Number Of Temporary Workers In Canada Rose 50% In Past 20 Years

The gig economy is thriving in Canada.

According to a new report by Statistics Canada, the number of temporary workers in Canada increased by 50% in the last 20 years — rising faster than the number of permanent jobs throughout the country.

The data from Statistics Canada shows that there were 2.1 million people working temporary jobs across the country in 2018, up from 1.4 million in 1998. During that same 20-year period, the number of permanent employees in Canada rose by 33%.

Temporary jobs are classified as contract positions — which end at a predetermined date or when a project is completed — as well as casual and seasonal jobs. More people took on contract jobs during the past 20 years, according to the Statistics Canada report, when "the proportion of term or contract employees increased from 46% to 53% of all temporary employees."

The economic sectors with the most temporary jobs in Canada include education, health-care and social assistance. More than a quarter of the jobs in education were temporary (at 26% in 2018) followed by health care and social assistance (at 13% combined).

Women accounted for more than eight in 10 temporary jobs in health care and social assistance, while they held nearly seven in 10 of the education jobs. Overall, women were more likely than men to have a casual, term or contract job in Canada at 85% compared to 73% for men. However, men are more likely to have seasonal jobs.

Temporary workers also tend to earn less money than permanent employees — a point supported by Statistics Canada's data, which found that temporary workers earned an average of $21.80 an hour in 2018, compared with $27.71 for permanent employees.