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More Canadians are holding down temp jobs

More Canadians are working temporary jobs these days and more women have multiple jobs than two decades ago.

Statistics Canada (Stats Can) is reporting 13.3 per cent or 2.1 million workers were temporarily employed or had contract jobs in 2018. That’s a jump from 11.8 per cent or 1.4 million 20 years ago.

The report released on Tuesday stated temporary employment is often associated with lower wages, fewer benefits, less possibility of unionization, and little or no training offered by the employer but can also provide employees with greater flexibility, experience, skill acquisition, and knowledge diversification.

“Although temporary employees represent a relatively small number of overall employees, they have been growing at a faster pace than permanent employees during the past 20 years,” said Statistics Canada.

Data showed that from 1998 to 2018, the proportion of term or contract employees increased from 46 per cent to 53 per cent of all temporary employees while at the same time, the proportion of temporary employees in 2018 working in casual (26 per cent), seasonal (20 per cent) and other temporary (one per cent) jobs were all down from 1998 (27 per cent, 24 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively).

Stats Can added there was little difference in the share of women (14 per cent) and men (13 per cent) that had temporary jobs in 2018. The numbers also showed that among temporary employees, women (85 per cent) were more likely than men (73 per cent) to have a casual, or term or contract job. In contrast, men (27 per cent) were more likely to have a seasonal job than women (14 per cent) while at the same time, among temporary employees, women (10 per cent) were more likely than men (six per cent) to have multiple jobs.

The federal agency said more than eight in 10 (82 per cent) temporary employees in health care and social assistance were women, as were nearly seven in 10 (68 per cent) in educational services. The report states these two industries had a relatively large share of temporary employees; 26 per cent for educational services and 13 per cent for health care and social assistance.

Last year, temporary employees ($21.80) earned less per hour than permanent employees ($27.71), and worked fewer hours on average per week (27.8 hours compared with 33.3 hours). At the same time, about 40 per cent of temporary employees worked part-time, compared with 14 per cent of permanent employees.

Temporary employment was highest in Newfoundland and Labrador (26 per cent), which had the highest unemployment rate in 2018. Ontario, a province with a lower unemployment rate, was among the lowest temporary employment in 2018 at 13 per cent.