Stress caused by insecure work affecting mental and physical health of Ontario workers, says new survey

March 20, 2017

(TORONTO) - Precarious work is bad for one’s mental and physical health, according to a new survey of nearly 5,000 Ontario workers, by the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL).  

Almost one-third of survey respondents cite mental and physical health issues as impacts of precarious work. According to the survey results, young people (18 to 34 years), precarious workers, and women are more likely to experience mental health distress.

Survey results underscore the necessity of modernizing Ontario’s woefully out of date employment laws.

“We need to consider the whole picture when it comes to employment, instead of just businesses’ bottom line,” said OFL President Chris Buckley. “I think that’s what business critics are missing, when we talk about changing the employment laws to make improvements for workers. Precarious work makes people sick – period.”

Buckley said that this is why the OFL and labour unions across Ontario, with the Fight for $15 and Fairness campaign, are determined to make changes to the Employment Standards and Labour Relations Acts to make sure workers don’t face the overwhelming stress of long-term precarious employment.

“The government must have the courage to chart a different direction for our economy,” said Buckley.

The survey was detailed in a news article in today’s Toronto Star, by journalist Sara Mojtehedzadeh ‘Precarious work’s harsh realities.

Survey findings also include:

  • Almost one-third cite mental and physical health issues as impacts of precarious work. According to the survey results, young people (18 to 34 years), precarious workers, and women are more likely to experience mental health distress.
  • More than one-quarter of all survey respondents are currently precariously employed (i.e., part-time, temporary).
  • More than 40 per cent of precarious workers cited full time jobs/stable income as a concern about their economic situation. 
  • Of those young survey respondents (18 to 34 years), 45 per cent currently have a precarious job.
  • Nearly 90 per cent of all survey respondents have children, family members and/or friends who are precariously employed.
  • More than 80 per cent of survey respondents recognize that precarious work is more common today than 5 or 10 years ago.
  • Wages/pay equity and benefits were identified as top priorities across all demographics.

From July to the end of October, 4,771 Ontarians completed the OFL’s survey, which asked about experiences of precarious employment and the experiences of family members. The 15-minute survey was conducted in person and online.

Of the survey respondents, 82 per cent were union members; close to three-fifths were female, and two-fifths were male.

The OFL’s www.MakeItFair.ca campaign takes on issues of inequality in the workforce, and coincides with the province’s “Changing Workplaces Review.” The campaign works toward across-the-board changes to the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act that would improve standards for every worker and make it easier for them to join a union.

The OFL represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.

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For more information, please contact:

OFL Campaign Organizer Melisa Bayon 647-234-1795 MBayon@ofl.ca 

 

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