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Capitalism and Good Jobs. Andrew Langille - IPAC Presentation – Oct 15, 2014. OverView. Focus of Presentation Labour market, demographic, socio-economic, and cultural issues impacting young people. What am I going to cover? The problems that young people are facing today.

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Capitalism and good jobs

Capitalism and Good Jobs

Andrew Langille- IPAC Presentation – Oct 15, 2014


  • Focus of Presentation

  • Labour market, demographic, socio-economic, and cultural issues impacting young people.

  • What am I going to cover?

  • The problems that young people are facing today.

  • Specific pressures that young people encounter in Ontario’s labour market.

  • Illustrate these pressures and problems with a case study on unpaid internships.

  • What public policy tools are available to address these pressures and problems.

The pressures facing young ontarions
The Pressures Facing Young Ontarions

  • Increasing Amount of Pressures Bearing Down on Young People

  • Where are these pressure coming from? Economic, socio-cultural, political.

  • Economic: lack of good jobs; increased competition; rising wealth and income inequality; housing prices; poor rental stock; unaffordable childcare; cost of PSE tuition; outmigration to Western provinces; and, inability to save for retirement.

  • Socio-cultural: surging mental health problems; delaying major life events; reduced household formation; reduced birthrate; and, delayed adulthood.

  • Political: unresponsive public policy; lack of intergenerational equity; crumbling social safety net which is often inaccessible; prolonged focus on tax cuts limit possible responses; generational fracturing; and, perception that government is increasingly a gerontocracy for the benefit of older Canadians.

  • Examples: Quebec student protests; Idle No More; and, Occupy movement.

Trends in the youth labour market
Trends in the Youth Labour Market

  • What’s has been happening in the youth labour market in Ontario post-2008?

  • Surge in unemployment and underemployment post-2008 with the recovery still quite tepid for young people; particularly, this is a problem for the GTA/SwOnt.

  • Increased prevalence in non-standard and precarious work (i.e. contract, temp, part-time, self-employment) as employers shift risk and costs onto workers.

  • Precarious work appears to have become a structural, defining issue of Ontario.

  • Increase in discouraged workers and (NEET) not engaged in education or training.

  • The weak labour market post-2008 has inflicted generational scarring that will cause continuing economic damage to younger workers.

  • Young people find it increasingly hard to land a good job (i.e. security, decent/living wage, benefits, set hours of work).

Case study unpaid internships
Case Study: Unpaid Internships

  • Unpaid internships have become a structural feature of the youth labour market.

  • Internships have a long history in Ontario (100+ years) and can be beneficial.

  • 1990s saw the creation of large government/corporate funded programs.

  • 2000s saw an elimination of a lot of funding, but employers were already hooked.

  • Last fifteen years have seen the emergence of unpaid internships as a critical part of the school-to-labour market transition, but often illegal and exploitative.

  • Tied to: Harris-era ESA reforms; creation of flexible labour market; and, push by government and PSE institutions to offer work-integrated learning programs.

  • Now there’s a major problem. Internships are inequitable, drive down wages, lead employers to replace paid employees with unpaid interns, create the illusion of opportunity, eliminate entry-level jobs, and shift risks/costs onto young workers.

Public policy responses
Public Policy Responses

  • What are the possible public policy responses that are available?

  • - Overall, we need a shift in our approach towards longer-term thinking which values a reinvigoration of the role of government, benchmarking outcomes, building partnerships between employers, PSE institutions, and unions, and a greater investment in low-skilled workers.

  • - Regulatory policy: better, more responsive labour standards and greater enforcement; living wage regulation; and, ensure students and young workers are protected during the school-to-labour market transition.

  • Social policy: necessary to reconstitute and strengthen social welfare policy; expand workers’ compensation and employment insurance; examining implementation of a guaranteed annual income; affordable childcare; and, shift government spending to be more equitable to all generations and assist during critical life events.

  • Demand-side labour market policy: better labour market information; workforce development; linking active labour market programs (ALMPs) to employer demand; creating sector strategies and workforce planning boards; and, funding for research bodies that can analyze and explain what’s happening in the labour market.