr

At 40, the self-employed worker we'll call Natalie is one of a growing number of Canadians shut out of the world of stable, full-time work.

She has three bookkeeping jobs, she's watching every penny and still she makes just half of Canada's average industrial wage of $49,500. She's had to move back home with her 10-year-old daughter because she can't find full-time work.

"The way I'm going, I'm never going to get my own place for my daughter and I won't be able to afford a car; I won't be able to afford a dentist appointment for my daughter, or something she may need, braces," she told CBC News.

Like an increasing number of Canadians, she's in precarious work, without security, benefits, vacation pay or the prospect of a pension.

People in temp positions, part-time workers and contract workers all fall into the insecure employment category. And the number is growing.

Secure jobs a vanishing breed

A study by the United Way and McMaster University in 2013 found 18.3 per cent of the workforce in the Hamilton-Toronto area had insecure employment. And only a little over half — 50.3 per cent — had standard, full-time jobs.

Across Canada, the category of self-employed workers increased almost 45 per cent between 1989 and 2007, according to the Statistics Canada labour survey.

Precarious workers aren't just minimum-wage employees with irregular hours, says Wayne Lewchuk, a professor at the school of labour studies at McMaster University. They're also high-tech workers hired for projects, accountants who must seek one job after another, social-service sector workers employed by temp agencies and university lecturers hired on contract.

A lot of these jobs used to be secure, Lewchuk points out, but not anymore.

"It became a way of keeping down wages and companies became addicted to it," says Lewchuk, who has been studying precarious employment for seven years.

There's no career path for temp or flex workers — they lurch from one job to the next, get neither training nor benefits nor paid leave and are expected to save for their own pension.

Sitting by the phone

"Often they don't know their schedule until the day before or their schedule changes at the last minute  They don't know where they have to be until just before their shift," Lewchuk says.

Over a working life, the penalty for precarious work is financial — those in insecure employment earned about 46 per cent less than workers in the same field who had standard jobs.

But on a day-to-day basis, the toll is often personal.

"All of this makes sustaining a household and a family difficult," Lewchuk says.

If they think they're going to be sitting by the phone waiting for a call to work, they often can't enrol their children in extracurricular activities or make it to the parent-teacher conference, Lewchuk says. There's no option to coach Little League or volunteer at the local seniors' home.

"People that are in precarious work delay making significant life plans," says Micheline Laflèche, with the United Way, who is part of a group of researchers updating the 2013 report.

"They don't feel confident enough to establish an ongoing relationship or have children." 

Socially isolated

Men in particular may feel socially isolated, she says.

"Men were the ones who were much more likely to be in standard employment relationships [permanent full-time work], and they built their social relationships through their work," she says.

"They're no longer in those kinds of jobs; men are more likely to have no one to talk to."
Laflèche says people in insecure employment tend to be less engaged with their community, a trend that could weaken the fabric of Canadian life.

"It hurts our democratic commonality and our democratic values because people don't feel like they belong. We don't have a healthy society," she says.

In the face of the rise of precarious work and the expansion of low-paid work, the Ontario government has said it will review employment standards and the labour code. 

Laflèche and the United Way will be among the parties trying to suggest innovative ways to address precarious work.

She argues Canada's employment insurance system, which is a federal responsibility, is geared to a world where people had an industrial job for years, and if that was eliminated, they got another permanent job, a scenario that now rarely happens. She recommends a more realistic approach to employment insurance for part-time or contract workers.

Changing labour laws

She points to some of the ways other countries are addressing precarious work:

- A minimum wage "premium": an extra payment from employers for low-wage workers who don't have benefits or secure work.

- "Flexicurity": Denmark has a social contract between employers, the government and individuals that helps people who don't have secure work. Opportunities for training are provided when they can't find work and there is support, similar to employment insurance, but which kicks in even if people haven't worked for the required minimum time.

- Parity legislation: There are variations on this throughout the European Union with laws that ask employers to give temporary or contract workers the same pay, vacation and benefits as permanent employees doing the same jobs.

- Creating better training opportunities for those in marginal employment.

- Providing more flexible child-care solutions (instead of always full-time, five days a week, allowing part-time child care).

Businesses have also put forward voluntary solutions, among them temp agencies or groups of employers combining forces to provide full-time hours to part-time workers and better social inclusion in work events for temp and part-time workers.


  1. It definitely does not help when housing prices are sky high in Vancouver and Toronto. I live in Montreal, housing prices and rent are much lower. However, taxes here are higher and medical services are not great due to lack of doctors. So it is a kind of trade off.

    overseas sinkie

    1. Yes, you're right indeed -- housing prices are sky high in Vancouver and Toronto. [Albeit still better than Asian cities like Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore.] There's been talk of a market crash for years, but that has not materialized.

      Based on my (totally unscientific) random observation, much of the pent-up anti-immigrant frustration in Metro Vancouver is associated with the locals blaming the immigrants (especially cash-rich Asians, PRCs in particular) for pushing the housing prices up so quickly as to become beyond the reach of the middle and lower income local households.

      Cheers, WD.

  2. Doesn't the same anti-immigration frustration exist in many Australian cities e.g. Sydney, Melbourne etc and New Zealand e.g. Auckland? We have many cash rich Asians flooding these cities because of their wealth, buying properties and sometimes not living in them but speculating the properties. This creates ire among locals as they cannot afford to buy property in their country.

    Thankfully, this problem has not reached Quebec and the east coasts Nova Scotia, New brunswick. For the case of Quebec, it is because of the predominant French language which drives many asians away. The Quebecois are quite friendly when we speak French language. I havent any problems here so far as an Asian.

    overseas sinkie

    1. Hi Overseas Sinkie,

      I don't know the situation in Aussie or Kiwi-land -- best to ask ASingaporeanSon or CK who are based there.

      It is interesting that the property inflation has not hit Quebec.

      > The Quebecois are quite friendly when we speak French language. I havent any problems here so far as an Asian.

      I think it helps that you do not look "white". Both a Caucasian Canadian friend and a France-French couple did not find the Quebecois friendly when they visited... the former because he could not speak beyond rudimentary French, and the latter because France-French is "significantly different" from Quebecoi-French. I suspect as my "white" Canadian friend puts it, the Quebecois have different expectation on the Quebecoi-French language ability of "white" folks.

      That said, another France-French couple that I know have relocated from Metro Vancouver to Montreal. They didn't mention it specifically relating to their decision to relocate, but they previously mentioned the issue of high cost of living in Metro Vancouver in general discussions.

      Cheers, WD

  3. HI WD,

    You are possibly right with regard to the fact that I do not look white. I do know of some English speaking caucasians having a difficult time in Quebec because they either do not speak French or they speak French with an English accent.

    The Quebecois are generally very encouraging of immigrants who make an effort to learn their language. As I have mastered French with a intelligible neutral accent, I am quite well accepted here. In fact, I have made a couple of close quebecois friends who have really helped me a lot here. I wont be where I am without them.In this case, I consider myself very fortunate.

    overseas sinkie

  4. HI WD,
    I happened upon your blog and you give good advice about Canada. I am a Singaporean and planning to move to Vancouver soon. In fact I am visiting Richmond BC next week. Since I do not know anyone, I would really love to contact you, is there anyway I can pm you? Thank you so much hope to hear from you


    1. Hi NG,

      For my privacy and safety reasons, I normally do not contact or meet with any of my readers personally. But I shall make a very, very, very rare exception this time.

      All the comments to this blog are reviewed before publishing. In other words, I can choose not to publish any specific comment if needed. If you leave your Singapore mobile number in a subsequent comment here, I will text you next Wednesday 26-August or Thursday 27-August-2015.

      Another thing that you must agree to: no photos of me or anyone who comes with me. Fair?

      Cheers, WD.

  5. Hi Winking Doll,

    My name is Kian Hock. I am in the process of planning for a career change as part of my migration journey.

    My first choice is Australia, pending my 8th and 9th IELTS exam later in May/June 2016. i need 8.0 score for all items in IELTS.

    I also have a concurrent application for Canada migration. I am currently 17 points short of the minimum 450 points for a ITA. I have set a deadline of July 2017 for myself to leave SG.

    May I enquire:
    1) I understand that you are currently in BC. How is the job market in Canada right now, especially for LPN?

    2) In terms of skill sets, do you see any difference between graduates of a 4-year RN degree program vs an 2-year accelerated RN degree program?

    Thank you in advance!

    Best Regards,
    Kian Hock

    1. Hi Kian Hock,

      Disclaimer: Please take my comments/opinions at your own risk.

      For question 1: I must let you know that the last time I job-searched was 3 years ago, when I first obtained my RN registration in 2013. Thus, I think it is better to refer you to websites to answer your question about the LPN job market in Canada.

      Job Bank

      Health Match BC

      For question 2: I am not sure which 2-year accelerated RN degree program you're referring to... and whether the crux of your question is the skill-sets acquired or the meeting the requirement for registration.

      For Canada's accelerated nursing degree programs (check for their pre-requisites), you can read the following question asked on

      Just FYI, Nanyang Polytechnic's (NYP) Accelerated Diploma in Nursing is not a degree. Nevertheless when I applied to be accessed by CRNBC, it was treated as at BSN level. So for registration purposes, it depends on the nursing board that you're making an application to.

      As for skill-sets, my experience from my 2-year NYP's program is that it does give a good broad general nursing foundation. The thing is, nursing is such a wide field these days, there will definitely be specifics that you will have to pick-up depending on your specialization. So, IMHO, may as well cross the bridge when you get there.

      Best Regards,

  6. Hi WD,

    Thank you for your comments. Yes i am aware that this is a path that i need to forge myself and no one else needs to be responsible for my decisions.

    I have just received an ITA for a provincial nomination programme during one of the info sessions within southeast asia. i had flown in, presented the relevant documents and was asked to make a Full Application for the PNP.

    I was referring to these programmes in Canada:

    Yes, i am aware of the recognition of NYP RN programme. However, this is no longer attractive to me, when the bond is SGD $125,000.

    I always can start from an LPN / Enrolled Nurse for SGD 20,000 as a free man.

    Yes, i will cross the bridge when i arrive in Canada. Now it's time to focus on the Full Application.

    Kian Hock

    1. Hi Kian Hock,

      Wow, congradulations on your invitation to make a Full Application for the PNP! IMHO, you've planned your moves well.

      OMG, the NYP Accelerated Diploma RN bond is ridiculous. IMHO, it feels like squeezing what they can out of desperate unemployed/under-employed people. That is what I do not like about the typical Singapore system and typical Singaporean's attitude, everything boils down to $$$; which is effectively exploiting the poor. E.g. Exploiting the region's poor to be cheap maids and other foreign labour to build the city.

      I love how you value your "free man" status. It is to be cherished. Once again, congradulations!

      Best Regards,