Precarious work and the COVID-19 pandemic

In Progress


Work and Health

Over the past 20 years, temporary employment has become increasingly common in Canada and around the world.

COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis have only intensified this trend. Now more than ever before, permanent, full-time jobs are being replaced with precarious employment.

Past research indicates that people experiencing marginalization and exclusion — women, immigrants, people with disabilities, and people who are racialized — are particularly susceptible to the negative effects of economic crises.

How is precarious employment affecting workers’ wellbeing — during and after the pandemic?

This mixed-methods study will examine six countries’ strategies for mitigating the economic effects of the pandemic, and explore their effects on workers’ wellbeing. MAP is leading the Canadian analysis, and will compare our findings to results from Sweden, Belgium, Spain, Chile, and USA.

Research questions:

  1. What are the experiences of workers with the highest precarious employment conditions during the COVID-19 economic and health crisis?
  2. How have employment-related government and workplace policy responses in the wake of the COVID-19 virus supported or neglected workers with the highest precarious employment conditions?
  3. Are participants’ employment-related opportunities, challenges and policy supports during the COVID-19 pandemic related to their exclusion based on their gender, age, and other worker attributes (e.g. essential worker status, race, migration status, disability status, experience with incarceration)?

The Outcome

Our research and policy analysis will provide important insight into not only the challenges facing the growing number of workers worldwide without job protections or workplace benefits, but also the path to fairer and healthier working conditions worldwide.


Work and Health

Dr. Patricia O’Campo

One of the first scientists to shine a light on the social determinants of health, Dr. Pat O’Campo is internationally renowned for her scholarship and methods development. She is the Executive Director of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Population Health Intervention Research.


  • Dr. Wayne Lewchuk (McMaster University)
  • Dr. Carles Muntaner (University of Toronto)


  • Pearl Buhariwala


  • Fotre: Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Contact Info

Pearl Buhariwala

Research Coordinator