Non-standard employment can be defined in different ways.  It includes temporary employment, self-employment without paid help, part-time employment where workers want more hours (“involuntary part-time employment”), and employment characterized by workers who hold multiple jobs but whose total earnings fall below the median wage.  Non-standard employment can also include different work arrangements such as on-call work and telecommuting. 

Overall, non-standard employment has been on the rise, primarily due to a significant increase in temporary and involuntary part-time employment.  Non-standard employment has grown almost twice as fast as standard employment since 1997. 

  • Youth (under 25) and seniors (over 65) are more likely to be employed in non-standard jobs.
  • About one-third of workers with non-standard jobs are currently found in retail trade, health care/social assistance, and professional, scientific and technical groups.

Typically, but not always, this category of employment provides lower wages than standard employment, and provides fewer benefits and less access to employer supported training.  At the same time, some forms of employment that vary from the “standard” model may respond to employee needs, for example balancing work and family responsibilities.

On 17 February 2015 the Ministry of Labour in Ontario, one of the provinces of Canada, appointed two Special Advisors to report on the changing workplace.   The Special Advisors have invited submissions in an impressive and informative document: :  Changing Workplaces Review: Guide to Consultations