FSC is seeking to engage with Canada’s research community to further develop the Canadian evidence base on a myriad of issues that implicate the quality of work. This invitation to submit an expression of intent aims to engage with Canadian researchers from a variety of disciplines to submit their initial ideas and concepts for research that could address these gaps.
The Future Skills Centre is a forward-thinking centre for research and collaboration dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success and meeting the emerging talent needs of employers. As a pan-Canadian community, we bring together experts and organizations across sectors to rigorously identify, assess, and share innovative approaches to develop the skills and work environments to drive prosperity and inclusion.
We are rooted in the development of empirical knowledge and are committed to actively applying this knowledge to develop new programs and inform policy agendas. As we refine our research practice, we are increasingly looking to support diverse teams representing a variety of disciplines, equity groups, and collaborations across academic, community, policy, and private sector organizations. We are also intentional about supporting emerging researchers and those from marginalized groups.
The satisfaction that workers derive from their employment or working arrangement has been a long-running concern for employees and employers, researchers and policy makers. For workers, the sense of work quality affects decisions about whether to work, as well as how much effort to invest in roles they take on, and how their work contributes to their overall financial health. For firms, maximizing the returns from labour involves attracting, retaining, and leveraging human resources to enhance productivity. For policy makers, measuring quality of work provides a snapshot of societal health, as well as a sense of how well social and economic institutions are providing for a variety of populations.
Internationally, there is increasing recognition of the multidimensional aspects of work quality, beyond economic incentives — greater appreciation of factors such as job security/prospects, intensity and quality of work, ability to use skills and enjoy autonomy, as well as overall social environment. There’s also growing evidence about connections between quality of work and well-being.
As Canada continues to navigate paths towards recovering from the major impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is growing recognition, dialogue and awareness that work quality is a pressing issue for the functioning of the economy and the future of work in Canada. Prior to the pandemic, some of Canada’s fastest growing sectors also reported some of the lowest scores on various aspects of work quality, leading to job polarization. As of fall 2021, with an economic recovery beginning to emerge as public health restrictions are lifted, many of these sectors are now struggling to recruit workers, and initial evidence suggests that many of those who once took on low-quality work are transitioning into sectors and roles that are positioned to offer better quality of work based on a variety of factors.
The COVID-19 crisis also arose against a larger backdrop of change surrounding the nature of contracts around the provision of labour. Much has been written about the rise of gig work and its implications for the conditions under which workers are supplying labour in non-traditional arrangements. Despite these very real challenges, relatively little coordinated dialogue or policy innovation on issues related to the quality of work has taken place in Canada. As a result, there is an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the quality of work in the Canadian social system, particularly around a more holistic understanding of work quality in the context of other social safety net issues.
As noted above, the Future Skills Centre is a centre of research and collaboration with a mandate to identify, assess, and share innovative approaches to skills development and understand how work environments can generate inclusive prosperity. As a result, FSC would like to engage in research partnerships aimed at addressing key gaps in policy and practice that implicate quality of work issues in the Canadian context.
Our work is informed by a review of Canadian research as well as a myriad of international frameworks and standards that address various components of quality of work. In addition to monetary incentives, these concerns touch upon a variety of issues, including the security of employment (in terms of current and future prospects), the work environment (in terms of the quality of the working experience and the potential for using and applying skills), as well as issues of health safety and compatibility with household-level responsibilities.
The Expression of Interest should be a maximum of five (5) pages in length and respond to the following questions.
Description of Research: What research do you propose to undertake? Briefly describe the scope of research, key question(s), and the approach you are considering.
Policy Relevance: How would the proposed research address key issues for stakeholders related to the quality of work? Which stakeholders and which issues? How would the research advance policy dialogue and/or program design in the area of quality of work?
Partnerships and Resources: What partnerships (interdisciplinary or with non-academic organizations) would be part of the research project? What is the estimated total budget? (Please note a detailed budget is not required at this point, but will be required for the full proposal).
Relevant Experience: Who are the key researcher(s) who would lead this project? Please provide a brief summary of their relevant experience, publications, and/or links to websites.
Key details for this opportunity are found in the table below.
Timeline of key dates
Please submit all expressions of intent to email@example.com by 5 PM EST November 25, 2021.Submissions may be made in English or French.