Precarious employment is increasing in the Hamilton and Greater Toronto Area and its harmful effects on individuals, families, and community life are documented in a recently released research report. On the podcast, The City hears from labour economist Wayne Lewchuk and lead author of a research study that explores poverty, employment precarity, household wellbeing, and community involvement in southern Ontario. The report seeks to broaden the public discussion around poverty, and implicate deteriorating work conditions as a major aspect of poverty and social wellbeing.
The report is a collaboration between McMaster University, United Way of Toronto, and the Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario. It’s More Than Poverty: Employment Precarity and Household Wellbeing examines the dramatic changes in precarious employment over the last few decades, revealing that only sixty percent of all workers in the Hamilton and Greater Toronto region have stable, secure jobs. In addition to looking at the impact of precarious employment on individuals, the report also looks at its harmful effect on families and communities.
Wayne Lewchuk also discusses how the economic and labour landscape in Hamilton and the Toronto region has drastically changed over the last 30 years. While the Fordist era was characterized by mass employment (for white men, that is), mass consumption, and an interventionist state, the post-Fordist era is notable for labour market deregulation, income/wage polarization, and the subsumption of full employment as a policy goal in favour of labour flexibility and the perceived demands of business and corporate interests.
While this report focuses on the Greater Toronto region, it raises broader questions about employment security, social inequality, and community wellbeing for cities across Canada and beyond.
Wayne Lewchuk is professor of labour studies and economics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
In British Columbia, cities are literally constructs of the provincial government, given power through provincial legislation. Cities have limited taxation abilities and they derive the large majority of their revenue from property taxes. And yet they are responsible for an ever-growing array of services and infrastructure as provincial and federal governments continue to download responsibility.
Charley Beresford is executive director of the Columbia Institute and oversees the Centre for Civic Governance, an initiative of the Columbia Institute. The institute works to foster leadership for inclusive and sustainable communities that value social justice, the environment, and the local economy.
On the program, we discuss the importance of progressive provincial policy for cities across British Columbia – and Canada. We’ll be discussing the environment, jobs, and the ‘big download’ facing cities as they deal with aging infrastructure and greater responsibilities.
Please note that this program was produced before the outcome of the May 14th BC Provincial Election.
In 2011, Simon Fraser University’s Department of History hosted a lecture series, Think you know Vancouver? Think Again. On January 27th, local authors Matt Hern and Charlie Demers addressed the question of whether Vancouver, as it is often branded, is indeed the best place on earth.
Their humorous discussion provides a critical take on Vancouver, its history (or perceived lack of history), and why we need to think about Vancouver with a bit more honesty.
In a March podcast, we heard from local author and comedian Charlie Demers (Vancouver Special; CBC’s The Debaters). In this podcast, Matt Hern (Common Ground in a Liquid City: Essays in Defense of an Urban Future; Purple Thistle Centre co-director) provides a short commentary on Vancouver and then Charlie Demers joins him in discussion.
Thank you to the SFU History Department for permission to broadcast this content.
UBC geography professor David Ley and geographer Nicholas Lynch co-authored a recent study, Divisions and Disparities in Lotus Land: Socio-Spatial Income Polarization in Greater Vancouver, 1970-2005. Nicholas Lynch presents the worrisome findings of the study, as we see an increasingly divided Vancouver and a disappearing middle class. He discusses the social geography of polarization across the region, the implications, and possible policy solutions.
We discuss regional planning, education, housing, poverty reduction, and the importance of progressive provincial-municipal policies. In the 2011 Vancouver-Point Grey by-election, Eby came within 600 votes of Christy Clark in the seat previously held by former Premier Gordon Campbell.
David Eby is a lawyer and the former executive director of the BC Civil Liberties Association. He has also worked for Pivot Legal Society and is adjunct professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia.
The City is co-hosting a screening and discussion of The End of Immigration? with UBC Cinema Politica. Krystle Alarcon, an independent multimedia journalist, will be reflecting on the film and speaking about the foreign temporary worker program. She is author of a four-part series published at TheTyee.ca examining the foreign temporary worker program and the recorded injustices and abuses associated with the program.
SYNOPSIS | Montreal filmmakers look at the regressive immigration policies of the Canadian state and the people most affected. The wind beats against a high telecom tower in Quebec. The camera finds a man on top of the tower, hard hat, safety glasses on. Several hundred feet or perhaps a thousand feet down, one catches a glimpse of forests and rivers snaking away, a small town in a bay in the distance, as when you see them from an aeroplane. Prosperous and orderly. The man is Asian and he has a smile on his face. The sound of subway trains are heard already and we find ourselves in the belly of the earth in Vancouver.
Social mix is a euphemism for destroying low-income communities. This is a community that fought for – and won – the only safe injection site in North America. This is a community that had to occupy a Police Board meeting in order to get the Police Board to put out the same reward for the missing women that it put out for garage robberies on the Westside. This is a community that had to fight for seven years to get a community centre like other people have. This is a community that had to camp out on a beach for a whole summer in order to get a waterfront park like other communities have. This community has a history of fighting for human rights, and the City destroys that by condo-fying the whole [neighbourhood] and displacing low income people – that will be destroying one of the most valuable assets it has.
–Jean Swanson, Carnegie Community Action Project
Vancouver’s Chinatown is undergoing increasingly rapid gentrification. The Carnegie Community Action Project’s Jean Swanson (author, Poorbashing: The Politics of Exclusion) discusses why a significant influx of condominiums and high-end retail are threatening to displace the neighbourhood’s low-income residents – and why the city is approving these major developments before the completion of the Downtown Eastside local area plan. You can check out a past podcast, From Poor to Yuppie: Artists, Boutiques, and Neighbourhood Change, if you are interested in hearing more about gentrification and social dislocation in the Downtown Eastside.
On the second half of the program, we hear why the independently-owned Festival Cinemas has been sold to Cineplex. We talk with co-owner Leonard Schein about why he is calling it quits, the challenge to operate cinemas independently, and what he believes the City and province should do to help arts and culture thrive/survive in Vancouver.
There is a free screening of “My Brooklyn” scheduled for Wednesday, February 20th at SFU Woodward’s. Find the details on the Facebook event page. These very processes are occurring throughout Vancouver’s neighbourhoods, especially in Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside. A large number of rezonings for large condominium developments (by large developers) have been approved for the predominantly low-income Chinatown and Downtown Eastside area.
Tune in for more about this on the week’s radio program and podcast, airing live February 19th at 5pm on CiTR 101.9 FM.
On November 1st, 2012, Loic Wacquant gave a public lecture organized by the University of British Columbia’s Liu Institute for Global Studies and the Department of Geography. His talk is entitled, “The Production and Penalization of the Precariat in the Neoliberal Age.”
Loic Wacquant is professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley and a researcher with the European Centre of Sociology and Political Science in Paris. He is the author of many books and articles, including Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality, Prisons of Poverty, and Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity.
Loic Wacquant is professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley and a researcher with the European Centre of Sociology and Political Science in Paris. His research focuses on comparative urban marginality with a focus on Chicago’s South Side and Paris’s racialized urban periphery. Wacquant’s research also looks at broader issues of urban poverty, ethno-racial domination, the penal state, and social theory. He is the author of many books and articles, including Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality, Prisons of Poverty, and Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity.
On November 1st, 2012, Loic Wacquant gave a public lecture organized by the University of British Columbia’s Liu Institute for Global Studies and the Department of Geography. His lecture is entitled, “The Production and Penalization of the Precariat in the Neoliberal Age.” This podcast is part one of a two-part series.