Justin Trudeau is perpetuating a myth about the middle class. In reality, it has devolved into a new working class that is both white collar and blue collar - a world defined by massive levels of student debt, sky-high housing prices and the perpetual cycle of short-term contract work without benefits.
This is the best educated generation in this country's history. They have done all the right things. They've gone to school. They got good marks, did volunteer work to fill out their resumes and in return students and their families are drowning in sky-rocketing debt. And yet, it seems the best our economy can offer them is precarious work marked by contract jobs, low wages, uncertain shifts and no benefits.
Canada's largest city has a world-class problem with poverty, and yet we hope that maybe, just maybe, it will go away. Rest assured it's not. Far from an old-school approach to budgeting, we need leadership and new approaches to revenue generation unless we want to be paying for the growing costs of poverty for years to come.
The ongoing strikes at York University and the University of Toronto have prompted a variety of thoughtful and insightful examinations of the state of university education in Ontario. In particular, the conversation around the changing nature of academic work and the plight of contract faculty is essential to the future of our universities. Unfortunately, an incorrect -- and harmful -- idea has crept into some of the recent coverage: that the relatively good working conditions of full-timers are to blame for the frankly awful conditions of those working on contract.
The need for food support does not, however, stop with students under the age of 18. Post-secondary and recent university graduates are one of the fastest growing groups of food bank users across the province. With growing tuition rates, on campus living accommodations, and money for textbooks it's no surprise the wallets of students are being stretched to the limits.
In Canada and Ontario we currently face many labour market challenges, including the rise of precarious work, growing numbers of migrant workers, cuts to employment insurance and cuts to job training programs for vulnerable workers. We hope the new Premier will situate Ontario as a leader among the provinces and territories and will address these challenges head-on.
Time and again, those of us barely scraping by on precarious appointments in the service industry are fed the same exhausted occupational rhetoric: "Prosperity in the 'new economy' requires flexibility and sacrifice on the part of the labour force." Translation -- welcome to the precarious labour trap.
it's the state of the current labour market that has triggered much of this Millennial stereotyping. We're often pegged as lazy, unwilling to commit to a stable, full-time job because it means forsaking our supposedly cherished sense of freedom and flexibility. But in reality, so many of us 20 and 30-somethings in Canada and elsewhere have had to struggle to find any job, let alone one that offers secure, full-time hours, pays decently or offers any sort of benefits; this "freedom" has not been chosen, but flung upon us unwittingly.
Unpaid internships are in the news again as a result of a groundbreaking study on precarious employment in Ontario. There are a number of factors that play into the decision to pay an intern (or not), of course. That said, greed is ultimately the common denominator that business leaders share when determining whether to create paid or unpaid internships.