Precarious work continues to rise in Canada. This has been such an issue that just last year federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau told Canadians that they should just get used to it.
But that could pose a problem for Canadians when it comes to their health.
Precarious is officially defined as people who ‘who fill permanent job needs but are denied permanent employee rights.’ Some of these rights include safe working conditions, benefits and fair wages.
Here are some of the ways that this type of work can affect both physical and mental health.
1. Access to Services
When you are working in a precarious job, you typically are earning less and have no health benefits, unlike those in a union. This means you may have a harder time accessing healthcare services to deal with immediate health needs and also preventative care. It can be harder to take time off or afford the treatment. This can mean anything from visiting the dentist to seeing a mental health professional.
2. Sick Days and Sick Notes
When you are in a precious job, most of the time you do not get paid sick days, or can even get let go if you need the day off from work. Some employers require a sick note, which can ‘compound the problem’ as pointed out by Rank and File. They also pointed out that this can put others at risk by making a sick person go to work.
3. Workplace Conditions
Employees in precarious jobs might be less likely to speak up about unsafe workplace conditions, for fear of losing their job. When you are a unionized employee you are guaranteed certain safe guards in a workplace, and have people to stand up for you if you feel unsafe.
4. Mental Health
Multiple studies have shown that precarious work leads to ‘anxiety and stress, affects social relationships and diminishes community connections.’ All of these can lead to serious mental health consequences and even result in affecting physical health. Teamsters 362 has taken the initiative to actively bargaining mental health awareness courses into collective bargaining agreements, something those in precarious positions wouldn’t have as easy access to.