Promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all is one of the 17 pillars that make up the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In conjunction with fellow UN members, Canada is set to achieve SDG 8, ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’, by 2030.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the Canadian economy, highlighting the deepening and widening inequalities that existed in the Canadian job market, particularly among the country’s most vulnerable, prior to the pandemic. COVID-19 is expected to have a devastating impact on global unemployment—a threat which Canada is not immune to.
Taking the pandemic’s adverse consequences on Canada’s labour market into consideration, particularly for workers in informal employment, the self-employed, daily wage earners and workers in sectors at the highest risk of disruption, UNACTO's virtual roundtable facilitated a meaningful discussion focused on impacted local communities.
UNACTO took a closer look at the looming aftermath of the pandemic on the Canadian labour market, and how COVID-19 has presented a policy window to address the inequities that are predominantly faced by workers in precarious conditions. Specifically, the lack of access to paid sick leave and other “white collar” benefits, which significantly impact a worker’s health and wellbeing.
This rights-based discussion spotlighted discrepancies on access to paid sick leave and gender disparity across organizations while examining work-life and labour legislation, and the urgent policy measures needed to support businesses in the face of these issues.
Deena Ladd, Executive Director, Toronto-based Workers’ Action Centre
Rhiannon Rosalind, President, CEO & Owner, Economic Club of Canada Co-Founder, The Global Institute for Conscious Economics
Peggy Sattler, MPP for London West
Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, ByBlacks.com Consultant, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion