Trends in Low-Wage Employment in Canada: Incidence, Gap and Intensity, 1997-2014
Author: Jasmin Thomas
Topic: Poverty issues
Publisher: Centre for the Study of Living Standards
Location: Canada
Format: Report
Content Type: Research
Publication Date: May 26, 2016
This paper introduces two new concepts to the debate on job quality: the low-wage gap and low-wage intensity. These two measures provide information on the depth and severity of low wages. Using Labour Force Survey microdata, we discuss trends in these two measures, along with trends in the incidence of low wages over the 1997-2014 period. This paper also provides these results by gender, age, educational attainment, industry, occupation, employment status and province. These detailed results help identify which groups face the highest rates, greatest depths, and largest intensities of low-wage employment in Canada. Furthermore, this paper explores the implications of a $15 minimum wage on the low-wage gap in 2014. Finally, to provide a brief sensitivity analysis, we discuss (1) the results for low-wage employment in Canada using a different cutoff (two-thirds mean hourly wages for full-time employees aged 25 to 54 years) and (2) comparisons of our results to those of CIBC’s Employment Quality Index and the OECD’s low-pay data.
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