40% of precarious workers in Canada have access to pension, RRSP: report

Only 40 per cent of Canadians who are classified as precarious workers have access to pension plans or registered retirement savings plans, compared to 85 per cent of those who are identified as secure professionals, according to a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The report, which surveyed 1,000 Canadians, found 78 per cent are secure professionals, while 22 were precarious. The secure group was classified as having a full-time, permanent job for at least 30 hours per week, working for one employer that provides benefits and that they expect to be working for in one year’s time. The precarious workers, on the other hand, work full time without the above stipulations or work contract to contract, freelance or part time.

Read: Surveys show pension concerns for both Canadian millennials, seniors

Sick days are another area of discrepancy between secure and precarious professionals, with 41 per cent of precarious workers receiving sick days compared to 94 per cent of secure workers.

Women make up a greater proportion of precarious professionals, accounting for 60 per cent of the group. The report also notes there are more precarious professionals in the private sector (40 per cent) compared to the public sector (30 per cent).

Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of precarious workers have a predictable schedule, compared to 94 per cent of secure workers. And about half (47 per cent) of precarious employees have a predictable income, compared to 79 per cent of secure professionals. Looking further, 45 per cent of precarious workers make less than $60,000 each year.

Read: Lack of benefits biggest challenge of gig economy: survey

“The upshot: precarious professionals are more likely than secure professionals to earn less than $60,000, but top-earning ($150,000 and more) precarious professionals make about the same as top-earning secure professionals. So precarious working conditions are correlated with lower professional earnings but not cemented in stone,” wrote the report’s authors, Trish Hennessy, director, and Ricardo Tranjan, senior researcher, of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The survey also found 58 per cent of respondents agree jobs used to be more secure, while 45 per cent of young professionals aged 22 to 34 say a full-time permanent job in their field is almost non-existent for someone entering the profession.

Read: Employee expectations, employer offerings don’t match up: report

“Among professionals who work part time, contract to contract and freelance, 57 per cent say they would prefer more job stability but it’s hard to find, and 43 per cent say that the lack of employment stability keeps them up at night. Job insecurity is definitely a running theme for professionals, whether they are precariously employed or not,” stated the authors.