The Law Commission of Ontario has released its interim report on vulnerable workers and precarious work. The press release from the LCO states that the includes report: "includes draft recommendations designed to respond to the challenges faced by vulnerable workers in order to either reduce their vulnerability to, or the impacts of, precarious work. The Project focuses, in particular, on improvements to the statutory and policy framework of the Employment Standards Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act in protecting these workers".
The report covers a wide ranges of topics with the aim towards recommending changes to the statutory regime regulating employment in Ontario. A few highlights from the report include sections on: identifying precarious work; employment standards reforms; and, the suggestion that the Ontario Government tie reforms to workplace law in with the provincial poverty reduction strategy.
The report doesn't contain much in the way of youth specific policy prescriptions, but does frequently reference youth as a specific segment of the labour market that needs attention from the Ministry of Labour and recommends that the Ministry of Labour "develop strategic, proactive enforcement initiatives that target high-risk for violation workplaces, including those comprised of concentrations of...youth". Any movement on this issue would be good considering there's little proactive enforcement by the Ministry of Labour relating to unpaid internships and other employment standards violations which heavily impact youth.
There's also an interesting passage about the intersection of youth and precarious work, it states: "Ontario youth (aged 15 to 24) have a significantly higher unemployment rate than older workers. In January 2012, this rate was 16.6% as compared to 6.6% for workers 25 years and over. The difficulty youth experience entering the labour force has caused many youth to accept non-standard forms of employment such as temporary, seasonal or part-time employment and unpaid internships. In 2011, over 50% of young workers were in part-time employment in comparison to just under 14% of workers aged 25 and over. Youth are also over-represented in temporary forms of employment. Of course, many youth continue to pursue education in addition to working and this partly explains their tendency to accept non-standard employment."
The Law Commission of Ontario is accepting submissions and feedback on the interim report until October 1, 2012, so if you have thoughts about precarious work in Ontario consider giving feedback on the report. The final report is scheduled to come out in the early 2013. Finally, check out this short, informative video which gives a concise snapshot of the rise of precarious work in Canada in the wake of the recession, see: