Bad Jobs Are Making Us Sick

Temporary, part-time and other precarious types of work have been increasing three times faster than permanent, stable jobs. Studies show that people in insecure jobs earning low wages and without benefits have the worst health outcomes.

According to World Health Organization, “insecure jobs harm health, even more than unemployment.” Women, racialized communities and immigrants are most affected. It is time to consider insecure jobs as serious risk factors to health of Canadians and join forces to promote policies and pathways to good jobs. 

Insecure jobs are on the rise not just in the private sector, but also within the broader public sector (healthcare, education, childcare, settlement, community, and social service agencies). A survey conducted by Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration of 3,500 non-profit organizations in Ontario found that less than half of the people working in the sector had full-time jobs.

We call on leaders within public sector to champion an internally driven change movement to reverse this unhealthy trend. In our infographic poster you will find five tangible steps we can take to build good jobs, starting from your agency.

To kickstart the process, Access Alliance is adopting an agency-level Good Jobs Strategy to put these five steps into practice. We call on other agencies to do the same.

Text of infographic below:



Bad Jobs Are Making us sick

The rise of insecure and precarious jobs – such as temporary and part-time work – is having damaging impacts on the health of all Canadians. Let us join forces to stop the rise of these bad jobs, starting from our workplaces: Good Jobs = Good Health!

Rise of Precarious, insecure Work

  • Temporary jobs are increasing 3x faster than permanent jobs.
  • 1 in 7 Canadian wage workers (2 million) are in temp jobs.
  • 425% increase in Temp Help Agencies within Canada from 1993 to 2008.

Part-time work on the rise

  • 1 in 5 Canadian wage workers (3.3 million) are in part-time jobs. I in 3 part-time workers prefer working full time.

Insecure Jobs = Low Wages and Lack of Health Benefits

  • Temporary workers earn about 64% less than permanent workers in terms of average weekly wages within Canada.
  • 1 in 6 (about 17%) of precariously employed workers in Canada have extended health/dental insurance compared to 1 in 2 people (about 50%) for those who have fulltime permanent jobs.

Harmful Health  Effects of Precarious Jobs

  • 40%increased risk of coronary heart disease
  • 5x more likely to have fatal occupational injuries
  • 3x more likely to rate their health as less than good
  • 3x greater risk of heart attack and 4x greater risk of diabetes from working more than an 11 hour shift
  • 2x more likely to suffer from diabetes
  • 4x more likely to visit dentist only in emergency

Five Steps towards Good Jobs

  1. Stop the rise of insecure jobs by limiting temporary, part-time jobs to less than 5% of your workforce (as recommended by International Labour Organizations).
  2. Promote wellbeing of temporary, part-time employees by offering them fair wages and health /extended benefits.
  3. Protect temporary, part-time employees by adopting higher than minimum compliance of employment standards and occupational health policies.
  4. Promote pathways to stable employment for temporary, part-time employees by offering them training and networking opportunities.
  5. Screen for, adjust risk, and address harmful health impacts from insecure jobs within primary care by working cross-sectorally with occupational therapists and workers action centres.

Two new evidence-based films making the connection between employment security and health

Bad Jobs are Making Us Sick from Access Alliance on Vimeo.

This evidence-based film draws on research participant quotes to tell a powerful story of how insecure jobs affect individuals and families. It was collaboratively written and produced as part of Access Alliance’s Knowledge to Action Initiative.


Just Wait for our Call: The impact of temp agency work on health
from Access Alliance CBR on Vimeo.

This film picks up on a theme from research by the Income Security, Race, and Health group — the role of temp agencies in insecure employment. Drawing on interviews with temp agency workers, advocates, researchers and service providers, the film calls on policymakers to take urgent action. Collaboratively planned and produced by the community Knowledge to Action Leaders.