As part of Unifor’s Good Jobs campaign leading up to the Good Jobs Summit in October 2014, delegates at Ontario Regional Council engaged in a lively discussion following a panel with representatives from the student movement, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and temp agencies.
Kaylie Tiessen, an economist at the CCPA Ontario, painted a grim picture of the labour market in Ontario. Recent years have seen low to no job creation in our province, and the jobs that have been created are predominantly precarious and part-time jobs.
It is clear that governments at all levels have failed to create long-term economic plans with goals to create good quality, permanent and full-time jobs. Alastair Woods, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students Ontario, discussed the fate of his generation – one with mountains of student debt and grim job prospects.
“We must immediately reduce the cost of tuition fees for post secondary education, with the goal of eliminating them altogether,” said Woods. He also emphasized the role that the labour movement can play in improving working conditions for young people in Ontario.
“We need to start organizing where young people are working – as baristas, bar tenders, and cashiers. It’s important to move away from labeling these jobs as ‘bad jobs’ – all work has dignity, and that means all work should be compensated fairly.”
Patricia Morris, a retired regional manager at Kelly Services Canada - one of the largest temp agency companies in Canada and around the world, discussed the growing industry of temp agencies in today’s labour market. There are over 1000 temp agency companies in Canada, providing workers to employers in every sector of the economy.
Morris urged delegates to begin honest conversations with employers, “we need to sit with them and ask hard questions. Why are we seeing these increases in precarious and part-time positions? How can we work together to change this?”
The goals of the Good Jobs summit will be to raise awareness about the poor quality of jobs that our economy is creating and begin a multi-stakeholder debate about how to change this trend.