Ottawa, July 15, 2020— Apart from the devastating toll on human life, COVID -19 has been dubbed the world’s “first mass experiment in remote work,” an unprecedented catalyst for the adoption of internet-enabled work and the gig and sharing economy that has been transforming Canada’s labour force and its relationship work.

The new ICTC study, Loading: The Future of Work, explores the key concepts of this labour market transformation, its economic and social implications, and the opportunities and challenges for creating a resilient and inclusive economy in the post-COVID world.

Technological innovation brought new flexibility and substantial growth and complexity in the digital-platform economy. Advocates of remote work cite recent studies of overwhelming worker support for extending work-from-home arrangements beyond the pandemic, and that most workers are confident they can perform as, or more, effectively in a remote work environment.

Critics worry that this new reality will exacerbate existing and growing class divisions between those who are able to work remotely—often full-time workers with secure employment—and essential workers who do not have this capability and rely on precarious gigs that often lack job security, paid sick leave, health insurance, and employment benefits.

Further complexities include the global competition for skills and talent, the rise of digital platforms as an accelerator of self-employment and temporary work (more than 40% of the Canadian workforce was employed on a non-permanent basis in 2017), and workplace trends such as millennials changing jobs twice as frequently as Gen Xers in their first 10 years of employment.

This study is comprised of primary and secondary research, and also explores key regulatory considerations for the gig economy, including employment classification, unionization, and COVID-19’s impact on the regulatory landscape.

”We are on the cusp of a new era of labour market shifts and workplace transformation spurred by the advent of advanced digital technologies and expedited by the recent COVID-19 events. This research is pivotal for examining the changing nature of work and its socioeconomic impacts on the labour market in Canada,” said ICTC president and CEO Namir Anani.

About ICTC

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 a vast 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.

For media inquiries or further information about Loading: The Future of Work, please contact Paul Stastny at [email protected] or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823.

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

A copy of the study can be accessed here.

A French version of this press release is available here.

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