Accepted Paper:

High mobility and precariousness in Canada: exploring the relationship among those with no fixed place of work  


Deatra Walsh (York University, Canada)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the relationship between high mobility and precarious employment, using data from the 2006 Canadian, and focuses specifically on individuals without a fixed place of work.

Paper long abstract:

Precarious employment and employment-related geographical mobility are increasingly common within and across labour markets of the Global North and South. Precarious employment - defined largely by job insecurity and limited social benefits, has developed along with the erosion of the standard twentieth century employment relationship. Employment-related geographical mobility, which encompasses permanent relocation, but is more commonly associated with forms of 'circular' migration such as commuting, seasonal migration and more sporadic temporary long-distance employment-related movements, is also on the rise. This increased mobility comes as a result of industrial restructuring, improved transportation and communications infrastructure, demographic change and the reduction of international, national and sub-national barriers to labour mobility.

While geographical mobility and precarious employment seeming move in tandem, the relationship between them is understudied. This paper examines this relationship using data from the 2006 Canadian Census, focusing specifically on individuals without a fixed place of work. I argue that workers with no fixed workplace are highly mobile by virtue of the distances traveled for work and/or the frequency of their work journeys, which often include multiple job sites. The paper provides a socio-demographic description of these workers, and maps their employment characteristics, paying particular attention to whether and how these characteristics reflect dimensions of precariousness. An ordered logit regression then outlines the variables most likely to predict having no fixed place of work. Through this analysis, I reveal the heterogeneity of this category of workers, demonstrating that while mobility and precarity are not synonymous, a fine line exists between the two.

Panel P24
Exploring highly mobile life-worlds