Under this pandemic virus environment that we are all in and trying to cope with, now is an appropriate time to reflect on how much of our corporate Canadian business currently operates, and how they should operate in the future to provide a much stronger, more equitable and more sustainable economy.
Many of the companies are Scrooges in terms of how they treat and pay their employees.
These include the grocery industry, package distributors, fast-food outlets and all of the long-term care homes across the country, which are the sites of over 50 per cent of the virus deaths in Canada, due to staff working at several facilities in order to make a living and the vulnerable nature of the residents.
All of these companies predominantly employ part-time employees and pay minimum wage, or just above, and provide minimal benefits in terms of vacation, health and pension, so that many of the employees have to work several part-time jobs to eke out a minimum living standard, but still below the poverty level.
As well, the number of paid hours of many of these part-time employees can keep shifting during their working history so that there is no consistent income.
There is also no sense of permanence to these jobs – thus a lack of commitment by employers to employees in the long-term. The food industry in Canada, for example, has, on average, over 75 to 80 per cent of its employees in part-time jobs.
This trend in the use of part-time labour has kept increasing in Canada as a percentage of total employment.
It has risen from 12.3 per cent to 19.5 per cent since 1976.
If our society is to be sustainable in the future, these companies operating in Canada will have to have a much greater portion of full-time employees, who are being paid living wages with significant benefits, and who are treated much better than they are today.
William Lambert, Surrey