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Work for yourself? Canada has fewer and fewer people like you — and here's why – CBC News



On the surface, Canada’s labour market has made a complete comeback since losing nearly three million jobs at the start of the pandemic, but dig a little deeper, and you’ll see that the recovery hasn’t been for everyone, including self-employed Canadians.

Self-employment in Canada had been growing steadily for several years, but over the course of the pandemic, it fell to its lowest level in more than a decade. There were nearly 2.9 million self-employed Canadians in February 2020. Now, there are just over 2.6 million.

Some of the losses in self-employment have been made up by gains in paid employment in the same industries, according to Statistics Canada. Those include professional, scientific and technical services.

But in other industries, such as agriculture, construction and services, including personal care, declines in self-employment haven’t been offset.

Richard Dias, founder and head of research at Acorn Macro Consulting in Halifax, blames the drop on government pandemic policies that weren’t tailored to support the success of Canada’s self-employed. These policies include blanket business closures and capacity restrictions, complicated applications for financial support and PPE requirements.

“It favoured giant corporates, who obviously are structured much, much better to navigate difficult situations … versus the humble shopkeeper,” said Dias. 

Statistics Canada breaks self-employment into several categories, including people who own an incorporated or unincorporated business, farm or professional practice, or those without a business, such as newspaper carriers or babysitters. Most self-employed Canadians are a business-of-one, but about one-third employ other people.

Dias is also worried about those self-employed Canadians who stretched themselves financially to survive the pandemic.

“After doing all the right things, they burned through their savings,” he said. “There’s no recognition, frankly, of that profound systemic error and the prolonged impacts that it’s going to have on our economy.”

Business on the brink

Michelle Palmer has been self-employed for eight years, but the owner of Pause Beauty Boutique in Toronto said the pandemic has made her question it.

WATCH | Spa owner on making up for lost time — and money: 

Business owner questions her future

14 days ago

Duration 1:09

Owner of Pause Beauty Boutique, Michelle Palmer, holds onto hope that she can turn around her business. 1:09

“I’ve encountered the idea and the thought of closure so many times in the last two years, I can’t even count,” said Palmer.

She was forced to close her spa business for 10 months out of the past two years because of public health lockdowns. Despite applying for all the financial help she could, she reopened her doors deep in debt.

“Our debt load is in the six figures right now, and that’s not going to go away overnight.” 

Falling through the cracks

Some self-employed Canadians fell through the cracks of government support programs, according to Dan Kelly, the president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

“I’ve talked to thousands of self-employed people who really got almost no support through the COVID emergency,” said Kelly. 

WATCH | These are still ‘perilous times’ for entrepreneurs, says CFIB president: 

The economic cost of shrinking self-employment

14 days ago

Duration 0:30

CFIB president Dan Kelly on the need to encourage entrepreneurship post-COVID. 0:30

He says many of them didn’t qualify for programs that their large or medium-sized counterparts did. For example, the Canada Emergency Business Account provided interest-free loans of $40,000, but initially, applicants had to show they had an annual payroll of at least $50,000 in 2019 to access it. 

Self-employed workers were eligible to apply for the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) and its replacement, the Canada recovery benefit (CRB), but Kelly argues the income support was not enough to keep a business going.

Palmer says she was cut off from the personal support programs this year because her 2020 taxes showed she didn’t make the required $5,000 to be eligible for CERB or CRB. That’s because she is a sole proprietor, which means that her business and personal taxes are filed together, and because of the closures, Palmer’s business operated at a loss.

“The message that we’ve sent to entrepreneurs over the last two years has been a pretty negative one,” said Kelly. 

The CFIB expects a wave of business closures in 2022 as the federal pandemic support programs wind down. 

“I think many business owners will not see a pathway back to profitability,” said Kelly.

Potential new cohort of entrepreneurs

But a new wave of self-employment could be on the horizon. According to a recent survey, 30 per cent of “traditionally employed” Canadians expect to transition to self-employment in the next two years.

The online survey of 3,000 people who work full-time was conducted in August and September of 2021 by data company Dynata for cloud accounting firm Freshbooks. The survey results were balanced against Statistics Canada data on age, gender and industry.

Such a shift to self-employment would be welcome news to the CFIB’s Kelly, who wants to see the group of self-employed Canadians grow — not shrink.

“They are the group that we’re counting on to replace many of the businesses that are now boarded up,” he said. “We’re also counting on them to create jobs for other Canadians.”

Seeking out job security

In the professional, science and technical fields, the trend may be headed in the opposite direction: toward salaried positions, which increased by close to 22 per cent between November 2019 and November 2021. Statistics Canada suggests the rise is a sign a pandemic-related shift to more standard forms of employment may be underway.

Many of those newly hired employees likely want the stability of a salaried position, according to Scotiabank deputy chief economist Brett House. 

“It’s not a sign that Canadians are becoming less entrepreneurial. It is a sign that the labour market recovery is continuing and getting firmer,” said House.

Shannon Mulligan, with her two young children, has traded freelancing for a full-time role with a growing tech company. (Tina Mackenzie/CBC)

Copywriter Shannon Mulligan is among that crowd. While freelancing was a lifeline during the pandemic, a position with a tech start-up in Toronto recently won her over.

“Moving from freelance to full-time was not something I was really ready to do, but… it was just an overwhelmingly exciting opportunity,” said Mulligan. 

Her new job comes with the flexibility of working from home, something that was more common for freelancers than paid employees pre-pandemic.

“Being able to have that still helped seal the deal for me,” said Mulligan.

Sticking with self-employment

But others aren’t ready to give up their self-employment status just yet.

Despite having thoughts of walking away from Pause Beauty Boutique, Palmer says she hasn’t followed through with it yet because she still loves it despite the stress and the financial cost.

“[Working for myself] is the most empowering thing I’ve ever done … and I am not willing to give that up lightly.”

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Global jobs recovery delayed by pandemic uncertainty, Omicron, ILO says



The global job market will take longer to recover than previously thought, with unemployment set to remain above pre-COVID-19 levels until at least 2023 due to uncertainty about the pandemic’s course and duration, the International Labour Organization said in a report on Monday.

The U.N. agency estimates the equivalent of around 52 million fewer jobs in 2022 versus pre-COVID levels, which amounts to about double its previous estimate from June 2021.

Disruptions are set to continue into 2023 when there will still be around 27 million fewer jobs, it said, warning of a “slow and uncertain” recovery in its World Employment and Social Outlook report for 2022.

“The global labour market outlook has deteriorated since the ILO’s last projections; a return to pre-pandemic performance is likely to remain elusive for much of the world over the coming years,” the report said.

Director-General Guy Ryder told journalists that there were numerous factors behind its revision, saying the “primary one is the continuing pandemic and its variants, notably Omicron.”

The speed of recovery varies across regions, with the European and North American regions showing the most encouraging signs and Southeast Asia and South America lagging behind, according to the report.

Still, the projected deficit in working hours this year represents an improvement over the past two years. In 2021, the ILO estimates there were some 125 million fewer jobs than pre-pandemic levels and in 2020, 258 million fewer.

Overall, around 207 million people are estimated to be unemployed in 2022. However, the report said that the impact would be significantly greater since many people have left the labour force and have yet to return.

Among those are a high number of women, often because they have been drawn into unpaid work at home such as teaching children during school closures or caring for sick family members.

The report predicted that the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women’s employment would narrow in the coming years but that a “sizeable gap” would remain.

“There are some anecdotal indications that they are not coming back in the same numbers and in the same portions as men are doing which would lead to concerns that a ‘Long COVID’ effect on gender at work would be a negative one,” said Ryder.

Others who have left the workforce have done so voluntarily as part of a phenomenon some economists call “the great resignation”. Ryder said this appeared to be more prominent in areas of the economy such as health and care giving.

“We do need to look again and to invest further in those areas of economic activity,” he said.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Chizu Nomiyama)

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Black and Racialized Artists, Musicians and Producers Join Forces For THE FREEDOM MARCHING PROJECT



January 2022/Toronto, ON — Rufus John, award-winning Black Caribbean-Canadian R&B/ Soul singer & songwriter is gearing up to release the single, Freedom Marching (Part I). The song will be available for pre-order on January 10th, 2022 and will be featured on the 3-song EP, The Freedom Marching Project, which is slated to be released on February 4th, 2022.  

In support of the release of the EP, the project will also consist of; two official music videos, one in-studio performance video, a Call-To-Action Commercial, a Behind the Scenes Docuseries and a website that will feature resources and information for those who are willing to watch, listen and learn to then #JoinTheMarch. 

 The Freedom Marching Project founded by John, was inspired by the thousands of people who had the courage to use their voice to take action by marching through streets all over the world shouting, “Black Lives Matter!” in what is hailed as the most significant civil rights movement of our generation.  The goals of the Project are to use the creative power of Art, Education and Activism to; honor the community leaders who are fighting daily on the frontlines for equity, access, diversity, participation, and rights for BlackIndigenous, racialized communities, to shed light on the lived experiences of Black, Indigenous & Racialized communities and to provide resources and information to those who want to Stay Informed, Get Connected and Take Action. 


John’s own music tells life stories of his past. A certified youth worker and mentor, John’s goal is to bring to the fore-front, deeply embedded issues experienced by the youth he helps and to inspire those who want to do more, to listen, to learn and join the movement.  John’s mandate has always been to not just connect but to engage.  John’s patience & commitment comes from his own experiences & mistakes and the people that helped him.   Walking alongside the youth he mentors is not only necessary for their journey but for his.  Being in for the long term is important.  Showing up is key.  


John used his connections within the music industry to bring together some Juno & Grammy award winners & nominees to lend their voices and talents to this special project. Collectively the talented group is called, United Artists 4 change and the ensemble features over 40 Black and Racialized Artists, Musicians and Producers from around Canada. The EP was produced by Da-Rell Clifton, vocally produced by Gary McAuley, Rufus John & Darren Hamilton, and mixed/mastered by Dan Brodbeck.  Some of the artists involved are:  JRDN, Carlos Morgan, D.O, Chad Price, Dan-e-o, Owen O Sound” Lee, Dwayne Morgan, Quisha Wint, Jason Simmons (Vocal Paint), The McAuley Boys, Nefe, Clair Davis, Aphrose, D/Shon and The Waterloo Region Mass Choir.   


The Freedom Marching Project has partnered with Community leader Selam Debs & the initiative Parents of Black Children. A Go Fund Me page has been set up where people can donate for the month of February and all the proceeds raised via Go Fund Me will be evenly distributed between The Freedom Marching Project and our partners who are combating racism, oppression and discrimination within the current systems and communities. 



Release Dates: 

Jan 10thPre save/order Freedom Marching (Part I) 

Jan 17thDocuseries Ep.1  

Jan 21stDocuseries Ep. 2  

Jan 26th: Docuseries Ep. 3    

Jan 28th: Freedom Marching (Part I) Release 

Feb 1stIn Studio Music Video Release 

Feb 4thFull EP Release 

Feb 11th & 12thMusic Videos Release  


Connect with The Freedom Marching Project:





Tik Tok:



** Talent available for interviews

Media Inquiries: 

Sasha Stoltz Publicity & Management:Sasha Stoltz | | 416.579.4804 

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National Gaming on Capital Hill



This past January 13th, The US Supreme Court issued two rulings blocking an Occupational Safety and Health Administrations COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for employers who have 100 or more employees, while allowing a separate rule which applies to healthcare workers at facilities receiving federal funds.

The 6-3 decision blocked OSHA and other organizations from imposing any such rule. While the OSHA made every effort to enforce temporary emergency standards in its massive organization, it seems the influence and legal pressure applied by both Labor and Corporations to end this attempt to have 84 million workers get COVID-19 vaccinations was too much for the administration.

The Supreme court directed organizations and corporations with more than 100 employees to develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with exceptions for employees that instead are required to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face mask at work.

While many corporations and manufacturers did enforce OSHA rules and carry out the needed mass vaccinations, the problem arose that such an organization such as OSHA had never issued such a mandate, and Congress had declined to enact any measure similar to OSHA’s. What do we have here folks? A governmental organization trying to carry out what the Biden Administration has asked to be done in America. The vaccines are available, but a large portion of America remains unvaccinated.

Instead of issuing a Presidential Executive Order declaring an emergency, the Administration has directed a few organizations to do so that they can wait and see if such a mandate will be accepted and approved by the population, labor, and business sectors. Perhaps it is the way this is being done that is the problem for The Supreme court, or the Republican friendly conservative of the court simply outnumber the liberal members. Politics as usual. Ineffectual, unworkable politics where no matter the issue, the Republicans will block any Democratic Administration’s attempt to protect America.

A nation divided, even when the lives of many are at stake. American media makes the storming of the Capital on Jan 6th seem like an emergency, an insurrection of serious substance while the Republicans on the Capital, block in every way possible any attempt to save lives through public safety and health mandates. Remember how the Republican strategy to make Obama Administration seem ineffectual by blocking all legislative efforts? The same Republicans are repeating this strategy with the Biden Administration. A sports analogy whereby one blocks constantly until your opponent makes a mistake and fumbles. While the lives of millions are threatened by COVID-19 these Republicans play games with the nation. Americans are feeling stressed, hopeless, and fearful of their future and yet their elected officials cannot work together to accomplish anything, except perhaps giving themselves a wage increase. Have those on Capital Hill forgotten who they represent?

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario

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