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Toronto Vital Signs Report – Issue Three: Work

Toronto Foundation has just released Vital Signs Report 2019: Growing Pains and Narrow Gains. This report provides a consolidated snapshot of the trends and issues affecting the quality of life in our city and each of the interconnected issue areas is critical to the wellbeing of Toronto and its residents.

Vital Signs examines ten issue areas. We are going to explore highlights of each of these sections. Issue Three is Work:

Unemployment rates in Toronto are as low as they have been since 1990. At the same time, most new jobs are temporary or self-employed, providing no benefits and putting workers at high risk of poverty. Young people and newcomers are disproportionately finding themselves in these jobs.

  • Unemployment rates are the lowest in decades, though still higher than most other cities in Ontario, with large gains for immigrants and newcomers.
  • After several years of being relatively stagnant, wages began to increase after the new minimum wage was implemented.
  • Today’s jobs are lower quality (temporary, part-time) than the jobs of the past, with few to no benefits: temporary jobs have grown five times faster than permanent jobs, self-employed jobs have grown three times faster, and part-time jobs two have grown times faster than full-time jobs.
  • Temporary and self-employed jobs are increasing far faster in Toronto than the rest of the country, while permanent jobs are increasing faster in the rest of Canada.
  • Canada has the most expensive childcare relative to income of any OECD country, and Toronto has the most expensive childcare in the country, presenting high barriers for parents to return to work, contributing to extreme rates of child poverty in the city.
  • Highly educated immigrants have been increasingly working at jobs that require no education.

A CSI member doing crucial work to address this crisis is The Laboratory for Artistic Intelligence. They envision the settlement and welcoming process as a continuous opportunity to design for a better world, and imagine newcomer professionals as the best people for the job. Over the past few years, they have conducted pilot experiments and undertaken extensive research to creatively consider how to address common issues in settlement. They are looking for up to 10 newcomer professionals to join their team downtown. Experience with art is not necessary. They are interested in your specialization, whatever that may be.

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