Two workers, suspended in harnesses, paint an exterior wall of a building.



But is it a good job? Understanding employment precarity in BC

Additional documents:

Report summary


Pilot BC Precarity Survey Questionnaire


  • The “standard job” was not all that common and was unequally available
  • Some workers in standard jobs experienced some elements of precarity
  • The Employment Precarity Index shows a polarized BC job market pre-pandemic
  • Secure jobs were unequally available to different groups of British Columbians
  • Precarious work was strongly associated with low incomes, but not all Precarious jobs were low-paid
  • Employment precarity had negative effects on individuals, families and communities

Download the report to see the full list of recommendations and key findings.

Report description

The rise of the ‘gig economy’ and on-demand work using online platforms like Uber and Skip the Dishes has ignited public debate about precarious work and what makes a “good job.” Precarious work is not a new phenomenon, nor is it limited to the gig economy—but we don’t know just how widespread a problem it has become, mainly because Statistics Canada does not collect timely data on many of its dimensions.

As part of the Understanding Precarity in BC project we conducted a pilot BC Precarity Survey—the first of its kind in BC—to address this gap and collect new evidence on the scale and unequal impacts of precarious work in our province.

The survey, conducted in late 2019, reveals a polarized labour market in which precarious work is far more pervasive than many assume and includes much more than “gig work.”  It also shows that the burden of precarious work falls more heavily on racialized and immigrant communities, Indigenous peoples, women and lower-income groups.