Quality of Employment in Canada

Release date: May 30, 2022

Introduction to the Statistical Framework on Quality of Employment

For many Canadians, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on profound changes in the way work is conducted, including the growing use of personal electronic devices to work remotely and exposure to new mental health risk factors at work. These transformations have highlighted the need to expand analysis and dissemination of data on quality of employment: aspects of employment which relate to the well-being of individuals.

The analysis and variables of interest presented in Statistics Canada’s Quality of Employment in Canada publication are based on a statistical framework developed by the Expert Group on Measuring Quality of Employment, established by the Bureau of the Conference of European Statisticians. This expert group, of which Statistics Canada is a member, produced the Handbook on Measuring Quality of Employment: A Statistical Framework, published by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in 2015.

According to this handbook (pages 5 to 6):

Quality of employment is an important issue for society, policy makers, governments and researchers. Employment is key to the social and economic advancement of workers and provides them with a sense of identity, but it may also be associated with risks for health and well-being. The dynamic development of labour markets can be accompanied by challenges concerning the quality of employment that call for statistical measurement.

The statistical framework presented in this handbook provides a clear and coherent structure for measuring quality of employment. Quality of employment is approached as a multidimensional concept, characterized by different elements, which relate to human needs in various ways. To cover all relevant aspects, the framework identified seven dimensions and twelve sub-dimensions of quality of employment:

For each dimension and sub-dimension, the framework presents a number of statistical indicators that may be produced. Data and short analytical texts relating to the indicators can be accessed by clicking on the relevant link under each dimension.

The statistical framework defines quality of employment from the point of view of the employed person. It refers to the entirety of aspects of employment that may affect the well-being of employed persons. This may differ from the point of view of the employer or the society as a whole. The authors of the handbook acknowledge that different aspects of quality of employment may be perceived differently by different individuals.

Statistics Canada’s Quality of Employment in Canada publication

Statistics Canada’s Quality of Employment in Canada publication is intended to provide Canadians with a better understanding of the quality of employment using an internationally supported statistical framework. It will be updated on a regular basis, adding other statistical indicators within the framework that have not yet been analyzed; data sources not currently available; as well as new years of data from existing sources, to help further the understanding of quality of employment in Canada. In addition, Statistics Canada is exploring a number of initiatives to inform Canadians on various aspects of quality of employment, including enhancements to the Labour Force Survey (LFS). Wherever possible, the indicators are consistent with the UNECE Expert Group on Measuring Quality of Employment definitions. For reasons of data availability some indicators may differ slightly. More information is available at the end of each indicator.

The Handbook on Measuring Quality of Employment: A Statistical Framework, can be found on the UNECE website.

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