Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Saint-Lambert.
It is an honour for me to rise in this place on behalf of the good people of Davenport in the great city of Toronto to speak in support of the motion before us.
I will begin by saying that many of the people the CIBC report references and talks about live in my riding of Davenport. I am talking about cab drivers, web designers, office cleaners, bartenders, dishwashers, carpenters, consultants, and micro-entrepreneurs. As I go door to door in my riding, I hear a consistent refrain: Where are the stable jobs in the Canadian economy? Where is the promise of that middle-class stability the current government keeps talking about but never delivers? Not only do the Conservatives not deliver it, they willfully ignore the reality.
We did not need a CIBC report, although maybe the folks across the way needed a report from one of their trusted allies, to underline what many of us know if we go door to door in our ridings, which is that we have young people who are 24, 25, 26, or 27, with post graduate degrees, still living at home because they cannot find a job in their profession.
It is very hard to find a full-time job at some of Canada's very profitable companies, such as, for example, grocery store chains, where most employees are hired on a part-time basis. We have an issue here of serial part-time work, people working on contract, people working freelance, and people being self-employed. We also have people who on Monday were employed at a company only to wake up on Tuesday to find out that they have been deemed independent contractors. In other words, we have a significant issue of misclassification of workers.
Then, of course, as we speak about often in this place, we have many young people and newcomers to Canada who are actually working for free as unpaid interns, because they are desperate to find that experience to put on a resumé, which they hope will lead to a stable job. However, what we are finding, and this CIBC reports underlines it, is that those stable jobs are not there at the end of all of that work. Those stable jobs are not there at end of a post graduate degree, on top of which there is $50,000 in student debt. Those stable jobs are not there at the end of serial unpaid internships. Those stable jobs are not there at the end of a six-month, short-term contract.
Let us underline what links all of these kinds of workers. Some are urban workers by design. In other words, they are self-employed people who want to be self-employed. I was one of those people. I worked for 25 years in the arts and culture sector as a freelancer, and I can tell members that while that is the life I chose, for many people in today's economy, there is no choice. We are seeing, as we see in the CIBC report, a staggering statistic, which is that self-employed employment grew four times faster than regular employment, and as the report also underlines, that self-employment pays significantly less than conventional employment.
These urban workers right across the country have no access to a workplace pension. They have no access to benefits, such as health benefits, extended benefits, sick leave, or compassionate leave. They also do not have access to any of our rapidly diminishing income security measures, like employment insurance.
In other words, our labour laws have been predicated on a workplace reality that no longer exists in this country. That reality was that one could leave school, even high school, and find a stable, full-time job. A person could imagine raising a family and buying a house, and in fact did, and after 35 years could retire with a pension that would ensure that one's senior years were lived out in a dignified fashion.
If you come to my town, Mr. Speaker, and I know you are dying to visit Toronto, you will see the effects of the Conservative government's disinterest in the realities of urban workers. Seniors are barely getting by. Young people are stuck in a cycle of short-term contract employment and free work.
As I look around this place today, I can imagine that many of the members in my caucus and also on the government side know these stories very well. Many of them likely have adult children who are struggling in today's economy. We are failing a generation of young people today by not addressing these realities.
I am not here today to promote a private member's bill. I am here today to speak in support of my colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley's motion.
When we talk about precarious work, we also have to look at solutions. When we talk about precarious work, we have to ask ourselves whether the government has considered measures that would address these issues. It has come up with income splitting as a way of addressing precarious work. I cannot imagine where that fits in with this issue, because anyone who can access the government's income splitting scheme is not precariously employed.
I know that many of the members opposite have displayed a relative disinterest in the goings on in the economy of the greater Toronto area, even though it is the largest, most significant engine of the Canadian economy. It is important to note that today roughly 50% of all families in the GTA cannot find or access stable, full-time jobs. That should outrage every member in this place and anyone who cares about growing the Canadian economy.
What we see in this CIBC report is, in many ways, a castigation of the economic plans and policies of the government, which have failed to address some of the most pressing issues for Canadians, including how to create an economy that builds more stable jobs. How do we create an economy in which our young people graduate from our colleges and universities, and even from our high schools, into stable employment?
We have never heard anything from the government about the quality of jobs it says it creates. We now know what the quality of those jobs is. They are low-paying. They are part-time. They are contract. They are freelance. They are self-employed. They do not come with a workplace pension. They do not come with benefits. There is no income security attached to these jobs.
We need to fix that. An NDP government will fix that.