In the Greater Toronto Area, for example, 60 per cent of workers have stable, secure jobs, according to a 2013 report on precarious work. Insecure employment has spread beyond jobs in the service sector to the white-collar workforce as well, a followup report found. This changing labour force is prompting people to rethink how governments deliver social programs, said Forget, and realize that current solutions like income assistance are expensive and for the most part, ineffective. "I think tensions are building in our society," said Wayne Lewchuk, a McMaster University professor of economics and labour studies, who co-authored both reports in conjunction with United Way Toronto & York Region. "More and more people are questioning ... the wisdom of how we're organizing our labour markets and our economy." Lower wages and precarious employment lower a person's purchasing power, he said, and more people spending less negatively effects the economy. A guaranteed basic income could be a way to prime the economic pump, Lewchuk said. A recent poll from Forum Research found support for a basic income is growing among Canadians, as awareness of the idea grows. (Chart: Forum Research) Another change in the workforce could come from technological advancements that will eliminate jobs, some basic income advocates argue. Millions of positions will be lost over the next several years thanks to disruptive labour market changes, according to a World Economic Forum report published this year. No job is safe from machine-outsourcing, writes Scott Santens, a basic income advocate who lives in the U.S. off of a crowdfunded monthly basic income. He argues people need to prepare for a world where their income isn't dependent on the jobs machines can do, but instead should be given a stipend to sustain themselves while doing the kind of work they still find valuable. Forget believes it is a matter of continued public interest and political will for basic income to become reality. "I think it's almost inevitable, eventually, that this kind of a policy will be implemented."
"More and more people are questioning ... the wisdom of how we're organizing our labour markets and our economy."-- Wayne Lewchuk, McMaster University
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