While U.S. lawmakers grapple with the dynamics of the gig economy, our neighbor to the north is witnessing a dramatic increase in the number of gig workers. A recent article in the Toronto Star discussed a new study from Statistics Canada which “found a dramatic increase in gig workers.” Specifically, the study found that the number of gig workers in Canada “jumped by 70% between 2005 and 2016, from 1 million to 1.7 million — an increase from 5.5% of all workers aged 15 and older to 8.2%.” In Toronto, one in 10 workers obtained some of their income from the gig economy in 2016 according to the study.
However, the percentage of Canadian gig workers may be much higher today. Staffing Industry Analysts just reported that a “recent study by the nonprofit Angus Reid Institute found that 17% of Canadians are involved in the gig economy.” The Angus Reid Institute study also found that “more than 40% of Canada’s millennials have participated in the gig economy over the past five years.”
Canada appears to be outpacing the U.S. in the percentage of gig economy workers. According to Fox Business News, “a June 2018 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that contingent workers make up about 5.9 million — or 3.8 percent — of U.S. workers.”
Given the growth of the gig economy, Canadian policymakers, like their American counterparts, will continue to navigate the political and economic waters to protect workers without destroying the flexibility that gig employment provides.