Ottawa, July 29, 2021—Flexibility and non-standard working arrangements will be key features of the future of work, which will require good policy and practices to address potential challenges such as precarity, inequality, over-work, and a sense of worker isolation.

This report, Emergent Employment: Canadian Findings on the Future of Work investigates the changing patterns, relationships, and norms of work. It focuses on gig and remote work, which are emblematic of the future of work.

COVID-19 has, in part, transformed hypothetical debates about the future of work into concrete, immediate issues that require decisions and actions. Technological development is an important driver of some of these workplace changes, but a host of other factors are at play, including increasing short-term and task-based employment, weakened unions, and economic concentration.

The report’s survey component (of 1507 individuals, two-thirds of whom were remote or gig workers) include some of the following findings:

  • Remote workers reported high levels of job satisfaction, positive work-life balance, and feelings safety during the pandemic
  • Almost one-third of gig workers said they need gig economy income to pay bills or because they lost a job
  • Many gig workers expressed positive feelings of agency and fairness in their work, yet experts expressed concerns about power imbalances and worker manipulation

To support the shift to increased work flexibility, the dialogue on improving non-standard working arrangements must continue between workers, employers, and government. This report provides direction for this discussion on issues of work definitions, taxation, mental health supports, and opportunities for achieving an equitable and prosperous future of work.

“The traditional construct of work may have shifted for good—given the recent COVID 19 events—in favour of increased personal latitude in the way work is achieved. The gig economy is a precursor to the changing nature of work, requiring a deeper reflection on the work environment and social support mechanisms that favour flexible and an increasingly fractional labour market,” said Namir Anani, ICTC President & CEO.

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a not-for-profit, national centre of expertise for strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy. Through trusted research, practical policy advice, and creative capacity-building programs, ICTC fosters globally competitive Canadian industries enabled by innovative and diverse digital talent. In partnership with an expansive network of industry leaders, academic partners, and policy makers from across Canada, ICTC has empowered a robust and inclusive digital economy for over 25 years.

To arrange an interview with the lead researcher on this paper or other media inquiries, please contact Paul Stastny at [email protected] or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823.

This study was funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

A copy of the study can be accessed here.

A French language version of this press release is available here.

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