Created as part of The Public Studio Inc.'s internship program, for their People's History Series.
Working people across Canada are struggling to make ends meet—many while juggling two or three low-paying jobs at the same time. As precarious part-time and temporary roles replace traditional full-time positions, the job landscape is shifting, leaving working people more vulnerable than ever. We see employers taking advantage of gaps in the Employment Standards Act (ESA), exploiting legal loopholes that allow them to ignore overtime pay, hours of work, minimum wage, benefits, and more. While these shifts affect all working people, it's often those who are already marginalized—women, trans people, people of colour and migrant workers to name a few—who are affected the most.
The focus of workers’ vulnerability in policy discussions is often wrongfully directed towards their lack of strength in character or coping mechanisms. Moreover, workers themselves are not able to speak up for fear of losing what jobs they do have. It is their stories and experiences, however, that are integral for change.
On the front lies, there are many groups that centre these voices and advocate for systemic change, challenging our government to not only raise the minimum wage, but to promise to continue to do so yearly. Groups such as The Workers Action Centre, No One is Illegal, Migrante and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives continue to organize with and on behalf of diverse groups of people to return dignity to workers.