Precarity as the New Reality? Millennials’ Representation in the Changing Workplaces Review Policy Process
Millennials, comprising the majority of the Canadian labour market, have come of age in a time of shrinking safety nets and precarious work. The Changing Workplaces Review (CWR) in Ontario was commissioned to explore how work conditions have shifted in line with globalization, neoliberalism, labour market restructuring, and the gig economy. The final report offered a golden opportunity to suggest legislative adjustments to employment standard and labour relation legislation in a way that strengthened workplace and employment conditions for millennials. Considering the unique barriers facing this generation, this paper proposes a scale for categorizing the type of representation this group received within the consultation phase of the policy process of the review. Findings demonstrate that the most salient aspects of precarious work which specifically target millennials received a small, but substantive representation from community groups, labour unions, and other allies within community consultations. However, our analysis revealed that the substantive representation was not reflected in either the final report or in the ensuing legislation. We conclude that a small clustering of substantive representation, while an important contribution to the public debate, can be overlooked by policy makers, especially when concerns run counter to the dominant framing of the group and issue.
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