Justin Trudeau photostream
Ralph Goodale: “The OECD has said that Canada is the third worst country in the world for crappy jobs.”
By: Tyler Sommers on
Ralph Goodale, Deputy Leader and Liberal MP for Wascana, during Question Period on February 26, 2015
Liberal MP Ralph Goodale said the OECD listed Canada as the third worst country in the world for “crappy jobs.” This is false. The rank comes from Morgan Stanley economists. The OECD uses a more comprehensive analysis of job quality where Canada scored middle of the pack.FactsCan Score: False
In the House of Commons last month, Ralph Goodale, the Liberal deputy leader, questioned the government about job quality. He claimed “the OECD has said that Canada is the third worst country in the world for crappy jobs.”
Following a request by FactsCan for the source of this claim, Goodale’s office pointed to a Huffington Post article that cites a Morgan Stanley study. The first thing to note is the article doesn’t read “the OECD says.” It’s about the findings of Morgan Stanley economists Ellen Zentner and Paula Campbell.
Morgan Stanley defined “low paying” jobs as those that pay less than two-thirds the median wage, this is a level that the OECD does use for “low-wage” jobs. Using this data and this definition of low-paying jobs, Morgan Stanley’s economists find that Canada has the third highest rate of low-paying jobs. But they aren’t the OECD.
There are a lot of assumptions and limitations to the information the OECD uses. This tends to happen when you’re using datasets for a large number of countries. They spend pages discussing how they chose which measures to use and how to apply them and pages to discuss limitations and things to be aware of. They do, however, try to limit and resolve any potential issues as much and as often as possible.
The OECD report examines three broad dimensions the organization says are essential for establishing worker well-being:
1. Earnings quality – level of earnings and its distribution. This measures how much employment earnings contribute to material living standards.
The OECD finds that level of earnings and one’s view of personal well-being are positively related and that levels of well-being are higher when levels of income are more equally distributed.
2. Labour market security – risk of unemployment and unemployment insurance. This examines the risk of losing one’s job and the consequences (on workers and their family) if this happens.
The OECD finds that new evidence shows that both unemployment risk and unemployment benefit coverage/generosity are important. In fact, they find that workers may be more concerned about finding a new job, rather than losing the one they have.
3. Quality of the work environment – nature and intensity of work performed, the organization of work, and the working atmosphere. This examines the factors related to making a job enjoyable (outside money), including relationships, hours, nature of work, etc.
The OECD finds that if workers have autonomy, learning opportunities, well-defined objectives, and other factors contributing to positive working environments, they’re healthier, more productive, and more satisfied with their job.
So how does Canada stack up?
Canada, the report says, along with Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Japan, Korea, the UK, and the US display average performance. Canada never scores in the top-10 more than once and never scores in the bottom-10 more than once in any of the three main dimensions of job quality (this is shown graphically in the OECD report here).
At the end of the day, yes, Morgan Stanley used OECD data and a description of “low-wage” jobs that the OECD has used, however the OECD uses many more variables in measuring job quality. It did not rank Canada the third worst for crappy jobs.