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The Plight of the Precarious Worker

Northern Light

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A recent article from The Star, which investigated conditions at Fierra Foods and related companies, where 3 employees have died over the last several years, safety infractions have appeared common and pay arrangements can charitably be called strange, to kick off this thread.

http://projects.thestar.com/temp-employment-agencies/index.html

Now the question I will put is what do we as a society, and more particularly what does the government of Ontario need to do to address situations like this, which I certainly consider both immoral and unacceptable?
 

Northern Light

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I will put out two thoughts to start.

One, the 'site' employer (as opposed to the agency employer) needs to be responsible for WSIB payments, and all incidents on their property must be reported to WSIB whether or not the they involve directly employed staff.

Two, there needs to be some sort of cap for what percent of your work force can be contract/temp, at least when you exceed a certain size; the idea that work force of hundreds can be 90-100% temp/contract for months or even years is absurd on its face.

I'm all in favour of providing reasonable flexibility to business; but this is an example of under-regulation.
 

lead82

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As with anything the temporary worker program is being abused because governments let it be abused. Temps should be no longer than 6 months. Anything more and they are really employees. Second, the temporary workers are being paid cash with no deductions. How is this legal and acceptable? Why is this not being enforced? The money mart they pick their cash up should be heavily fined by the government and the employers that use them.

Governments are there to regulate and enforce. They are letting the system break down and then complain about precarious work. Close the loopholes and enforce existing laws. This company and many others like it should be heavily fined for breaking laws and using temp workers as a means to save on WSIB and paying proper payroll taxes for employees.

Instead the government lauds such companies for expansion and creating temp jobs and they get tax credits instead. Shameful.
 

smably

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I worked as a "temp", albeit a white-collar temp, for four years at a local tech company. I had no job security and I was paid less than coworkers who were doing the same work (I know because I later was converted to a permanent employee). It boggles my mind that it's possible to keep someone around for years on end without giving them any of the benefits of permanent employment.
 

Northern Light

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As with anything the temporary worker program is being abused because governments let it be abused. Temps should be no longer than 6 months. Anything more and they are really employees. Second, the temporary workers are being paid cash with no deductions. How is this legal and acceptable? Why is this not being enforced? The money mart they pick their cash up should be heavily fined by the government and the employers that use them.

Governments are there to regulate and enforce. They are letting the system break down and then complain about precarious work. Close the loopholes and enforce existing laws. This company and many others like it should be heavily fined for breaking laws and using temp workers as a means to save on WSIB and paying proper payroll taxes for employees.

Instead the government lauds such companies for expansion and creating temp jobs and they get tax credits instead. Shameful.
I'm unclear if what's being done (safety violations aside) is technically illegal; but its certainly repugnant and should be illegal if its not.

I would add to that.....$150,000 per death is sadly too much the cost of doing business.

They clearly save far more by cutting corners than they lose by paying the fine.

I don't mind a lower minimum, particularly for a first offense, allowing for 'honest mistake' (if tragic) vs.....gross negligence or worse.

I do mind that there have 3 deaths on this company's watch.

Anything after 1 in the space of 20 years......the wrath of the state should either induce bankruptcy or at least the fear of same.

There is also an under-use of prison for those directly responsible for negligence of the worst order.

I tend to think we do jail/prison too much here; but this is a notable exception.
 

Northern Light

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I worked as a "temp", albeit a white-collar temp, for four years at a local tech company. I had no job security and I was paid less than coworkers who were doing the same work (I know because I later was converted to a permanent employee). It boggles my mind that it's possible to keep someone around for years on end without giving them any of the benefits of permanent employment.
Again, this is unacceptable. Some flexibility to employers to deal w/short-term absences or aberrations of inordinate demand are fair.

But when you have staff on as 'temp' for years.........no @#$# way.

There's a point where it has to be an absolute 'no'.

In an ideal world the gov't would haven't legislate/regulate such a thing because abuse would be profoundly rare.

Sadly....we have come to a point where its all too common.
 

Northern Light

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A story from The Star that implies the minister is contemplating doing something about this.

Wonderful if its true; even if they are late to the party.

https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2017/09/11/temp-work-growth-is-alarming-and-changes-are-coming-says-ontario-labour-minister.html

However....for those that feel the desire to add some fire under some feet.

There is a feedback form on this Ministry of Labour page......where you can send your thoughts to the minister.

https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/feedback/
 

jje1000

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I wonder if there's some additional information on this- where in Canada are these temp work positions most often replacing full-time jobs?

Is it evenly distributed- or are there hotspots where this issue is worsening?
 

gabe

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Something needs to be done. Govt should take on temp agencies & companies that pay workers less and abuse rights at work. Employers are treating people like disposable commodities. After a year or more temps are still making minimum wage with no benefits. Companies can send the workers back to the temp agency without any explanation.
 

Admiral Beez

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Something needs to be done. Govt should take on temp agencies & companies that pay workers less and abuse rights at work. Employers are treating people like disposable commodities. After a year or more temps are still making minimum wage with no benefits. Companies can send the workers back to the temp agency without any explanation.
At my last job, as a senior mgr we had no benefits, and of course zero job security, since anyone can get fired for any cause not prohibited by law.
 

mjl08

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I wonder if there's some additional information on this- where in Canada are these temp work positions most often replacing full-time jobs?

Is it evenly distributed- or are there hotspots where this issue is worsening?
I worked a summer job at an employment agency. The hotspots are:

Low skilled manufacturing/packaging
Logistics (forklift, truck drivers)
Customer service (esp. call centres)
Food services and hospitality
Office administration

What is very concerning is the growth of the temp sector among historically more stable, and higher skilled roles in technology and financial services.
 

Palma

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As with anything the temporary worker program is being abused because governments let it be abused. Temps should be no longer than 6 months. Anything more and they are really employees. Second, the temporary workers are being paid cash with no deductions. How is this legal and acceptable? Why is this not being enforced? The money mart they pick their cash up should be heavily fined by the government and the employers that use them.

Governments are there to regulate and enforce. They are letting the system break down and then complain about precarious work. Close the loopholes and enforce existing laws. This company and many others like it should be heavily fined for breaking laws and using temp workers as a means to save on WSIB and paying proper payroll taxes for employees.

Instead the government lauds such companies for expansion and creating temp jobs and they get tax credits instead. Shameful.
and then pass minimum wage and think they are solving the issue (although we know its just to win the election)
 
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