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Future of Work

A curated resource of recent research on trends shaping Canada's labor market.

Defining and measuring the gig economy using survey data

Key Takeaway
In the period from October to December 2022, an average of 871,000 Canadians had a main job involving gig work.


This Statistics Canada report aims to shed light on the gig economy by defining—and estimating the number of people participating in—gig work, digital platform employment, and dependent self-employment.

From October to December 2022, an average of 871,000 Canadians (aged 15 to 69 years) held a main job that fell into the gig work category. An additional 1.5 million had completed gig work within the previous year.

In the 12 months leading up to December 2023, about 68,000 Canadians participated in digital platform employment (working through platforms or apps that pay workers directly).

To highlight changes occurring in the labour market, the report also explores the type of arrangements or contracts that exist in the gig economy. The authors offer insights into some of the drawbacks of these working conditions. Often, gig workers are not covered by social insurance programs; they do not get sick leave, employment insurance or workers’ compensation benefits. Furthermore, gig workers might not be able to experience the full benefits associated with being self-employed (e.g., choosing their work hours or setting their own prices) because the platform operators (who pay the gig workers) may set certain limitations.

Ultimately, the gig economy has generated both risks and opportunities for workers in Canada. Yet, some gig workers miss out on the advantages of self-employment and are more vulnerable to economic downturns than individuals working in roles with more typical employee-employer relationships.

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