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Exploring the multiple dimensions of quality of work

The satisfaction that workers derive from their employment or work arrangement has been a long-running concern for employees and employers, researchers and policy makers. 

While Canada’s economy is navigating conflicting signals about its future path, current low unemployment rates and labour shortages have necessitated that increased attention be paid to the Quality of Work that Canadian jobs provide, and how that can be defined and improved.

Understanding Quality of Work is important for the future of work in Canada, as work quality reflects various dimensions of the health of the labour market – combining not only income and benefits, but also employment security, work environment, professional growth potential and overall social environment.

  • For workers, the quality of their experience can affect their decisions about whether and where to work as well as how much effort to invest in their role.
  • For employers, maximizing the returns from their workforce impacts how they attract, retain and leverage their labour to enhance productivity and generate loyalty.
  • For policy makers, understanding job quality provides a more nuanced perspective on labour market performance as well as a glimpse of how well social and economic institutions are providing for a variety of populations.

Quality of Work research and partners

In November 2021, the Future Skills Centre launched an Open Call for Expression of Interest for research initiatives that focus on better understanding different aspects of Quality of Work, as well as addressing key gaps in policy and practice related to quality of work issues in the Canadian context. Several organizations across Canada are now working in collaboration with FSC to better define, understand and measure the levels of Quality of Work in our economy.

Purpose Co is a workforce development consulting firm specializing in designing strategies and solutions that address inclusive and equitable workforce development.


Purpose Co is working as the research and knowledge mobilization partner to support the success of this Quality of Work research stream.

Belongnomics focuses on creating research-driven, data-backed solutions to foster inclusive growth, well-being and sustainability.


This research will explore the varied arrangements for gig work as well as the motivations for why individuals engage in gig work. It will shed light on the nature and quality of gig work in Canada.


Bounc3 is an insurance platform focused on ensuring that all self-employed Canadians have access to the insurance they need.


This research will identify trends related to the rise of self-employment, and highlight the implications this has had on access to basic benefits amongst this segment.

The Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) is a not-for-profit organization bringing together Canada’s largest companies and leading post-secondary institutions. 


This project aims to understand the learning and skills development needs for hybrid work environments.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social, economic and environmental justice.


This research will  attempt to understand the full impact of COVID-19 related income support to inform future income support programs.

The Canadian Labour Congress is the largest labour organization in Canada, representing more than 3 million workers across the country.


This research project will seek to understand the perception and place of skill development in measures of job quality in location-based platform work.


Digital Nova Scotia is an industry association representing the tech sector in Nova Scotia.


This study will investigate the ‘new normal’ of hybrid and virtual work and its implications for quality of work.

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a not-for-profit centre of expertise for the digital economy, focusing on policy advice, research, and capacity building programs.


This research will explore how technological developments influence the quality of work and skilling considerations in Canada.

KPMG is a Canadian leader in delivering audit, tax, and advisory services.


This policy research will update our understanding of policy and public perception of the right to disconnect from workplace communications during non-working hours in the post-COVID world.

Skills for Change pioneers programs that respond to shifting immigration and workplace trends and lead to employment. 


This research will provide data to better understand labour market trends, the challenges faced by workers in the hospitality sector as well as the challenges faced by employers in ensuring quality of work.

The Toronto Metropolitan University is dedicated to creating a culture of action through internships and co-ops, zone learning, specialized minors and graduate programs.


The goal of this research is to advance understanding of the distinct employment experiences of young workers, and to identify potential policy responses oriented towards improving their work quality.

The Toronto Metropolitan University Leadership Lab is a think tank building a new generation of leaders through leadership development, policy recommendations and research.


This project will conduct a national study to inform skills development, policy and stakeholder decisions, and deepen our understandings of the quality of work in Canada in an emerging and challenging context.

The Toronto Metropolitan University School of Occupational and Public Health is a leader in injury and disease prevention education.


This study will explore the quality of work in Canada and develop a holistic framework for an integrated future of work with societal, cultural and economic dimensions.

WEtech Alliance is an Ontario-based regional innovation centre  providing access to business advisory programs, funding opportunities and to a network of entrepreneurs and resources.


Workplace Innovation Network for Canada is a B.C.-based not-for-profit supporting collaborations between postsecondary and workplace partners to advance Workplace Innovation in Canada.


This project will analyze and adapt the research base on Workplace Innovation for Quality of Work – mainly from Europe– to support more innovative, engaging and inclusive workplaces in Canada.

The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie is an Ontario-based not-for-profit corporation that plays a leadership role in labour force development in the communities of Brantford, Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk, Six Nations and New Credit.


This project will identify gaps in how employers, employees and job seekers within certain industries in the Grand Erie area perceive issues related to quality of work within their sector/workplaces.

The Work Wellness Institute (WWi) is committed to conducting and supporting global research and mobilizing knowledge that positively impacts workplace health practices. 



This research will focus on policies and regulations that protect and facilitate gig work for Canadians with disabilities.

Norquest College

This research will address the key issues of under-employment of disabled Canadians, the low quality of work provided to many disabled Canadians, and employer concerns about quality of work produced when employing disabled persons

McGill University is one of Canada’s best-known institutions of higher learning and one of the world’s leading universities.


This research aims to understand the pandemic’s impact on job quality, including benefits, skills requirements and compensation, how the changes varied across industries and occupations, and how those trends related to labour shortages.

York University is a leading international teaching and research university and a driving force for positive change.


This research will examine how skilled migrants experience employment in alternative careers and feelings of inclusion, along with employers’ role in looking at incentives or reducing barriers to improve work quality and the role of diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

EKOS Research Associates focuses on knowledge for action, which guides it in applying scientifically accurate evidence to solve real-world problems for diverse clients.


This research aims to produce a detailed analysis of how job quality changed in the pandemic, focusing on worker assessments, including psychosocial and economic features of employment, to inform future job arrangements and conditions as well as optimizing job quality for workers, employers and society.